Two Tone Rolex Datejust Compare: 16203, 16233, 16263, 116203, 116233 & 116263
The two tone Rolex Datejust watch has been a mainstay in the brand’s catalog for seven decades. Cherished for its iconic style, unparalleled quality, and versatility, many fans of luxury watches opt for the two tone Datejust as their daily timepiece. Since there are so many versions of this watch to choose from, we are exploring the difference between different generations of this popular Rolex dress watch. Today we compare two tone Rolex Datejust 5-digit to 6-digit models. We’ll begin with the 162xx family watches and compare them to the ref. 1162xx generation.
What are the Key Traits of the Two Tone Datejust?
Before we dive into underlining the differences between two eras of the two tone Datejust, we’d be remiss not to highlight what the shared design details are across all versions of the watch. For example, as its name implies, the two tone Datejust marries rugged stainless steel and precious gold—yellow in the case—in one watch. Rolex actually refers to their two tone watches as Rolesor models.
Also, we are discussing the Datejust 36, therefore all of the two tone Datejust watches included here have 36mm cases, specifically constructed to be water resistant to 100 meters. Additionally, it wouldn’t be a Datejust without the signature date window sitting at the 3 o’clock position along with the customary Cyclops magnification lens placed above it protruding from the crystal. And like most Rolex timepieces, these two tone Datejust watches run on self-winding mechanical movements.
Design: Two Tone Rolex Datejust 16203, 16233, 16263 vs. 116203, 116233, 116263
The two tone Rolex Datejust ref. 16203 and ref. 116203 have smooth (domed) yellow gold bezels, the ref. 16233 and the ref. 116233 have fluted yellow gold bezels, and the ref. 16263 and the ref. 116263 have yellow gold rotating “Turn-O-Graph” bezels.
The Five Digit References
Rolex began production of the two tone Datejust 16203, 16233, and 16263 watches in the late 1980s. These particular models include details you’d expect from modern Rolex Datejust watches such as a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and the Rolex Caliber 3135 automatic movement with quickset functionality. Early models of the two tone Datejust ref. 162xx had tritium on the dial for luminescence, followed by Luminova in the late 1990s and finally, SuperLuminova a few years after that. Moreover, early versions of the two tone Datejust ref. 162xx included lug holes on the cases to permit easy strap switching, however, Rolex phased these out in the mid-1990s. Bracelet options of the five-digit ref. 162xx two tone Datejust models include Oyster or Jubilee, all fitted with hollow links and flip clasps.
The Six Digit References
In the mid-2000s, Rolex unveiled the latest versions of the two tone Datejust with the six-digit ref. 116203, 116233, and 116263. Many of the design details of the preceding models, such as the sapphire crystal, SuperLuminova luminescent material, absence of lug holes, remained on the newer generation of the two tone Datejust watches.
However, the Oyster and Jubilee bracelets underwent a major change, all designed with solid links and solid end links (SEL). Subsequently, the newer six-digit ref. 1162xx models are heavier than their predecessors. Furthermore, in the mid-2000s, Rolex began engraving the inner bezels, also known as the rehaut, with “ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX” to prevent counterfeiting. So there are some Datejust ref. 1162xx watches without the engraved rehaut and some with.
Rolex discontinued the two tone Datejust “Turn-O-Graph” ref. 116263 in the early 2010s. What’s more, just this year at Baselworld 2018, Rolex replaced the two tone Datejust ref. 116203 and ref. 116233 with the brand new Datejust 36 ref. 126203 and the Datejust 36 ref. 126233. These brand new versions have slightly redesigned lugs and a new movement—Rolex Caliber 3235.
Movement: Two Tone Rolex Datejust 16203, 16233, 16263 vs. 116203, 116233, 116263
Both the five-digit ref. 162xx and six-digit ref. 1162xx Rolex Datejust watches run on the same COSC-certified Caliber 3135 automatic movement. This well known Rolex in-house movement operates at a rate of 28,800 beats per hour and provides 48 hours of power reserve.
But it’s important to note that in 2015, Rolex redefined what it means to have the familiar “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” label on the dial. All Rolex watches made since 2015 now boast an impressive accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day and come with a boosted five-year warranty over the previous two-year one.
To sum it up, the five-digit two tone Datejust ref. 162xx models and the subsequent six-digit two tone Datejust ref. 1162xx watches are similar in style and mechanics. However, the previous generation has options like lug holes and tritium on earlier examples, while the latter models include heavier solid bracelets.