I hope you enjoy this blog post.

If you want us to appraise your luxury watch, painting, classic car or jewellery for a loan, click here.

Top 19 Most Expensive Rolex Watches Ever Sold Worldwide as of 2024


Roger Moore is James Bond (1973 to 1985) - one of the most expensive rolex watches in the world ever sold at auction as of 2024

The world’s fascination with Rolex watches isn’t hard to explain. They’re beautifully designed, beloved by celebrities, and steeped in history and culture. It’s not just that Rolex is a byword for luxury timepieces; it’s also one of the world’s most recognizable brands. The most expensive Rolex watch ever sold was Paul Newman’s very own Daytona. That should tell you all you need to know about the space that Rolex watches occupy in the world of fashion and culture.


Why do Rolex watches cost so much?


To understand the Rolex watch market in 2024, we first need to think about the two primary ways to purchase a Rolex. The thing is that Rolex does not sell directly to customers. Instead, they use a network of authorized dealers to sell their highly limited stock. 

However, in general, you can’t just walk into these stores and buy a watch. Instead, you need to apply for a waiting list, and it might take years before you can secure one of these exclusive timepieces.

Alternatively, you can buy from the secondary market. That means dealers or private individuals. The thing is, while the secondary market has more watches and no waitlists, the prices are typically higher than buying a new Rolex from an authorized dealer. 

The particularities of the market, when added to the rarity of each watch, mean that specific models increased in value because supply cannot keep up with demand. However, before you rush out and add any Rolex to your investment portfolio, it’s important to remember that price appreciation doesn’t happen across the board.

So, while an entry-level Rolex might cost about $5,000 new, it is unlikely to appreciate greatly. However, a very expensive Rolex may have the rarity and desirableness to move demand.

Let’s explore the market for Rolex watches in 2024.


The Rolex watch market in 2024

The Rolex watch market in 2024



Zoom out on the Rolex watch market index over the last five years, and you’ll notice a steady rise for the luxury watch brand. However, if you bought an investment watch in the early half of 2022, you might not feel so relaxed about the market. 

Between April 2022 and the start of 2024, the average Rolex watch highest price has decreased considerably. While the decline slowed through 2023, experts are mixed about whether it will continue to drop, stagnate, or rise.

Of course, not all Rolex models are acting in the same way. The Daytona, which is the most valuable Rolex watch ever sold at auction,  had a tough second half of 2023. Models like the 116508, the 116515, and the 116518 have dropped by around 9% this year. However, certain Datemasters and Datejust models have had modest gains over the same time frame.


Factors that will affect the Rolex

investment market in 2024

Rolex-Sky-Dweller-gold-front - one of the watches New Bond Street Pawnbrokers loans against

There are a number of factors that anyone who is interested in dipping their toes in the Rolex investment market in 2024 must be aware of. 


1. Solid demand


Rolex has a reputation for innovation and master craftsmanship. The brand is synonymous with luxury and status, and the watches have limited supply. As such, there will always be a strong level of demand for these exclusive watches, even if the market is currently in the throes of a correction. 

What’s more, Rolex watches have historically held their prices through economic downturns, political instability, and other ups and downs. Anyone who buys one of these timepieces understands that they are built to last generations and become treasured heirlooms.


2. Supply


We can’t talk about demand without acknowledging supply. Rolex prices on the secondary market are kept afloat because of the limited availability of these exclusive watches. In recent years, the company has invested billions in building new factories and securing the skilled artisans they need to meet increased demand. 

These temporary facilities will begin production in 2024, 2025, and 2029. As they ramp up, they will satisfy supply. However, the effect will be marginal for very expensive Rolex watches, at best. As you’ll see below, the big movers on the secondary are rare or limited pieces, often with historical significance. 


3. The economy


Economic uncertainty stalks the entire investment market. Inflation and high interest rates mean that fewer people will splurge on luxury goods, such as a Rolex. Only time will tell if the economy can bounce back.


4. Competition


While Rolex has always had competition from other luxury watchmakers, the emergence of newer, independent brands could eat into market share. Younger generations, in particular, will define for themselves what luxury looks like. As the demographics of the Rolex buyers market shift in the coming years, it could alter the demand for both really expensive Rolex watches and their more reasonably priced counterparts.

Now, let’s begin our countdown of the world’s most expensive Rolex watches ever sold as of 2024.



