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The beauty of studying and writing about a subject as rich in history as Rolex is that there is always something new to discover. Yes, this mega Swiss luxury brand has produced countless ultra famous watches like the Submariner, the Daytona, and the President that need no introduction. But tucked away in their past are some not so famous models that are fun to unearth and learn about. If, like me, you weren’t that familiar with the Rolex Oysterdate Precision watch, read on and perhaps you’ll learn a thing or two like I did.
The history of the Rolex Oysterdate Precision watch dates back to 1950. They sport 34mm Oyster cases, which means Rolex built them with water resistance in mind. Rolex, after all, did invent the first water resistant watch in 1926 — a feat they continue to build upon even today.
Very early models of the Oysterdate Precision from the 1950s include ref. 6094, ref. 6294, and ref. 6494. These references often have sword style hands, roulette date wheels (where the dates alternate between black and red) and the first two references didn’t have the Cyclops magnification lens.
However, the most ubiquitous Oysterdate Precision is the ref. 6694. Rolex produced the Oysterdate Precision ref. 6694 from about 1958 to the late 1980s. The Oysterdate 6694 has a 34mm stainless steel case, domed bezel, and typically comes with a steel Oyster bracelet.
While most watches run on the (automatic) Rolex Perpetual movement, the Oysterdate ref. 6694, like its predecessors, is in fact, a manual-wound watch. Beating at the heart of the timepiece is the Rolex Caliber 1225 manual-wound mechanical movement. It operates at 21,600 beats per hour and has 17 jewels.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Cal. 1225 is not chronometer-certified, hence the “PRECISION” label on the dial rather than the “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” text. However, despite the lack of the chronometer certification, the hand-wound vintage Oysterdate Precision ref. 6694 still keeps great time. I’d expect nothing less from Rolex!
The Cal. 1225 of the Rolex Oysterdate Precision ref. 6694 does not have the quickset date function. This means that to change the date on the window at 3 o’clock, the center hands must be turned accordingly until the correct date shows up. Magnifying the date is the famous Cyclops lens that sits on the thick acrylic crystal protecting the face of the watch.
Given its classic Rolex looks and topnotch quality coupled with its very attractive price point, the Oysterdate Precision is a fantastic entry-level Rolex watch. Average price for an Oysterdate Precision ref. 6694 hovers around $2,500.
Not only are there several dial colors to choose from but there are also some index and hands variations. Plus, because of the presence of drilled lug holes, it’s easy to switch out the straps on the Oysterdate for a whole new look. It’s a Rolex that is as versatile as you want it to be.
So if you’re into vintage Rolex watches that are a little different from the rest, then give the manual-wound Oysterdate Precision a look. The beauty and appeal of this refined and classic luxury dress watch may just surprise you.