With such famous siblings such as the Datejust, the Day-Date, the Submariner, and the Daytona, the Rolex Date is oftentimes overlooked. However, we’re here to highlight this understated and affordable Rolex watch. Featuring the famed waterproof Oyster case, a date window on the dial, and an automatic movement within, the Rolex Date has plenty to offer and a range of price points. Read on to discover more.
The Rolex Date and the Rolex Datejust are often confused with each other due to their similar names and functionality. However, the major difference between the two Rolex dress watches is that the largest Date is smaller than the largest Datejust. Top tip, a quick way to differentiate them is to look at the dial where it’ll display either the DATE label or the DATEJUST label.
Rolex has made three different sizes of the Date watch. Historically, there’s been the men’s 34mm, the midsize 31mm, and the ladies’ 26mm. However, while all these sizes are of course available in the secondary market, today there’s only one size of the Rolex Date currently offered by the brand and that’s 34mm.
Similar to most Rolex watch collections, the Date was made available in a wide assortment of materials and style variations. There are full stainless steel Date models, stainless steel and white gold versions, two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel editions, and even full yellow gold ones. Then, there are the fluted bezels, the smooth bezels, and the engine turned bezels. Plus, you can find plenty of Rolex Date watches with after-market custom diamond bezels too.
As its name implies, all Date watches come with a date window on the dial at 3 o’clock, which means they all have the Cyclops magnification lens too. Depending on the era, there are Rolex Date watches with acrylic crystals and some with sapphire crystals. In true Rolex fashion, there’s a huge variety of dial options in different colors, patterns, and with many different index styles too. Typical of Rolex dress watches, there are Date watches with Jubilee bracelets or Oyster bracelets. However, wearing them on a custom leather strap looks fantastic too.
While the pre-owned market offers plenty of different styles of the Rolex Date, in the brand’s current catalog there are only full stainless steel and stainless steel with a white gold bezel models available.
A big draw of the Rolex Date is its (relative) affordability, making it a great starter luxury watch for men and women. Depending on size, materials, and condition, prices of the Rolex Date in the secondary market can start as low as $1,700 for a stainless steel ladies’ model and top out at about $10,000 for a full yellow gold with diamonds version. Sometimes it pays to look at less well-known Rolex models!
For those who enjoy smaller sized luxury watches or want to start building their Rolex collection, the Rolex Date is a fantastic choice. Boasting characteristic Rolex designs and solid mechanics and practicality, the Date offers plenty of watch without the hefty price tag.
The Oyster Perpetual Collection has a long and distinguished heritage stretching back to the original Oyster model invented and patented by Rolex in 1926. It was the first waterproof wristwatch in the world and it led the way to increasingly sophisticated developments in functionality. Over the years, the Oyster became the proud bearer of many other innovations.
The Oyster Perpetual Date, first launched in the late 1950s, was one of the first watches to display the date in a window at 3 o’clock on the dial, fulfilling Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf’s dreams of producing timepieces that were not only beautiful to look at but were also highly useful and functional. Housed in the legendary Rolex Oyster case, the Date is 34 mm in diameter and is water resistant to 100 meters (330 feet).
Another distinguishing feature of the Rolex Date from the 1960s is the plastic crystal used, and a 26 jewel movement. The movements are either the 1565 or 1575, automatic. Available on either Oyster or jubilee bracelets.
All models such as the 1500, 1501, 1503, 1507 are non quick-set dates, ie, you have to turn the crown winding the hands round 24 hours before a date change takes place. From 1983 forward, some changes had taken place with the plastic crystal still in place, the jewel count had been upped to 27 from 26 due to the use of the new calibre 3035. The size of the case and lug width all stay the same. The biggest change in these later references of the Rolex Date is the implementation of the Quick-Set feature, meaning you can adjust the date once the crown is in position 2.
2014 sees the introduction of the all new Oyster Perpetual line which replaces the old Oyster Perpetual range and the Air-King models. The new refreshed models all feature the new case and bracelet in 904L steel new colored dials and a choice of two bezels. Up-to-date, modern and simple.
|1950s||Beginning of the life of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date, one of the first watches with a date window at the 3 o’clock position|
|1960||Introduction of the Reference 1500 featuring a smooth bezel and in stainless steel. Non Quick-set date.|
|1983||New calibre in the refreshed Rolex Date, the 3035. Also introduction of new Quick-set date feature.|
|1989||Sees the end of the Rolex perpetual Date until 2014.|
|2014||Introduction of the Reference 115200, 34 mm Oyster Perpetual Date, only available in 904L Steel.|