The Most Expensive Rolexes in the World EVER SOLD as of 2024


19. 1967 Rolex Submariner (Steve McQueen) – $234,000


An elegant silver finish, attractive black face, and distinctive 60s Rolex appearance might provide this 1967 Rolex Submarine is all the hallmarks of a high-quality timepiece, and is one of the most expensive Rolex watches in the World as of 2024.

But the value of this unique watch doesn’t come from its specific model. Instead, Rolex’s famous past owner, none other than Steve McQueen, is the reason for the high cost of this one-of-a-kind vintage collector’s item.

Selling for an impressive $234 000 at auction back in 2009, this watch was more than worthy of the tenth spot on our list of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold as of 2024.

The watch is referenced as 5512 and continues to be one of the most highly sought-after timepieces in the world to date.

18. Rolex Submariner 1962 Rare Edition – $250,000


Although not the costliest Rolex on our list as of 2024, this 1962 Submariner watch was auctioned off in 2021 for 200,000 British Pounds.  Nicknamed the “369 Submariner,” the watch features the numbers “3, 6, and 9” instead of the regular formatting for the clock face. 

most expensive rolex submariner sold as investment worldwide as of 2024


The watch’s band is made of stainless steel and is marketed as a man’s watch. It has a black Swiss dial and Mercedes clock hands made of steel as well.

This rare, expensive, and iconic Rolex watch can even surpass $1 million in auctions, and over ten of these specialty versions have sold for that price in recent years at auctions all around the world. 

17. Rolex Daytona in Ferrari Red (Paul Newman) – $267,203


To continue with the theme of celebrity-owned collector’s items, the Rolex Daytona is a unique Ferrari Red, owned by famous actor Paul Newman, taking the spot at number 9.

Inspired by the bright red and deep black theme of the classic Ferrari, this manually wound timepiece features 17 individual jewels and has an incredibly distinctive appearance. Immediately recognizable, there’s a reason why this unique piece of watch history would appear on the list of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold as of 2024.

Selling for an incredible $267 203 at auction in 2014, the Paul Newman-owned Daytona proved itself to be one of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world. The watch is referenced as 6565, and it’s thought that only 22 versions of this incredibly rare Rolex exist to this day, further adding to the appeal of its specialized design.

This is one of the most valuable Rolex watches in the world as of 2024

Photo credit: pinterest.com


16. Rolex Pearlmaster in Platinum Diamond – $277,850


Diamonds have always been considered the ultimate in luxury – and the Rolex Pearlmaster in Platinum Diamond is no exception to that rule, representing one of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world, ever sold as of 2024.

This beautiful timepiece is entirely limited-edition, and even its dial is utterly unique, created from meteorite diamond.

As if that weren’t enough, the bezel itself also comes adorned with 42 diamonds in a baguette shape, perfectly spaced. Elegant, attractive, and immediately eye-catching, the incredible opulence of this timepiece makes it easy to see why it’s valued so highly.

Amongst the most modern watches ever sold on the list, the Pearlmaster launched in ultra-limited edition for an incredible $277 850.

As a contemporary piece more suited to retail, this unique timepiece can be found at luxury jewellers more commonly than at an auction. But nonetheless, it’s a genuinely show-stopping addition to the list.


15. 1972 Rolex Submariner (James Bond) – $365,000


It’s not just real-life heroes that add value to fantastic collector’s items. Fictional spy James Bond has also proven his worth when it comes to the luxurious timepiece, with the 1972 Rolex Submariner, in particular, attracting a great deal of attention.

Worn by popular Bond actor Sir Roger Moore, the watch was explicitly modified for movie purposes, including reshaping the bezel into a distinctive circular saw for use in Live and Let Die. While these modifications make the watch less suitable for telling the time, they further add to the unique appeal of this stylish timepiece.

Sold at auction for a staggering $365 000 in 2015, this collector’s item is truly worth more than its weight in gold, hence making it on our 2024 list of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold.

Referenced as 5513, the worth of this watch proves that Rolexes can be just as valued for their history as their functionality.


14. Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual (Dr. Rajendra Prasad) – $444,000


A one-of-a-kind and incredibly distinctive Rolex, the Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a timepiece with a truly unique and astounding history.

