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One of the most affordable ways to wear a women’s Rolex watch with a date window, the stainless steel ladies’ Date watch is one worth taking a closer look at. But what is the stainless steel ladies’ Date watch you ask? Read on to find out.
First of all, to clear thing up, the ladies’ Date watch is not the same thing as the Lady-Datejust. Although very similar, the ladies’ Date is a completely separate collection and you’ll notice on the dial it carries the “DATE” label rather than the “DATEJUST” label.
Like other metal versions, the stainless steel ladies’ Date watch sports a 26mm round Oyster case. And just like other Rolex dress watches, this Oyster case is famously water resistant to 100 meters, or 330 feet. This is thanks in part to the screw down caseback and the screw-down winding crown.
As the official name of the watch implies, the stainless steel ladies’ Date timepiece naturally includes a date window and like all Rolex watches, it’s positioned at 3 o’clock. Sitting directly on top of the aperture is the equally-famous Cyclops magnification lens affixed to the crystal, charged to enlarge the date number by 2.5x to increase readability—particularly practical on smaller watches like the ladies’ Date.
Finally, powering the line of ladies’ Date watches is an automatic mechanical movement. This is a refreshing trait indeed, as most luxury women’s watches from other brands run on quartz movements.
Rolex has this great way of sticking to core design traits so that each of their watches is instantly recognizable, yet the brand still manages to offer plenty of diversity and choices with each model. And the stainless steel ladies’ Date watch is no exception. Take the bezels for example; there are the sleek domed bezels, the intriguing engine-turned bezels, and the fancier white gold fluted bezels. Plus, for bracelets, you can go sporty with the Oyster bracelet constructed of flatter links or dressier with the Jubilee bracelet with curvier links. Furthermore, the dial options are plentiful with different colors and index styles to choose from.
Unsurprisingly, Rolex continuously enhanced the stainless steel ladies’ Date lineup throughout its history, equipping the watches with improved movements and design elements. For instance, the Date ref. 65xx models from the 1960s to mid-1970s and the Date ref. 69xx from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s include non-quickset movements (where the date wheel is linked to the center hour and minute hands) and acrylic crystals.
These were then replaced by the stainless steel Date ref. 69xxx watches, which boasted both the modern scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and the super practical quickset Caliber 2135 movement where the date window could now be adjusted independently from the time.
The last major change to the stainless steel Date collection came in the late-1990s with the introduction of the improved Caliber 2235 movement, fitted into the new Date ref. 79xxx watches. Rolex continued to manufacture this particular generation of ladies’ stainless steel Date timepieces until the entire model was shelved in the mid-2000s.
Since the 26mm stainless steel ladies’ Date watch is no longer in production, they must be sourced from the secondary market. And lucky for ladies who love Rolex watches, their prices are appealing indeed. In fact, you can get your hands on a vintage steel Date ref. 6516 watch for as low as $1,700! That is a small price to pay for a Rolex dress watch you can enjoy everyday—and bonus points for rocking a vintage Rolex watch too.
On the higher end of the price scale, a pre-owned Date ref. 79240 with an 18k white gold bezel from the 2000s will set you back about $3,600. That’s less than half of what you’d pay for a new Lady-Datejust 28 with a white gold bezel at full retail—talk about a great deal!
So, if you’re in the market for a stainless steel women’s Rolex dress watch that won’t break the bank, the Date collection offers plenty of solid options.