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Old 30 August 2020, 02:46 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Real Name: Rob
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Every discontinued Rolex model name

This is my attempt to list every discontinued model name that has appeared on a Rolex watch. Often when old/random Rolex model names are brought up online, people mention watches released under the standalone Oyster brand (like Essex, Lincoln, Edison, Grenfell, Lipton, Lady Dudley, Junior Sport, Raleigh, Commander, Recorda, Chester, Regent, Shipmate, and Pioneer). Here I will focus strictly on proper Rolexes.

I don't really consider movement designations to be model names (like Chronometer, Observatory, Extra/Ultra Prima, Standard, Anti-and Precision) so I won't include those.

Rolex trademarked tons of names that they never used and I'm only including ones I could find pics of. If anyone knows of any others I'm forgetting, please let me know! Here's the list of 50+ discontinued Rolex model names that I could find. They're in alphabetical order except when it makes sense to mention models together:

Air-Tiger, Air-Giant, and Air-Lion
Rolex tried 4 "Air" names beginning in the late 1940's, but only "Air-King" stuck.

Air-King-Date and Explorer Date
Ref. 5700 (smooth bezel) and 5701 (fluted bezel) were released under both the "Air-King-Date" and "Explorer-Date" names. These are some of the only Rolexes with dates that change over slowly from about 9pm-2am instead of clicking cleanly around midnight.



The vast majority of Oyster cases have a similar/standard sort of lug shape, but the Athlete has distinctive straight lugs.

Named for one of Rolex's first official ambassadors, Sir Malcolm Campbell. Campbell once simultaneously held the land speed and water speed records.

Centregraph and Zerographe
The Zerographe/Centregraph was a monopusher chronograph made in 1937. It was quickly discontinued and never reached serial production, which is bizarre because Rolex clearly put a lot of effort into it as it had Rolex's first in-house (but still not manufacture) chronograph movement and Rolex's first rotating bezel. Perhaps patent infringement issues were involved, as the very similar (and very patented) Weems Watch by Longines debuted around the same time, and some later Centregraphs and Zerographs were made minus the rotating bezel. Rolex also put the name "Centregraph" on a few plain-Jane Oyster Perpetuals for some reason.



Supposedly this was originally only available at US military bases in 1969, and later some appeared for sale at Abercrombie & Fitch stores in 1972. The fat hands of the 6429 are pretty sweet.




I'm not entirely sure that "Dustproof" was meant as a model name rather than some sort of designation. Interestingly, the word "Oyster" never appears on a Dustproof even though most of them are Oyster models.




Rolex toyed with the "Everest" moniker before the more successful "Explorer" name took off.




Obviously the GMT-Master II is still going strong, but technically GMT-Master was a different model name. Ref. 16700 was the final GMT-Master.



King Midas
and Queen Midas

Gerald Genta designed the King Midas, and it had 3 firsts for Rolex: a sapphire crystal, a hidden clasp, and an integrated bracelet. Elvis wore one. There are some ladies' versions too, and the Queen Midas isn't just a cute nickname--it's written on the clasp. The later Midases were considered part of the Cellini collection.



and Seaforth

These watches were sometimes advertised together; they're the same thing except the Seaforth has a seconds subdial. The Majestic cost slightly more; having a center seconds hand was considered a feature back then. Many of these models are marked "Observatory."

Marconi was mostly an early sub-brand of Rolex, and many Marconi watches had Rolex improperly painted on much later. However, at least some Rolex watches were legitimately released with Marconi as the model name.




A short-lived alternative name for the first Turn-O-Graphs.

This name was used for decades on various small gold ladies' watches, often with wacky shapes.

While the Oyster brand is obviously still hugely important to Rolex, they no longer use "Oyster" as a standalone model name like they used to.



"Oysterquartz" was more of a product line than a model name per se, but I feel like it's worth mentioning. The Oysterquartz Day-Date and Oysterquartz Datejust were in the Rolex catalog from the late 1970's until the early 2000's. Some of the first OQ Datejusts said "Datejust" at the top and "Oysterquartz" at the bottom, instead of the more common "Oysterquartz Datejust" at the top with chronometer text at the bottom.