Created from valuable pink gold, complete with an image of India on the dial, this elegant piece was a gift to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India. The watch also includes the date of the first constitution of India as part of its design. The past of the watch is veiled in mystery, with the watch itself appearing to have been stolen from Prasad’s family decades earlier.

While Sotheby’s has valued this unique timepiece at an astonishing $444 000, as of 2024 this expensive Rolex has never been sold. This is because the Indian government has worked to intervene in the sale of the watch, to return it to its rightful owners, Prasad’s family, it may remain in their hands from now on.


one of the top 10 most expensive rolex watches valued at around 4 000

Photo credit: pinterest.com


13. Rolex GMT Master II Ice – $485,000


Ostentatious is probably the best word to describe one of the most luxurious and expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold as of 2024. Head-turning, incredibly luxurious, and dripping with diamonds, there’s nothing subtle about this incredible timepiece.

Created in 2014, this showstopping watch is constructed from the whitest of gold and is covered on every inch by dazzling diamonds, that are placed in extravagant designs and shapes.

When it comes to incredible luxury, there are few watches out there that quite match up to the GMT Master II Ice. One of the costliest Rolex models as of 2024, priced on the marketing at $485 350, the purchase of this unique piece is certainly not one to take lightly – but it’s bound to be a showstopper; however, you choose to display it.

Rolex GMT Master Ice - one of the costliest rolex watches ever sold worldwide




The Christie’s Spring Luxury auction in 2019 featured a Pink Gold Stelline ref 6062. Pre-auction estimates suggested about $1.2 million. However, it went for slightly less at just below $1 million.

Only 50 of these watches were ever made in pink gold. This watch was sold in 2015, with the owner removing incorrectly sized lumens and restoring it to its original glory. The move paid off handsomely.




In 2019, at Phillips Auction House, New York, a watch owned by gold legend Jack Nicklaus went on the block. The Golden Bear is said to have been given the timepiece in 1967 and worn it every day. It has huge cultural significance, which explains its sale for $1.2 million, all of which will go to Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

The Day-Date was Rolex’s top-of-the-line model. However, without the sentimental aspect of Nicklaus’s ownership, a watch in similar condition may have fetched around $10,000. Indeed, auctioneers estimated a return of under $200,000, so when it broke past seven figures, it was a huge boost for the charity.


10. Oyster Albino Cosmograph Daytona (Eric Clapton) – $1.4 MIL


Another beautiful watch made incredibly popular by its famous owner. The Cosmograph Daytona in a unique Oyster Albino colourway is an elegant watch in its own right, manufactured back in 1971.


This particular watch was one of just four with distinctive silver chronograph totalizers, leading to the Albino colourway. With a classic black and silver design with unique features, it’s easy to see why this elegant watch could be worth so much even without its famous ancestry.

For Eric Clapton’s own Oyster Albino Cosmograph Daytona, the price at auction is $1.4 million. Last sold at auction in 2015, the value of this unique piece continues to grow year-on-year, which makes it one of the most expensive watches in the world as of 2024. Considered the holy grail of Rolexes, this watch falls under reference 6263.

9. Rolex GMT-Master (Marlon Brando) – $1.9 MIL


In 2019, Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT Master sold for a whopping $2 million, making it one of the top 10 most expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold by 2024.

This watch is one of the most valuable Rolex watches because its owner was the actor in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. 

That’s right, folks, the actor himself wore this watch in the film, and the new lucky owner gets to keep it in his collection. Although not as costly as the Daytona watch owned by Paul Newman, this luxury, expensive and rare Rolex deserves more recognition.  

The actor’s initial and last name is even carved into the metal on the back, making this another customized and vintage Rolex watch in the world at the time of this writing in 2024. The watch itself is made of gorgeous stainless steel with a black leather bracelet. 




This may not be the most expensive Daytona Rolex on our list, but it’s one of the most interesting. Phillips Auction House in Geneva, but this 18kt watch went up for sale in 2016, and it fetched a stunning $2 million. 

Paul Newman Daytona watches are the height of cool. This one has an ultra-rare lemon dial. With only three of these timepieces ever made, it’s a collector’s dream. The Paul Newman Daytona is the most valuable Rolex watch, and this is a wonderful and rare example.



