Rolex Smooth Bezel vs Rolex Fluted Bezel: A Comprehensive Guide
When it comes to luxury wristwatches, Rolex is a brand that undoubtedly occupies a significant position in the industry. Their watches, with their distinctive bezels, are considered symbols of refinement and success. Among the various types of bezels Rolex offers, the Smooth and Fluted bezels are particularly popular. This article offers a comprehensive comparison between these two distinct styles, the models they are associated with, and how their market prices compare.
Watch The Fluted Bezel vs Smooth Bezel Video BelowFluted bezel or Smooth bezel on your Datejust? Take your pick and comment below!
In this video, @robertinothejeweler shows and explains the differences between a smooth bezel and a fluted bezel. Though the smooth bezel may be more practical for everyday wear, the fluted bezel tends to dress your outfit up a bit, giving it a more “dressy” look.
⌚️ Rolex Datejust 126333 41mm Factory Diamond Dial on Jubilee Bracelet (Fluted Bezel)
⌚️Rolex Datejust 126303 41mm Wimbledon Dial on Oyster Bracelet (Smooth Bezel)
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What is a Bezel?
Before delving into specifics, it is essential to understand what a bezel is. A bezel is the top ring that surrounds the watch's face, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. It protects the watch's crystal and can sometimes be turned to perform various tasks, depending on the watch's design.
The Smooth Bezel
The Smooth bezel is the simplest form of bezel that Rolex provides. This bezel style is characterized by a sleek, uninterrupted design that provides a modern look and draws attention to the dial.
The Rolex smooth bezel can be made of either stainless steel or gold, depending on the specific model of the watch.
For instance, the Oyster Perpetual and the Milgauss models, which feature a smooth bezel, typically have bezels made of Oystersteel, Rolex's own corrosion-resistant alloy which belongs to the 904L steel family.
On the other hand, some models like certain versions of the Rolex Day-Date, which is often referred to as the "President" watch, may feature a smooth bezel made of 18 karat gold.
It's important to note that Rolex also uses white gold and Everose gold (Rolex's unique 18k rose gold alloy) in the construction of some of its watches. So the material of the bezel can vary greatly depending on the model and variant of the watch
Models with Smooth Bezels
The Rolex Smooth bezel can be found in various watch models including the Rolex Datejust, Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Rolex Air-King, Rolex Day-Date, Rolex Explorer, and the Rolex Milgaus
Here are some notable models:
- Oyster Perpetual: This model is considered the purest expression of the Oyster concept and is known for its universal and classic appeal. The models include Oyster Perpetual 39 (ref. 114300), Oyster Perpetual 36 (ref. 116000), and Oyster Perpetual 34 (ref. 124200).
- Air-King: The Air-King, such as the ref. 116900 model, features a smooth bezel, making it distinct in the Rolex collection with its aviation-inspired face.
- Milgauss: The Rolex Milgauss, like the ref. 116400 model, features a smooth bezel. The model is designed for those in scientific fields, as it can resist magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss.
Rolex Milgauss 116400GV "Smooth Bezel"
The Fluted Bezel
On the other hand, the Fluted bezel is a Rolex hallmark. Initially made for the purpose of screwing the bezel onto the case to ensure waterproofness, over time, it became an aesthetic element.
Today, the fluted bezel is a mark of distinction, always crafted from 18 karat white gold, rose gold or yellow gold. Older fluted bezels were made of 14 karat gold. Rolex has also released a platinum fluted bezel for the day-date model in 2023.
Models with Fluted Bezels
The fluted bezel is available on a number of Rolex models, including the Rolex Datejust, Rolex Cellini, Rolex 1908, Rolex Sky-Dweller, and the Rolex Day-Date.
- Datejust: One of Rolex's most iconic models, the Datejust comes with a fluted bezel, lending it a sophisticated look. The models include Datejust 41 (ref. 126333), Datejust 36 (ref. 126231), and Datejust 31 (ref. 278273).
- Day-Date: Known as "The Presidents' Watch," the Day-Date model, such as the ref. 128238, features a fluted bezel, adding to its unique and luxurious aesthetic.
Rolex Day-Date 228238 "Fluted Bezel"
Comparing Prices: Retail vs Pre-Owned Secondary Market
Now let's look at how the retail prices compare with the pre-owned secondary market prices. It's important to note that these prices can vary significantly based on factors like condition, age, rarity, and demand.
Retail Prices vs Secondary Market Prices
It is said that the Fluted Bezel demands a slightly higher premium on the pre-owned market, while it only demands $100 more at retail.
All Comes Down To Preference
Whether you prefer the smooth or fluted bezel largely depends on personal preference. The smooth bezel provides a modern and minimalist look and can be found on models such as the Oyster Perpetual and Milgauss. In contrast, the fluted bezel offers a more traditional and luxurious aesthetic, typically available on models like the Datejust and Day-Date. In terms of cost, models with fluted bezels tend to be more expensive due to their gold construction and association with higher-end models. Nonetheless, both styles offer their unique charm and maintain Rolex's reputation for quality and style.