Pall Mall


Prince may have been the first model name Wilsdorf ever put on a watch; in the beginning he was just focusing on getting the word "Rolex" out there.

Prince wristwatches were made from the 1920's-1940's. Rolex revived the Prince model in the early 2000's and gave it a clear caseback; it remained an option on as late as 2015.

Princess never actually appeared on a dial without "Sporting" preceding it, but it was clearly used by Rolex as a distinct model, including variants like the 8 Facets, Trapeze, Glayola, Egyptian, Lotus, Rochettina, and Bouts Arrondis (Rounded Edge). Other model names from the 1930's that never appeared on a dial include Dauphine, Duchess, Marquis and Queen.

Prince Elegant, Prince Elegante, Prince Royal, and Prince Imperial
Rolex apparently tried several variants of the Prince name, sometimes even on pocket watches. The Prince was known as the "doctor's watch" because of its relatively easy-to-read, large seconds subdial. This was before center seconds hands were common, and the minute/hour hands did not overlap at all with the seconds area (except on the Prince Elegant/Elegante models). Prince Brancard, Prince Railway, and Prince Classic are other designations that Rolex sometimes used in advertising, though I don't believe those names ever appeared on a dial. The unique Prince watches with center seconds are sometimes referred to as "Prince Aerodynamic" but I don't think that name appeared on a dial, either.

Sporting Prince and Sporting Princess
A portable fold-up watch was called a "travel watch" when marketed to men and a "purse watch" when marketed to women. Rolex apparently made a few wristwatches with "Sporting Princess" on the dial, too.

Royal, Royalite, and Royal Giant
Rolex threw the word "Royal" on a lot of entry-level manual-wind references with seconds subdials in the 1930's and 1940's. Royalites, meanwhile, almost always had center seconds. By the 1950's Rolex had apparently dropped the Royalite moniker, and the Royal kept on trucking for another decade or so (with center seconds now). I believe most Royals and Royalites are between 30 and 32mm wide. Some later Royals were 34mm, including the rare Royal Giant. I suppose it's worth mentioning that Tudor released an Asia-only line of Royal watches in 2020.




Short-lived Explorer alternative.


and Speedking Elegant

The "Speedking" moniker appeared on several manual-wind 30mm references from the 1940's-1960's. The "Speedking Elegant" name only briefly appeared on the 33mm reference 4365, which was also the first reference to be named "Air-King." Air-King clearly won that marketing battle.

Sport and Sporting Model

Submarine and Aqua
The Rolex Oyster wasn't the first waterproof wristwatch, just the first commercially successful/viable one. The Submarine (a.k.a. "Aqua") is a hermetic watch; several other brands made similar waterproof watches in the early 1920's. It seems Wilsdorf was later considering using Aqua as a standalone alternative to the Oyster brand; there are even some "Aqua Patent" crowns. "Aqua" most frequently appears on dials co-branded by Solar, the watch brand of Eaton's (a Canadian department store). Indian retailer names like P. Orr & Sons and Lund & Blockley can be found on other Aquas.

The Datejust Transcontinental (ref. 6602, circa 1957) is exceedingly rare; it's the only Rolex ever made with a 12-hour rotating bezel. It's basically a Turn-O-Graph with a different bezel. According to an old forum rumor, the founder of Delta Airlines owned one.

This iconic model lasted from the early 1950's until 2014 or so, but only the first and last generations of Turn-O-Graph have it written on the dial.

This model was designed to only tick once per second so doctors could easily count pulses. Nowadays most of the ones left have a broken stop-seconds complication, in which case they "sweep" like a normal Rolex.

Verislim and Veriflat


If you see something else on a dial (like Asprey, Astrua, Verga, Beyer, etc.) it's possible it could be a retailer co-branding rather than a model name. Thanks for reading!
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