Comparing The Duo of Stainless Steel Oysterquartz Watches
The Two Steel Editions Available
Although Rolex manufactured several Oysterquartz models over the watch’s 25-year production span, there are only two steel editions available. The first is the stainless steel Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17000 with a 36mm case and smooth domed bezel. The second is the stainless steel Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17014 with an 18k white gold fluted bezel on its case.
Let’s delve into the details of this duo of stainless steel Oysterquartz watches by going through the three main components: the movements, the dials, and the bracelets.
The Movements of the Stainless Steel Oysterquartz
The stainless steel Oysterquartz ref. 17000 and ref. 17014 run on Caliber 5035—one of only two in-house quartz calibers ever offered by Rolex. The Cal. 5035, along with the Caliber 5055 for the Oysterquartz Day Date, debuted in 1977 after five years of research and development by Rolex. These calibers were actually a follow-up to the Beta-21 quartz caliber, developed by a group of top Swiss watchmakers including Rolex.
The first batches of the Caliber 5035 quartz movements were not certified by COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres a.k.a. the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute). In 1979, however, Rolex attained the COSC certification for the Caliber 5035. Consequently, early editions of the stainless steel Oysterquartz ref. 17000 watches from 1977 and 1978 are not officially certified chronometers, while models from 1979 onwards are.
On the other hand, the steel and gold Oysterquartz Datejust reference 17014 only joined the collection in the 1980s. Subsequently, all versions of the Rolex ref. 17014 are COSC-certified.
The Dials of the Stainless Steel Oysterquartz Datejust
Due to the lack of COSC certification, early models of the Rolex Oysterquartz mens stainless steel ref. 17000 have dials with only “OYSTERQUARTZ” text on the bottom portion of the watch face. Once the quartz Caliber 5035 received certification, the dials changed accordingly. To leave room for the “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” designation above 6 o’clock, the OYSTERQUARTZ name moved up, finding a place in between ROLEX and DATEJUST. The non-chronometer dials are also known as the three-liner Oysterquartz Datejust or Mark I dials and are more rare to find than their chronometer counterparts.
In addition to the SCOC dials and non-SCOC dials, there are also a variety of dial colors available on the stainless steel Oysterquartz. There’s also a gray dial with diamond indexes for an even more luxurious Oysterquartz Datejust.
The Bracelets of the Stainless Steel Oysterquartz
As well as the famous angular case shape of the Oysterquartz, another critical component of the model is the integrated bracelet. The stainless steel Oysterquartz Datejust ref. 17000 comes equipped with a steel Oyster style integrated bracelet with 13 links. The bracelet shares the same reference number as the watch—ref. 17000 or, in some cases, ref. 17000B—which can clearly be seen engraved on the back of the bracelet.
Conversely, the stainless steel Oysterquartz ref 17014 with the gold bezel dons a steel integrated Jubilee style bracelet. The white gold bezel in addition to the Jubilee bracelet makes this particular model a dressier version of the Oysterquartz Datejust. Also sporting 13 links, the steel Jubilee bracelet of the Oysterquartz ref 17014 carries the reference number 17010.
All bracelets on Rolex Oysterquartz watches taper towards the folding clasp for a very recognizable look.
The above modifications to, and variety of, the stainless steel Oysterquartz Datejust illustrate the evolution of the model over the years. Whether you opt for the full steel Oysterquartz ref. 17000 or the steel with a gold bezel Oysterquartz ref. 17014, all stainless steel Rolex Oysterquartz watches are a joy to wear!