Happy Birthday Mr. President
Rolex Day-Date Story
Ever wonder about the story of your favorite Rolex? Well, stick with us. Let’s turn to a top watch that defines the Rolex brand, the Rolex Day-Date President. The Rolex Day-Date story is a bit ironic. On one hand, it’s certainly a luxurious watch with its precious metal case and bracelet, ironic water resistant traits, and chronometer certification.
The Most Unique Timepiece
On the other hand, it’s undoubtedly the most customized watch ever produced. Factory and aftermarket dial variations abound. Diamond bezels were available right from the start. However, today jeweled bezels are available with every precious gemstone you can imagine. These include diamond, colored stone, or any combination thereof. It is possible to have a unique President that no one else on the planet is wearing.
In The Beginning
The Rolex Day-Date story began in 1956 as a last attempt at a somewhat complicated watch. Earlier attempts at complication, e.g. a moon phase, sat unwanted on dealers’ shelves. Interestingly, the Day-Date was a hit with its display of the fully spelled out day in an arcing window at 12 o’clock.
Rolex introduced hacking in 1972. This convenient feature allowed owners to synchronize their watches with a known accurate time source and take full advantage of that chronometer-level accuracy.
Subsequently, the first “quick-set” feature for President watches came along in the late 1970s. This new feature replaced the need to twirl the hands innumerable times just to get the day and date to line up. This coincided with the introduction of a sapphire crystal, which replaced the old plastic crystal. In fact, this new modification increased durability with scratch resistance and water resistance from 165 ft (50m) to 330 ft (100m).
Double-quick set watches appeared in 1990. These Day-Dates allowed even quicker resetting of day and date at the end of most months.
Rolex introduced the Day-Date II in 2008. Similar to the Datejust II, the 41mm Day-Date II is a larger watch than its older 36mm brother. In keeping with modern style trends, much of that additional real estate comes in the form of a wider bezel.
The Day-Date Masterpiece is a 39mm version of the Day-Date. The Masterpiece is available in gold or platinum. It features a diamond bezel and unique dials of mother of pearl, meteorite, and unique colors not used in other Rolex models. The bracelets are unique to the Masterpiece collection. They manufactured these in one, two, or three-color combinations of gold and platinum.
The President is Born
So now you know about the first part of the Rolex Day-Date story. But back to the question we alluded to early on. How did the Day-Date come to be known as the President? Well, Rolex reportedly gave one to President Dwight Eisenhower. But this watch has never surfaced. As we’ve discussed here before, Ike wore a yellow gold Datejust, which Rolex gave him in 1951.
Also, Marilyn Monroe famously, but unverifiably, gave President Kennedy a Day-Date the year before his death. The watch exists, but no one has ever been able to tie it to either Kennedy or Monroe. In fact, the serial number on the watch in question apparently places its manufacture two years after the deaths of Monroe and Kennedy.
It is well-known that Lyndon B. Johnson wore a Day-Date. Also, other world leaders have worn the watch. Rolex has called the familiar three-section link bracelet the President bracelet. However, they only referred to the watch as “The Rolex President” one time in a 1984 ad featuring sports agent extraordinaire, Mark McCormack. Thus, the Day-Date became The President.