While nowhere near the sheer scale of variety you would find in the mechanical ranges of either watch, there are still several distinct references in the Oysterquartz series.
Starting with the all-steel Datejust, the ref. 17000, each watch was supplied with a polished, smooth bezel and the earliest pieces came in a choice of silver, blue or black dials. This first generation is sometimes known as ‘pre-COSC’, as Rolex did not initially put any of their new quartz movements forward for certification by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute and so could not include the standard Superlative Chronometer Officially Certifiedtext on their dial. The alternative nickname of ‘three liners’ also refers to the missing wording on these watches.
It was about 18 months into the run, after Rolex had altered the quartz crystal to resemble the shape of a tuning fork, that they submitted them for testing, and these ‘post-COSC’ dials were available in a wider array of colors with, of course, the extra line of writing.
There was only one diamond dial for the ref. 17000, on a slate grey example.
The steel Datejust was also the only one fitted with the Oyster bracelet, in its unique integrated style, and unusually it, and all the quartz models, carry the same reference number as the watch itself. You can find it stamped underneath near the case back.
The ref. 17013 and ref. 17014, the yellow and white Rolesor Datejusts, were given Rolex’s emblematic fluted bezels in their respective golds, and the precious metal was carried over onto the center links of the Jubilee bracelets fitted to both.
Again, these were given a broader choice of dial colors following COSC certification, and the ref. 17013 actually had two different types of diamond hour marker dials—one smooth and the other textured. The white Rolesor example had the same single grey option with gemstone indexes as the steel watch.
As for the Day-Date, that had a total of 11 different references, some relatively easy to find, others unbelievably rare.
The 18k yellow gold (ref. 19018) and white gold (ref. 19019) models were released at the same time as the first of the Datejusts, each on their own variant of the President bracelets, which featured both brushed and polished surfaces. The day disc was offered in a choice of 20 languages and it and the date display came with either white or gold backgrounds, depending on the dial.
The dials themselves covered the whole spectrum, both in color as well as in detailing. Hour markers were either simple stick batons or Arabic or Roman numerals.
Out of all the Day-Dates, it is the yellow gold ref. 19018 which is most prevalent on the pre-owned market.
Two styling versions that are peculiar to the Oysterquartz President, as in, never an option on its mechanical counterpart, are the ref. 19028 and ref. 19038. On these, the center of the bracelets have been fitted with eight tiny pyramids per link, an element continued onto the circumference of the bezel. Some also had pyramid hour markers, and the ref. 19038 was further enhanced with diamond additions, either on the indexes or set into the surround.
Later on into the run, the ref. 19048 and ref. 19049 were included in the range. Essentially the same as the standard yellow and white gold models, they included bezels with a total of 44 brilliant cut diamonds.
The remaining five references of the Oysterquartz Day-Date are by far the rarest, and definitely the most blinged up.
The ref. 19058 has a bezel made up of curved baguette-cut diamonds, rubies or sapphires and was released with some spectacularly iced dials.
The ref. 19068 has the same pyramid detailing as the yellow gold ref. 19028, but this time with a completely diamond drenched surround.
One model so rare it really only exists as a rumor, the ref. 19078, had a flamboyant multicolored gem bezel much as we saw most recently on the Daytona Rainbow, again on a pyramid bracelet.
The ref. 19148 is the same as the ref. 19048, but replaces the pyramids on the bracelet with 12 diamonds per link, making 300 in total. The bezel and case were also heavily infused with the precious stones.
And finally, the ref. 19168 was similarly extravagant and had a unique bracelet, sometimes known as the Octopus, with enough unorthodox sprinkling of gems across its surface to make Elvis blush. Only in production for a very short time at the end of the 80s, it would be easier to find a unicorn for sale.