Watches - Buying Guides

A Brief Guide to Rolex Timepiece Nicknames

There are very few items out there which exude the same sense of sophistication as a Rolex. These masterful watches have become synonymous with luxury, and add an instant air of elegance to any outfit, no matter when or where the wearer may be.

While all Rolex watches are appreciated and treasured for their excellence in design, unparalleled precision, and peerless sense of heritage, a handful of these timepieces are valued and enjoyed on another level, too: for their nicknames. It is a fascinating peculiarity of this brand that some of their products have, over the course of several decades, picked up nicknames and monikers which occasionally (as in the case of ‘the President’) are better known than the official title of the timepiece in question.

Whether the nickname is well-known, or one which is really only spoken of in hushed voices by the dedicated watch collecting community, each and every one has a story to tell. To understand and know the array of Rolex nicknames which are out there is a fun way to add further dimensions to your appreciation of this brand, and to gain a unique insight into the heritage that Rolex has at its very core.

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the more famous and interesting Rolex nicknames which continue to circulate today, and learn from where these alternative monikers have arisen.

Rolex Nicknames Based on People and Personalities

Just like famous actors, certain world leaders, rock gods and sporting heroes alike, Rolex watches have a star quality which is entirely their own. Here are some of the timepieces which have become known by their association with famous personalities - people and characters with undeniably exceptional taste, style, and panache.

The President

rolex day date president 18k yellow gold

Real name: The Rolex Day-Date Series

When many people think of Rolex watches, the ‘President’ model is perhaps one of the first which springs to mind. It isn’t difficult to understand why; in many ways, this is the quintessential Rolex, and as its name suggests, it has been favoured by world leaders since its debut in 1956. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first of the US presidents to associate themselves with this watch, but not the last - JFK also had a strong connection with it, too. Outside of politics, it has been the watch of choice for Warren Buffett, Jay Z, and even Tony Soprano.

With its refined and embellished face and air of authority and elegance, this is a timepiece which exudes equal parts of power and class. The uniquely curved three-link bracelet was specifically designed for this model, and in fact, the nickname of ‘President’ actually applies to the style of bracelet, rather than the timepiece itself. However, the nickname has actually become so associated with this watch as a whole, it’s ended up becoming synonymous with the full package.

Shop pre-owned Rolex Day-Date here. 

James Bond

rolex submariner 6538 james bond

Real name: Submariner 6358

What man doesn’t harbour 007 fantasies of his own? The action, the glamour, the jet-setting lifestyle, the women… it’s no surprise to anybody that the world’s most famous secret agent opted for a Rolex watch when he made his debut in Dr. No back in 1962. Actor Sean Connery supposedly loved this Rolex so much, he insisted it was part of his costume in the following three James Bond movies. With his endorsement, a modern legend of a timepiece was born, and this stunning watch with its oversized crown and conspicuous lack of crown guards gained its nickname forever.

Shop pre-owned Rolex Submariner here. 

Paul Newman

rolex daytona 6241 paul newman panda dial

Real name: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref 6239, 6241, 6262 - 6265

This spectacular timepiece is - hands down - the most coveted of all the Rolex releases, and the one which really gets collectors hot under the collar. The nickname is used for a handful of Cosmograph Daytona timepieces, which feature the ‘exotic dial’ detailing which include a beautiful Art Deco font, and several other unique customisations. The nickname comes from the legendary actor and race car driver - and ultimate arbiter of cool, collected masculinity - Paul Newman, who favoured this model in his 60’s heyday.  These are the most desired vintage watches on the planet, and Newman’s personal watch smashed records at auction in 2017, further cementing the legendary status of this incredible timepiece.

Shop pre-owned Rolex Daytona here. 

Steve McQueen

rolex explorer II steve mcqueen 1655

Real name: Rolex Explorer II ref 1655

Interestingly, Steve McQueen - another legendary actor and style icon of the 1960’s - never actually wore this watch, or at least, there is no photographic evidence of him wearing it. However, with its oversized orange arrow detail, chunky design and air of effortless cool, somehow the name stuck regardless. This model is also known as The Freccione, which takes its name from ‘freccia’ - the Italian word for arrow - in reference to the eye-catching arrow which acts as the watch’s 24-hour hand.

Shop pre-owned Rolex Explorer II here. 

