While Rolex may be famous for their solid gold dress timepieces, the brand’s top-of-the-line stainless steel watches are some of the most coveted wristwatches in the market today. Prized for their perfect blend of durability, topnotch quality, and timeless designs, a stainless steel Rolex watch is an absolute must-have in any watch enthusiasts collection. Stainless steel Rolex watches are also the most affordable option when it comes to wearing a Rolex—especially when looking at pre-owned watches like the ones we carry at Garner Wallace. From casual to sporty, we’ve rounded up some the best stainless steel Rolex watches under $5,000 to own right now.
Rolex Air-King 14000
In 2016, Rolex introduced a completely new version of the Air-King with a design that’s polarizing, to say the least. Thankfully, the classic versions, such as this Rolex Air-King ref. 14000, are still available in the secondary market.
Sporting a restrained 34mm Oyster case, a sleek sunburst silver dial, simple stick hour markers, and a comfortable Oyster bracelet, this Air-King ref. 14000 is fantastic casual daily luxury watch. Plus, the lack of date window lends appealing symmetry to the face of the watch.
Some may not be aware of it, but Rolex did indeed produce some quartz watches beginning in the late 1970s. But this being Rolex, the Oysterquartz watches are of course not powered by any old quartz caliber, but an in-house Rolex quartz movement.
For a stainless steel version there’s the Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17000, characterized by its distinct angular case and intriguing integrated bracelet. While on paper the case size is 36mm, it actually wears bigger thanks to its shape. A unique looking Rolex flaunting interesting history, this is one of the best stainless steel Rolex watches under $5000 available in today’s market.
The Rolex Explorer is one of the oldest models from the brand, first introduced in 1953 in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic climb to the top of Mount Everest. The watch collection continues until today with Rolex introducing modern iterations of that inaugural model.
Immediately recognizable as a Rolex Explorer, this ref. 114270 features the characteristic 3/6/9 numerals on the black dial and the Mercedes-style center hands—all encased within a 36mm steel Oyster case fitted with a matching steel Oyster bracelet.
Last but certainly not least, one of the best stainless steel Rolex watches under $5000 has got to be the Explorer II. A superbly sporty luxury watch, Rolex introduced the Explorer II in 1971 for the adventure set.
The model has undergone several design changes throughout the years, but we love this Explorer II ref. 16570 for its ample 40mm Oyster case with the signature 24-marked bezel, fresh white dial, date window, and of course, the red 24-hour hand to indicate a second time zone.
Understated, low maintenance, and priced under $5,000, any of these above stainless steel Rolex watches would be a welcomed addition to any timepiece collection.