Two-tone Rolexes have long been polarizing amongst watch enthusiasts, with some finding them impossibly alluring while others simply cannot abide the mixing of two metals on one watch. While they might seem like a fairly modern phenomenon, Rolex in fact started making two-tone steel and yellow gold watches in the 1930s, when it first trademarked the name “Rolesor,” the official Rolex term for such pieces. For eight decades two-tone watches have now been part of the Rolex catalog, and though some may have thought they’d eventually discontinued, Rolex has produced some modern versions that show two-tone is here to stay.
“Two-tone Rolexes are something that has gone in and out of fashion over the years, but now they’ve acquired an appealing vintage feel as well as having an added layer of visual interest,” says Paul Altieri, founder of online luxury watch boutique Rolex collectors. “Just last year the New York Times declared that two-tone watches, at one time considered the ‘horological equivalent of a yellow power tie’ have become a hit with younger buyers, prompting luxury brands to expand their offerings.”and one of the world’s top
While once they used to come in only yellow gold and steel, “now Rolex makes two-tone models with their patented version of rose gold which are somewhat more subtle and have a richer look,” Altieri notes. “Even though gold is more expensive than plain steel, two-tone watches of Rolex models have traditionally not held their value as well as solid steel. However I think we’re going to see that trend fade away, with two-tone becoming a solid investment,” especially with the modern pieces we’re discussing here.
Blake Buettner, Director of, the live “bid/ask” marketplace backed by Eminem and Mark Wahlberg where collectors can build their portfolios of luxury timepieces, is also a fan. “It’s easy to ascribe cheesy ’80s stereotypes to two-tone Rolex watches, but when pulled off correctly, they come to life,” he tells us. Here are three modern two-tone Rolex references worth investing in:
“The Rolex Datejust 41 has all of the classic Datejust features we’ve come to know and love in the updated and upgraded 41mm style,” Altieri says. It sports a stainless steel case topped with the iconic fluted bezel in yellow gold, with a yellow screw-down winding crown. Thechampagne dialfeatures luminescent markers with a date window at 3 o’clock. The Rolesor style continues onto the Oyster bracelet with solid yellow gold center links framed by steel outer links. “A two-tone Rolex Datejust can be subtle, tasteful, and downright classy with the right attire,” Buettner notes, “which is key to pulling off two-tone watches.”
“In the two-tone Rolex Submariner, a combination of robust stainless steel, precious 18k yellow gold, and ultra-modern black ceramic come together to make one highly attractive watch,” Altieri says. It features a 40mm Oyster case waterproof to 300 meters, a Glidelock extension system on the Oyster bracelet, and a unidirectional rotating diver’s bezel. The markings on the Cerachrom ceramic bezel are filled with yellow gold to match the gold details on the case, bracelet, and dial. “The Submariner was always meant to be a functional dress watch, as much as it was a tool,” Buettner says, “so seeing modern two-tone references keeps with the spirit of the watch.”
The Sky-Dweller made its debut at Baselworld 2017. This was the first time Rolex made a non-full-gold model of the Sky-Dweller available, thereby significantly dropping the entry price of their annual calendar watch. It features 42mm Oyster case made even more prominent thanks to its yellow gold fluted bezel. “The fresh white dial of this particular Sky-Dweller looks especially good contrasting with the yellow gold details sitting above it,” Altieri notes. “The Sky-Dweller may be a relatively new reference from Rolex, but in two-tone Rolesor it looks like it could have existed for generations,” Buettner adds.