Rolex Nicknames Based on Colour

The Rolex brand has always played with colour in their designs, and many of the iconic models use striking, bold, even ostentatious colours to highlight their distinctive features and sense of fun. Of course, such design choices lend themselves naturally to the creation of nicknames - let’s take a glance at some of our favourites.


rolex gmt master II pepsi stick dial 16710

Real name: Rolex GMT Master ref 16710

This striking two-tone watch boasts a distinctive bezel coloured in halves of bold blue and red, which is reminiscent of the Pepsi brand and the obvious root of this particular nickname. However, the pairing of these colours is not merely a stylistic choice: the GMT Master was designed for Pan Am pilots, and the colours allow the wearer to instantly distinguish between daylight and night-time hours.

Over the years, several other versions of the GMT Master were released by Rolex. Keeping with the soft drinks theme, these were named Coke - due to its red and black colour scheme - and Root Beer, which was coloured a distinctive brown and gold.

Shop pre-owned Rolex GMT Master here. 


rolex gmt master II batman 116710blnr

Real name: GMT Master II ref 116710BLNR

With its moody colour scheme of midnight blue and black, it’s no wonder this timepiece picked up a nickname taken from everyone’s favourite gothic caped crusader. This watch represented a breakthrough moment for Rolex; the company had originally stated that making a ceramic bezel boasting two different colours wouldn’t be possible or practical. However, with this model, they managed to achieve it, and pave the way for many more to come.

Shop pre-owned Rolex GMT Master II here. 


rolex submariner hulk 116610lv

Real name: Rolex Submariner ref 116610LV

One of Rolex’s most recent iconic designs, the updated Submariner was ‘greener’ than any of its predecessors. This vivid, updated colour scheme, coupled with a chunkier design featuring wide lugs and broad lume plots makes this watch’s nickname an obvious, pop culture-inspired choice. Just remember to keep your cool while wearing it.


rolex submariner kermit 16610lv

Real name: Rolex Submariner ref 16610LV

This beautiful timepiece was released as a 50th anniversary special, celebrating the iconic Submariner line of Rolex watches. With its pond-green bezel, it wasn’t long before the nickname ‘Kermit’ - taken from everyone’s favourite frog - began to be bandied around.

John Player Special

rolex daytona 6264 yellow gold john player smith

Real name: Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref 6264

Stunning, striking, eye-catching and utterly elegant, this vintage Daytona watch is dressed in gold, and features a black acrylic bezel and dial. Interestingly, this nickname doesn’t come from the cigarettes themselves, but rather from the Lotus Formula One race cars sponsored by the brand, which boasted the same colour scheme. A rare treasure, and one which commands the highest prices at auction.

Rolex Nicknames Based on Shape and Detailing

It’s fascinating to see the subtle differences between the shape and fine detailing of Rolex timepieces. Therein lies the true distinction of this brand; nothing is left to chance, and every millimetre of design is something which has been pored over and selected with confidence and with an eye for the utmost in sophistication.


rolex 6062 little star

Real name: Rolex ref 6062

These beautiful timepieces take their nickname from the Italian word for ‘little star’, and with obvious reason; the elegant face of these watches feature delicate five-pointed stars in place of hour markers. The result is truly spellbinding and captures a touch of the Hollywood glamour that pervaded the 1950s and the golden age of cinema.

Fat Lady

rolex gmt master ii fat lady coke 16760

Real name: GMT Master II ref 16760

Also known as the ‘Sophia Loren’ (due to its curvaceous and elegant shape, of course), the Fat Lady timepiece features a thicker bezel, chunkier case, and more prominent crown guards - a significant new direction for the brand, and one which would inspire plenty of later models. With its distinctive weight, two-tone bezel and 100% stainless steel body, this watch is a wonderfully masculine release, and one which remains highly sought-after to this day.


rolex 8171 palledone

Real name: Rolex ref 8171

The word ‘padellone’ is an Italian one, and refers to a large, flat-bottomed frying pan. This beautifully elegant and - at the time - unusually oversized timepiece was produced for a short time in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and really demonstrates Rolex’s panache for making bold design choices, which manage to maintain an unrivalled elegance and sense of timeless sophistication. Extremely rare, this watch is a real unicorn that watch collectors will travel the world in order to get their hands on… and it’s not difficult to see why.


rolex oyster perpetual bubble back watch

Real name: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watch

Fun, funky, and with a distinctive vintage charm that maintains its appeal in the 21st century, the Bubbleback moniker refers to the oversized and curved caseback, which holds a larger-than-average mechanism within. Produced between 1933 and 1955, these watches capture something of the aesthetic of the age, and provided plenty of inspiration for later models, such as legendary Rolex Datejust.

Shop pre-owned Rolex Oyster Perpetual here.


Which nickname is your favourite? Share your thoughts in the comments below. You can also shop our full collection of pre-owned Rolex watches online now at Xupes.