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Just Perfect – The Rolex Datejust

Posted: 08/08/2019

Just Perfect – The Rolex Datejust

If you stopped anybody in the street and asked him or her to name a luxury watch brand they’d almost certainly say “Rolex”. In fact, they might even give this answer if you asked for the name of a general luxury brand. Rolex has its own unique position in the world and the yellow coronet is unavoidable whether you’re watching the tennis, golf or Formula 1. And it’s not just about the Daytona and Submariner, the most popular watch is a much more humble and yet no less important member of the family – the Datejust.

The Survivor

We’ve already taken a look at the Oyster case here, but it is a key component to the now legendary Datejust. The first Oyster cases came in the form of the ‘Bubbleback’ watches, which were very popular time-only watches in the 1930s. Never one to stand still, however, in 1945 Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf added a date aperture to his now famous Oyster watch in the guise of the Datejust and it was an instant success. It was actually the very first watch to feature the date window and was lauded as a big innovation in the horological world. Since 1945 the Datejust has been a constant in the Rolex catalogue – that’s an uninterrupted run of 74 years! And it is showing no sign of slowing down.

Just Innovation

The Datejust was a very expensive watch when it was launched and for a number of years following its release. The first watches were all in 18kt gold, but this wasn’t the only reason for the high retail cost. The watch utilised a number of very innovative new features that were costly to manufacture. The most important was the date-change mechanism. The beauty of the Datejust is that the date changes ‘just’ as the watch ticks over midnight. This doesn’t sound very impressive, but at the time it was a technical marvel. In fact, even as late as the end of the 1970s and early 1980s, other brands still utilised ‘slow change’ date complications, that gradually changed over the period of a couple of hours.

The Datejust was also the first watch to feature a magnifying bubble over the date, which in Rolex parlance is called the ‘cyclops’. Again, adding this feature to a watch glass was not an easy feat in the 1940s without compromising the Oyster case’s waterproofness. However, by 1953 Wilsdorf’s team had developed the technology enough to enable Datejusts to wear the cyclops. The Datejust was also the first watch to be fitted with the Jubilee bracelet, which was launched at the same time as the Datejust in 1945 to celebrate 40 years of the company (Wilsdorf and Davis was founded in 1905 and Rolex in 1920). The name Jubilee was a fitting name for the milestone in the company.

Just For Everybody

As you would imagine over 74 years, the Datejust has been made in almost countless variations and styles. The proportions of its classic 36mm Oyster case has been interpreted in a number of sizes during its tenure in the Rolex catalogue and can now even be bought in a larger size than the Submariner, the Datejust 41,  and in mid-size with the Datejust 31.   With its automatic movement, easy to read dial layout and waterproof case it can be worn for all occasions whether on the beach or in the boardroom. Whether you want one in all steel or two tone Rolesor (yellow, white or rose gold) there is a Datejust for you. Clean, simple dial? Yes. Precious stone and diamonds? Of course!

We always carry a comprehensive selection of Datejusts at our Pillory Street shop in Nantwich. Please call in to see our selection of Datejusts on Oyster or Jubilee bracelets and with a range of fabulous dials – we’ll find the perfect watch for you!

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