Why The Datejust is a Great Choice
There is a strong case for calling the Datejust the most important watch Rolex has ever produced. It is also far from an outrageous statement to call it one of the most important watches created by any manufacturer in the last hundred years.
It’s a design that has gone from revolutionary on its release to become the archetype against which all other timepieces are measured. The Datejust has had the longest unbroken production run of any of the brand’s core offerings.
In The Beginning
Launched to celebrate Rolex’s 40thanniversary, still in the early days of the wristwatch and an era of three-hand, time only simplicity, it was the Datejust that changed the horology landscape. In fact, it was the first watch ever to display the date on the dial. Rolex coupled it with their innovative self-winding Perpetual movement. Then they housed it all in their proprietary waterproof Oyster case. Everything we now take for granted had to start somewhere, and it started with the Datejust.
It is now comfortably into its eighth decade and the absolute elder statesman of the Rolex range. But it’s one one that remains as relevant as ever through the sheer scope of its variety. If you can’t find a Datejust model that appeals to your own particular tastes, style, or personality, you probably aren’t looking hard enough.
The pioneering ingredients that went into the watch have formed the basis for every Rolex model that has followed. The emblematic pieces such as the Submariner, the Explorer, the GMT-Master, etc. all owe at least part of their makeup to the Datejust. But unlike those tool watches, the Datejust was not created to fulfill a particular role or aimed at a specific occupation. It was designed to be all things to all people. Its the only watch you would ever need because it could fit in in any company and match with any occasion.
Worn by Global Leaders
Throughout its long life, it has been worn by the great and the good, presidents and prime ministers, musical icons and sports legends, all the while retaining its classic shape. The epitome of simple elegance, stand the first of the breed up next to its latest iteration, and you will see nothing but a very gentle evolution at work.
Rolex got the Datejust right from the get-go and have done, or needed to do, very little on the outward styling ever since. On the inside however, it has more often that not acted as a test bed for the brand’s seemingly endless list of inventions. Upgraded technology has usually found a home in the Datejust first, before being rolled out across the fleet.
It is the piece no serious Rolex fan’s collection is complete without. And, at the same time can be that one ‘good’ watch to serve you well no matter the circumstances.
Below, we detail why there is very little out there that can compete with the Datejust.
Buying membership into the Datejust family is really a question of asking yourself how much you want to spend, because you will be able to find an example at just about every price point.
For a watch that has been setting the standard for more than 70 years, a groundbreaker that transformed the wristwatch as we know it, you can wear a piece of all that heritage for an outlay of around $3,000.
With that you will be able secure yourself a beautiful vintage steel example, with one of the apparently infinite choices of dial, on either the utilitarian refinement of the Oyster bracelet, or with the one designed specifically for the Datejust, the intricate five-link Jubilee.
Spend just a little more and you can have the watch that screams Rolex perhaps more than any other, a Rolesor Datejust model made with a blend of steel and yellow gold. Although the brand patented the name in 1933, it wasn’t until the late 40s that they brought out their first watch in the two-tone design; and the piece they chose to trial it on first was, of course, the Datejust. Today, a Rolesor version of the model is as recognizably Rolex as the five-pointed coronet or their trademark green.
At the other end of the scale, you