How 7 Rolex models got their unique nicknames

Christie's auctionChristie’sThe Rolex Paul Newman.

Every Rolex tells a story.

But some of the brand’s watches talk louder than others. And those often get a nickname — something used by collectors and fans as shorthand to let others know exactly what they’re talking about.

Here are just some of the most notable and amusing Rolex nicknames used to describe the company’s rich history of watchmaking.


Some Rolex models don't have a great reasoning for their naming. Take the Rolex GMT-Master II, with its blue and black ceramic bezel, is nicknamed Batman, according to Christie's.

Why Batman? It's simply because blue and black are often associated with the Dark Knight. The watch has also been called 'The Dark Knight' and 'Bruiser.'

The piece is sought after, and still has a waitlist of those trying to purchase it new. The watch is available to bid on at Christie's.

Soda flavours

A trend in Rolex nicknames is to name them according to colour.

Throughout the history of releases for the Rolex GMT-Master II, there's been a number named after popular sodas beverages. There's the Pepsi, a GMT with a red and blue bezel, the Coke, a GMT with a red and black dial, and the Root Beer, the nickname for two different steel-and-gold watches in Rolex's history.

The Root Beer is pictured above, a vintage GMT-Master 1675 from 1970 available here.

James Cameron

Others, however have a rich history inherently tied to their specific reference and model. The Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-Blue, Ref. 116660, for example, was created to commemorate filmmaker James Cameron upon his return from the first solo expedition to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, according to Christie's.

The Deep-Sea lettering is the same colour as Cameron's submarine, and the face has a symbolic blue to black gradient.

Available to bid on at Christie's.


The 50th anniversary edition of the Rolex Submariner was not supposed to celebrate a Muppet. Instead, it was supposed to symbolise Rolex's characteristic green colour seen on the brand's boxes, signage, and advertising, according to Christie's.

However, fans and aficionados likened the colour to the friendly amphibious character and the name stuck. Available to bid on at Christie's.

Though no longer available for purchase new, there is a green-bezeled Submariner with a green dial as well -- appropriately nicknamed 'the Hulk.'

Steve McQueen

The Rolex 'Steve McQueen,' better known as the Rolex Explorer II Ref. 1655, has never been photographed on the wrist of the famous 20th century actor.

In fact, he probably never even owned it. Instead, according to Christie's, the name likely comes from a misquote in an Italian journal in the 1970s. But no one will likely ever know the real reason. Available to bid on at Christie's.

What is known, however, is that Steve McQueen's favourite watch to wear offscreen was the Rolex Submariner.

The President

This nickname is so famous that Rolex itself even uses it.

When Rolex debuted the Day-Date watch, it gave it a special new band called the 'President Bracelet.' This, combined with the popularity of the watch among world leaders, cemented the name in people's minds.

Today, it's often used in reference to the sold gold versions paired with a Jubilee bracelet.

The pictured model is available here.

Paul Newman

The Rolex Daytona, for obvious reasons, has a strong racing heritage. The Rolex Paul Newman, specifically the Ref. 6239, even more so.

Paul Newman's wife gave this watch to him when he decided to take up racing and it was explicitly linked to the man after he was photographed wearing it on the cover of an Italian fashion magazine, according to Christie's. He also wore it in the 1969 racing movie 'Winning,' which he starred in with his wife.

One of the most sought after vintage Rolex watches, the pictured example was auctioned at Christie's in March with the final hammer at $118,750 -- much higher than the $40,000-$60,000 estimate.

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