10 Most Grail-Worthy Watches to Put on Your Wish List

These watches are must-haves.

One of the first things you notice about Paul Altieri is his name: It’s not Bob. Yet he’s the owner of Bob’s Watches, having purchased the website from retiring dealer Bob Thompson in 2010. Since then, he’s grown the operation into one of the Internet’s biggest (and best) secondhand Rolex marketplaces, thanks in large part to a transparent pricing scheme for buying and selling. Here, the fine timepiece expert picks 10 of his favorite watches.

Rolex Explorer II Ref. 216570 42 mm in Steel
Bigger, better, and highlighted by the alluring 24-hour orange hand, which pays respect to its predecessor, the vintage 1655 from the 1970s.

Rolex Day-Date Ref. 228235 40 mm in Everose Gold
Nothing screams success louder than a Rolex Day-Date President. (Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all wore one.)


Rolex Sky-Dweller Ref. 326934 42 mm in Steel
Big, complicated, and now approachable (financially). The Sky-Dweller packs a lot under the hood here, still ranking as the most complicated movement Rolex has ever engineered.

Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500 40 mm in Steel
Eye-popping wrist presence, if you can find one to buy. Still the perfect size at 40 mm, but now with the new Cerachrom bezel that makes this watch pop. Introduced at Baselworld in 2016.

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Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610 40 mm in Steel
Big, bold, and forever iconic. It’s been engineered for 60 years to perfection. While it still measures at 40 mm, Rolex gave this new version a grander wrist presence by making the case lugs and crown guards larger.

Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 16710 40 mm in Steel with Pepsi Bezel
The “Pepsi” GMT is arguably one of the top classic models the Crown has ever produced. The ref. 16710 was produced from 1989 to 2007.


Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” Ref. 6263, Circa 1971
The Rolex Cosmograph Oyster Reference 6263 with a “Panda” Paul Newman dial is on almost every collector’s dream list. It is considered by most to be the most wanted, most attractive, and more expensive standard Paul Newman Daytona in the market.

Rolex Triple Calendar Moonphase Ref. 8171
Rolex did not produce many triple-calendar moonphases models back in its day, and the 8171 remains atop the wish list. Often called the “Padellone,” in unpolished steel (the most desirable.)


Patek Philippe Ref. 4263
The only vintage, water-resistant chronograph wristwatch that the company ever manufactured. The model is referred to as the “Tasti Tondi” (due to its large scalloped waterproof pushers) and was produced from about 1940 to 1969 yellow gold, pink gold, and steel. This particular example has the highly sought-after railway track dial and the heftier lugs. Get one…if you can.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 6200, Circa 1953
The first generation. Unique features include the “Explorer” dial; 3, 6, and 9 numerals; and an exceptionally large 8 mm winding crown (hence, big crown). The grail of all grail vintage Rolex watches. It’s the king.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans is the style director of Esquire, covering all things fashion, grooming, accessories, and, of course, sneakers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. You can follow him at @MrJonathanEvans on Twitter and Instagram.
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