If there’s one watch that proudly shows off its “Rolex-ness,” it’s the two-tone ladies’ Datejust watch. With its classic looks and signature blend of steel and yellow gold, the two-tone Datejust for women is instantly recognizable anywhere it goes. So, today we explore two popular two-tone ladies’ Datejust references, the Datejust 26 ref. 6917 and the Datejust 26 ref. 69173 to see how they stack up against each other.
Design: Two-Tone Ladies’ Datejust ref. 6917 vs. ref. 69173
Rolex manufactured the two-tone ladies’ Datejust ref. 6917 from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s. Rolex then followed up that reference with the newer two-tone ladies’ Datejust ref. 69173, which was available from the mid-1980s until about 1998.
In terms of design, the Datejust ref. 6917 and the Datejust ref. 69173 are quite similar. Both of these two-tone ladies Datejust watches include a 26m steel Oyster case, a yellow gold fluted bezel, and yellow gold center links on the steel Jubilee or Oyster bracelet.
One major difference between the Datejust ref. 6917 and the Datejust ref. 69173 is the crystal sitting above the dial. Although both models sport the signature Cyclops magnification lens to make the date window at 3 o’clock more legible, the Datejust ref. 6917 has acrylic crystal while the Datejust ref. 69173 includes scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Mechanics: Two-Tone Ladies’ Datejust ref. 6917 vs. ref. 69173
Like most women’s Rolex watches, all two-tone ladies’ Datejust timepieces rely on automatic mechanical movements to power their time and date functionalities. However, there are differences between the calibers that drive the two-tone ladies’ the Datejust ref. 6917 and its successor, the Datejust ref. 69173.
As an older model, the Datejust ref. 6917 runs on Rolex Caliber 2035, which includes the hacking function—where the seconds hand halts when the winding crown is pulled out—but not the quickset feature. On the other hand, newer Datejust ref. 69173, powered by Cal. 2135, does offer the practical quickset functionality. This means that the wearer can set the date quickly, independent from the center hour and minute hands.
Price: Two-Tone Ladies’ Datejust ref. 6917 vs. ref. 69173
Considering their prestige, luxuriousness, and distinct design, both the two-tone ladies’ Datejust ref. 6917 and the two-tone ladies’ Datejust ref. 69173 offer incredible value in the secondary market. As expected, the newer Datejust ref. 69173 is slightly more expensive than its predecessor, however, both models start well below $3,000.
At the top end of the price range, a pre-owned two-tone ladies’ Datejust ref. 69173 with a factory original Rolex diamond dial can be had for around $6,900—bearing in mind that a new stainless steel Datejust with simple stick indexes retails for well over $7,000, that’s a great deal indeed!
Both important women’s watches in Rolex’s archives, the Datejust ref. 6917 and the Datejust ref. 69173 are fantastic examples of the classic two-tone ladies’ Datejust timepiece.