Just before Christmas, we selected two Omega watches and three Rolex watches for our weekly Pre-Owned Picks feature. Buying pre-owned is a wonderful solution to purchase the watch of your dreams with a friendlier price tag.

Last week I was at the Zurich airport, and you might have seen it on my Instagram stories perhaps, but I walked by the Rolex boutique and from a distance, I noticed their windows were packed with their sports models. When I came closer, I noticed these signs indicating that these watches were ‘For exhibition only’. What a bummer. All watches in the display were dummies with fixed hands, so there was no point to go inside and ask about these watches. And it was not only the sports models but also the Oyster Perpetual models in 39mm. I received quite some comments on the Instagram story that I shared, from ‘it is becoming ridiculous’ to ‘With even OP39s not available anymore, Rolex is just not relevant any longer’. Others were happy to see this as it clearly has a (financial) effect on the value of the Rolex watch(es) they own. Pre-owned is an alternative to be able to purchase the Rolex you want, but even there the prices increase accordingly. However, I found some nice Rolex models anyway that I would like to share with you. Perhaps not the most popular models, but nevertheless interesting.

Pre-Owned Picks of Week 51

So, on my radar this week are three Rolex watches: the Air-King ‘Bloodhound’ with reference 116900, the Rolex Explorer II 16570 with tritium dial, and a full gold Daytona with reference 16528. I also selected two Omega Constellations, a vintage, and a neo-vintage. Without further ado, let’s have a look at these 5 pre-owned pieces for this week.

Omega Constellation 1202.30 (€1560,-)

I am fully aware, that not many watch enthusiasts share the same love that I have for this Constellation’95 series. However, it was my first Omega and I have a weak spot for it. I even feel it is heavily undervalued. This Constellation is part of the ’95 collection, to which Cindy Crawford, but also Pierce Brosnan, Ernie Els, and Bernhard Langer were connected as ambassadors. This particular model Constellation goes all the way back to 1982 when Omega introduced their Constellation ‘Manhattan’ series. A watch with an integrated bracelet without becoming a sportswatch, but mainly recognized for the claws on the bezel. The very early models had a bezel under the crystal and the claws pressed on the flat sapphire crystal. This was changed somewhere mid-1980s to the design they still have. Anyway, the Constellation’95 is among my favorites in this ‘Manhattan’ collection. It is immensely popular in Asia, as Omega targeted that region with this watch in the 1990s. I have 8 different Constellations in my own collection, and 4 of them are ‘Manhattan’ related. One of them is identical to the Constellation I picked for this week. It is a 36mm automatic winding Constellation (the quartz models are 33.5mm) and it wears awesome (and bigger than 36mm due to the integrated bracelet and the tonneau case shape). You can’t see it on the picture below, but there’s an interesting motif on the dial which gives it a certain depth. The gold dauphine hands match with the gold applied hour markers and Constellation symbol (the star). This watch is powered by Omega’s caliber 1120, which is based on the ETA 2892-A2, but with a modified rotor construction for more reliable performance. This watch comes with box and papers and has been serviced. €1560 is definitely a fair price for this piece and, in fact, it was this watch that changed my life forever. Click here to see the offer on this Constellation.

Omega Constellation 168.0056 (€990)

Another Constellation, and similar to what I brought myself a few months ago (click here). This reference 168.0056 dates back to ca.1972 and has the so-called C-shape case. It can be a quite confusing model, as there are a lot of variations. This particular one does not have the fluted bezel, but there’s some kind of brushed finish on there. The blue dial has a brushed effect as well, giving a nice contrast with the applied numerals and logos. The white hour and minute hand are a tad bit sporty and have this aged tritium in there. Inside, there’s the Omega caliber 1011 movement inside, with the chronometer certification. The caseback shows the observatory (like all Constellations do) with the 8 stars. This is so much value for money, and these pieces are still very much under the radar. You can wonder for how long though, as these are of excellent quality and just keep on ticking. It is a 35mm watch and wears a bit bigger on the wrist due to the case shape. Click here for the offer on this Omega Constellation.

Rolex Air-King 116900 (€5599)

The Rolex that everyone loves to hate, it seems. Not me, not us (hi Gerard!). This 40mm diameter Rolex Air-King is more serious than you might think. It seems to be a bit of a designer’s mess, with the Explorer-like numerals and the printed 5 minutes incremented numerals. But, it is linked to the Bloodhound LSR project, or was, actually. The collaboration has been discontinued and this might also imply that this Air-King will be discontinued (tip!). I have never been a fan of the Air-King to be honest, they just felt a bit too ‘simple’ in design. This Air-King 116900 is different. I just felt this watch was plain awkward when it was introduced in 2016, but I am warming up to it. It has a lot of cool specs, like the same anti-magnetic resistance as the Milgauss, due to the caliber 3131 movement (which has its own Faraday cage, unlike the more commonly used caliber 3132). The retail price of this Air-King is €5700,-, but this three-year old pre-owned watch is priced at €5599. It is one of those few Rolexes that doesn’t have a pre-owned price over its retail price (but wait for the others in this week’s pre-owned picks). This watch is high on my list. Click here for the offer on this Rolex Air-King 116900.

Rolex Explorer II 16570 (€5220)

I recently wrote an entire article on the vintage Explorer II, and why I like it so much. You can find that article here. This white Explorer II with tritium hands and tritium dial is a very nice alternative to that in my opinion. The vintage Explorer II isn’t the easiest watch to read, for instance, but also today’s going prices for those equal a nice pre-owned BMW 3-series. I like to rationalize at times, also to protect myself from being dragged in this craziness around watch collecting. The white dial Explorer II we have here is definitely in a used condition, but it all looks OK and good enough for daily wearing. The facets are still visible on the lugs, the dial and hands have their tritium luminous material and the dial doesn’t show dents or intense wear. It dates back to ca.1995 and it means it still has the lug holes but lacks the RolexRolexRolex rehaut and the flip-lock on the Oyster bracelet. If you can live with those things, it is a cool watch to have. No box and papers, meaning this watch is for wearing (like all watches are). Click here for the offer on this Rolex Explorer II 16570.

Rolex Daytona 16528 (€19999)

Here’s that expensive inclusion in this week’s Pre-Owned picks. A full gold Daytona with a price that’s even lower than some of the steel modern Rolex Daytona watches. I just can’t believe someone is willing to shell out more for a steel modern Daytona than a gold Daytona will cost you. But, that also might have to do with my love for gold for a few years. I am not a Daytona fan by any means, as I feel the design is a bit awkward on some of them (the subdials are centered higher than the center pinion, for example). This 1992 Daytona with reference 16528 would be something I’d prefer over any other ‘modern’ Daytona in steel, meaning later than 1988. This Daytona doesn’t come with box or papers, hence the price of ‘just’ €20.000 probably. Just be aware that you can’t wear a watch like this out in the open anymore in certain places. Sadly enough. Click here for the offer on this gold Rolex Daytona.

As always, with pre-owned watches, make sure to do your (own) homework. Also, feel free to make an offer on these watches (remember: these are asking prices) and discuss the warranty the seller can provide. Chrono24 offers its Trusted Checkout system, so you have proper buyer protection (more here). That said, always do your homework nevertheless. It can prevent you from a lot of frustration and ‘stuff’ you don’t want to have to deal with.

Happy Hunting!