“In the watchmaking world, 110 years isn’t all that long,” notes Paul Altieri,  founder of online luxury watch retailer Bob’s Watches as well as one of the world’s top Rolex collectors. “And there are other prestigious and expensive brands like Patek Philippe. But Rolex is the all-round coolest and most iconic. From Sir Edmund Hillary to James Bond, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, there’s never been any question about which watch these men would wear. It’s Rolex or nothing.”

“Rolex watches have a rugged masculinity to them, and they’re extremely capable tools as well,” Altieri adds. “There’s really no other watch that measures up. And there are Rolex models to suit every lifestyle and sensibility, from sport watches to dress watches, all of them beautifully made and the very best of their kind. Rolexes are never mass produced, but rather made carefully, and painstakingly, by hand. In fact, It takes about a year to make each watch. And it shows.”

You don’t have to be interested in Rolex’s rich history to benefit from it. As German watch expert Gilbert Brunner, author of The Watch Book: Rolex, notes, “Innovative dynamism, precision, longevity, reliability, recognizability and exemplary preservation of value are only a few of the factors that motivate hundreds of thousands of people to buy wristwatches bearing the Rolex insignia every year.”

Among other things, Rolex invented the first truly watertight wristwatch and the dual time zone watch, both key features on Rolex models today. Though they have an innate elegance, Rolex’s roots are in sports watches, and the fact that they can perform to exacting standards when called upon to do so is what gives them depth and value beyond mere good looks. Here are the 10 best Rolex watches you can buy, the ethos behind their designs and why they’re well worth the investment:

The Submariner

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