7. 1958 ROLEX MILGAUSS – $2.5 MIL

2023 was a great year for selling a really expensive Rolex watch. When a super-rare, mint condition Rolex Milgauss from 1958 went for sale at Phillips auction house, experts suggested it would fetch above $1 million. In the end, it went for about $2.5 million, such is its rarity. 

The Milgauss is so durable because it was built to withstand the electromagnetism at the CERN labs. What’s more, rumors abound that the buyer at auction was Rolex itself, which tells us a lot about the historical importance of this piece.



In May 2023, a Paul Newman Daytona ref 6241 came up for sale. It was a special version of the watch called the John Player Special. There are thought to be less than 10 of these exceptional 18kt gold watches in existence. While some have come up for auction over the last few years, few have matched the condition of this timepiece, which resulted in a bid of $2.5 million at Sotheby’s Important Watches Sale in New York, putting it up there with the costliest Rolex watch in the world.




Ref. 4113, a watch nicknamed “Split-Seconds,” is one of the world’s most expensive Rolex watches ever sold as of 2024. It was auctioned off in 2020 for $2.6 million. 

So, what makes this one of the rarest Rolex watches on the market?

The proof lies in its production. In the early 1940s, Rolex made only twelve Split-Seconds series 4113 watches, and they didn’t make it to market. Since then, they’ve been passed down through elite circles, auctions, and collections.

The Rolex Split Second Cronograph

Firstly, its size comes in at 4 4 (what does this mean?). It’s an incredible rarity – only 12 were made, ‘while just 8 have surfaced, mostly from the original families.’

For a Rolex, it features an unusually thin bezel and wears like a modern watch although all 12 were produced in 1942. But what really sets this apart from the rest and makes it really special is the extra button that appears out of the crown – the 4113 is the only split-second chronograph ever to be built by Rolex.

Since these Rolex watches have never been sold to the public, they now sell for an insanely high price. Another worthy entrance on our 2024 list of the most expensive Rolex watches in the world ever sold at auction.

Rolex Split Seconds


The watch features a light brown leather bracelet and four specialized rose gold dials. The watch’s face features three clocks, which show the time, date, and seconds. 

The leather’s unique stitching and rugged appearance make this watch one of the rarest Rolex watches that exists today, which is why it makes it onto our top 10 most expensive 2024 Rolex watches list ever sold worldwide. 




While this is only the most expensive Daytona Rolex, it’s the fourth most expensive Rolex watch ever sold at auction. In March 2023, this 18kt gold, diamond-paved beauty went for sale at Phillip’s Geneva. It smashed the record for a ref. 6270 when it sold for $4.1 million.

In case you’re wondering why this magnificent watch is called “The End Game”, it’s thought that it’s in reference to the fact that it’s the ultimate Rolex collector’s item, which is why it gives the costliest Rolex watch in the world a run for its money.


3. Gold Rolex (Bao Dai) – $5.1 MIL


When it comes to royalty, Rolexes always fetch an incredible price. The one-of-a-kind Bao Dai Rolex is the perfect example of this. Created from 18-carat yellow gold, this timepiece was once owned by Bao Dai.

This famous figure was actually the final emperor that ruled over Vietnam. Featuring diamond markers and a black dial, the value of this watch is evident from its appearance alone – without even being aware of its incredible history.

Selling at auction for an eye-watering $5 million just a couple of years ago, this gold watch is the second-most expensive Rolex ever sold in the world as of 2024. This is, in part, thanks to its completely unique and luxurious design, and due to its fascinating and rich history.

Phillips sets World Record with Rolex Bao Dai




The second most valuable Rolex watch is also a Daytona. However, it’s a ref 6265 made from white gold. It’s the only known watch of its kind, which is why it’s called “The Unicorn.”

The Unicorn went up for sale at Phillips, Geneva in 2018 at the Daytona Ultimatum auction; its rarity saw it fetch a price of $5.9 million. 

In the 1970s, plenty of Rolex Day Dates were made from gold. However, Daytona’s were built for every use, which meant stainless was the preferred metal. This watch is a rare exception, which makes it one of the second most valuable Rolex watch known to man.


1. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (Paul Newman) – $17.8 MIL


This eye-catching and interesting-looking timepiece may look fairly standard to the untrained eye. But this specific Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, belonging to legendary actor Paul Newman, is the highest-value watch Rolex has ever sold worldwide as of 2024.

