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Difference between a Rolex DateJust and a Rolex Date

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The Rolex DateJust and the Rolex Date are very similar watches.  Both the DateJust and the Date utilize Oyster cases, 316L or 904L steel (depending on the year manufactured), both are Officially Certified Chronometers, both are water resistant to 100m/330ft, both have the tell-tale Rolex cyclops over the date aperture, and by and large look the same except for one thing; the Rolex Date is 2mm smaller.  Rather than the standard 36mm DateJust, the Rolex Date is 34mm and the bracelet end link is 19mm rather than 20mm as found on the DateJust.

The Rolex DateJust introduced in 1945 has been a mainstay in the Rolex line and is one of the world’s most copied watches. In 1945, the DateJust’s standout features included a cyclops over the date aperture for easier reading, and the date wheel progresses precisely a midnight –hence the name DateJust whereby the date wheel progresses just-in-time.  The genesis of the Rolex Date is a bit more obscure, but goes back to at least the late 1950’s.

The Rolex Date is included in Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual line. Along the Rolex model evolution, the Oyster Perpetual series pre-dates the Rolex DateJust line and includes the Rolex Air King and the men’s and ladies’ Oyster Perpetual watches. The Oyster Perpetual line vary in size from 28mm to 36mm and all exclusively have Oyster bracelets (no Jubilee bracelets) and smaller winding crowns.  Chuck Yeager wore an Oyster Perpetual during his historic supersonic flight and was considered “the Rolex watch” at the time before the introduction of the DateJust. Many Oyster Perpetual watches possessed date wheels but without the cyclops.

Like the DateJust stainless steel line, the Dates have domed or white gold fluted bezels, but no diamonds and no solid gold.  There are older Date models that are found in two-tone but not in Rolex’s current line.  By examining the evolution of the Oyster Perpetual, the Rolex Date is essentially an Oyster Perpetual with a Date and Cyclops and is marketed separately from the Rolex DateJust.

One area of confusion is the setting of the date wheel on the Date model.  Rolex introduced the QuickSet or “Rapid Date Change” in 1977 whereby the date aperture progresses through the days by turning the crown as the hands are stationary.  The QuickSet mechanism is found on both current DateJust and Date models. With both models there is no spinning the hands 24 hours for the date to change.

Despite the evolutionary differences and the place in Rolex’s line of wristwatches, the only distinguishing characteristic between the Rolex DateJust and the Rolex Date is 2mm.

  • Ron

    If you can edit your text, please change the size of the Date to 34mm in the first paragraph, so as not to confuse. I’m sure it was just a typo.

  • Sebastian Forbes

    Excellent !.. thanks for your efforts !!!

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