The style of the watch was so well-known for its use by Newman that it is often categorized as the ‘Paul Newman Watch’. While the watch itself was a purchase at the famous Tiffany’s store by the late actor’s wife, a personalized inscribed message, plus the fact that the actor wore the timepiece every day, hugely inflated its value.

Selling at auction for an astounding sum of $17.8 million in 2017, this ref. 6263 watch been auctioned off again in 2020, for $5.48 million to an anonymous bidder. Rolex will struggle to match that target when it comes to the production of new watches in the future. The world’s most expensive Rolex watch ever sold as of 2024 is as unique as it is incredible.

Collection Rolexes can be incredibly rewarding, even if your budget is more limited than the million-dollar costs of some of the world’s most expensive timepieces. Auctions are an excellent resource for finding the best collector’s items and are more than worth the time investment to chase that perfect piece.

Whatever you think of Rolex’s most expensive watches, you can’t deny that there’s something a little enchanting about every single one.

Original Paul Newman's Rolex Cosmograph Daytona still represents the highest priced Rolex watch to date

This relatively expensive watch regularly goes for around $80,000, but this edition was auctioned at a higher price due to its ownership and customized engraving, written from Paul Newman himself to his daughter, telling her to “drive carefully.” 

Finally, it is worth noting that these Daytona watches are no longer in circulation, and only around 22 were made, making them one of the most valuable Rolex watches in the World as of in 2024.

This watch is now available at a museum in Los Angeles for viewing. 


The War in Ukraine and the Effect on the Luxury Watch Industry 2024

The Russo-Ukrainian war has been ongoing since 2014, but when Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, there were instant ramifications. 

Sanctions on Russia were swift. Citizens in both countries, concerned for their businesses, immediately looked for ways to safeguard their money. Some people fled and sold their possessions to do so. The mass moving of citizens from Ukraine caused the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

Sanctions against Russia impact Russian industries and the companies that export to the country. Before COVID and the war in Ukraine, Russia accounted for up to 5% of all luxury spending. After Russia invaded Ukraine, many Swiss watchmakers halted the export of goods to Russia and remain unable to use the trade routes through the country to Asia.

With a halt in business and a smaller influx of cash into both countries, many Russian shoppers turned to luxury brands like Rolex. Investing in expensive jewelry is like investing in gold. It’s a brilliant practice to ensure the safety of your cash. After buying, even the most expensive Rolex watch in 2024 could see a 2-3x price increase on the secondary market.

There are other consequences of the war in Ukraine on the watch industry. Not only are citizens buying luxury items to protect their money from losing value, but Russia is a major supplier of diamonds and precious metals used to make high-end watches. This lack of materials is causing a major problem for the global diamond industry. 

What does this all mean for the rarest Rolex watches? It means what we know as the most expensive Rolex in 2022 may become even more costly or hard to find. The demand is high, but due to inflation and rising production costs, production is not exactly matching the demand.

To quickly sum up the 5 most expensive Rolex watches in the world, you can also watch our short video below:


To learn more about our loans on fine watches you can visit our dedicated webpage.  Finally, some of the many watch brands we loan against at our pawnbroking premises in Central London include: A Lange & Sohne, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Tiffany, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemars Piguet, Graff, Patek Philippe, and Rolex.

This post is also available in: Français (French) Deutsch (German) Italiano (Italian) Português (Portuguese (Portugal)) Español (Spanish) Български (Bulgarian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) 繁體中文 (Chinese (Traditional)) hrvatski (Croatian) Čeština (Czech) Dansk (Danish) Nederlands (Dutch) हिन्दी (Hindi) Magyar (Hungarian) Latviešu (Latvian) polski (Polish) Português (Portuguese (Brazil)) Română (Romanian) Русский (Russian) Slovenčina (Slovak) Slovenščina (Slovenian) Svenska (Swedish) Türkçe (Turkish) Українська (Ukrainian) Albanian Հայերեն (Armenian) Eesti (Estonian) Suomi (Finnish) Ελληνικά (Greek) Íslenska (Icelandic) Indonesia (Indonesian) 日本語 (Japanese) 한국어 (Korean) Lietuvių (Lithuanian) Norsk bokmål (Norwegian Bokmål) српски (Serbian) Tamil

Be the first to add a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter

Fantastic articles and videos, from Most Expensive Luxury Assets to "Top 5" Lists!