Rolex Datejust – Classic Timepiece
There are certain features that are common in wristwatches today that we often take for granted without considering that these features were once groundbreaking innovations in timekeeping.
The Rolex Datejust is an example of that; it was the very first wristwatch on the market by any manufacturer to offer the date. Today, this is a common feature that’s found on many, if not the majority, of wristwatches, but when it was first introduced in 1945, it was considered revolutionary.
Since the model has been quite popular since its initial introduction, Rolex has kept it available, albeit with some styling changes, some technical improvements and added models. The Rolex Datejust was originally available in men’s models only, but the current model includes women’s models, as well.
Read on for the full Rolex Datejust watches review.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the build quality is exceptional. That’s not model-specific, of course; the company simply builds rugged, durable timepieces that are made to last a very long time. Cases are available in stainless steel, combinations of steel and gold, and all gold.
All models of this watch are water resistant to 100 meters. While they’re not sports or diving watches, per se, they can be worn around water without too much concern on the part of the wearer.
As with the entire current line of products the company offers, you’ll find a Swiss-made automatic mechanical movement under the hood. These are highly regarded, highly accurate works that have been refined over the more than half century since the model was first introduced. They require a bit of maintenance and should be worn regularly for optimum performance.
The primary innovation is the feature inspired by its name – the Rolex Datejust displays the date, and was the first model offered for sale anywhere that does so. That may not seem like a big deal, but the mechanism is actually rather complex, and more so when it has to be shoehorned into a case that is already full with a timekeeping movement.
Later developments included refinement of the movement, the introduction of models for women, and the addition on some models of a rotating bezel that made it easy to track elapsed time. Test pilot Chuck Yeager famously wore one on his 1947 flight which was the first to break the speed of sound.
While originally a watch designed exclusively for men, this model now offers models mostly for women. It’s part of the company’s Oyster Perpetual line and comes in a number of variations.
Cases are offered in stainless steel, yellow gold, and a combination of stainless steel with white, yellow or rose gold. Some models are available with diamonds around the bezel or with mother of pearl on the face.
Displays are all analog, of course, as the watch features an automatic movement, and of course, all models offer the date as well as the time. You also have a choice of bezel style and a number of different colors for the face. Bands are mostly either gold or silver in color; we’re not aware of any model of the watch that is sold with a leather band.
As the Rolex Datejust features a complex mechanical movement, occasional regular maintenance is necessary. The company recommends that you send the timepiece back to them every five years or so for regular maintenance. This will involve disassembly and examination of the movement for worn parts, which will be replaced. The watch will then be reassembled with new seals, lubricated, pressure tested and subjected to tests to ensure timekeeping accuracy.
Then it will be cleaned and polished and it should come back to you working perfectly and looking like it did the day you bought it. Aside from this, your watch should be worn regularly to keep it working properly or stored in a watch winder to keep it running and displaying the correct time.
You should store it away from extremes of temperature, keep it away from magnetic fields and caustic chemicals. If you’re wearing the watch in or near salt water, you should rinse it carefully with tap water and dry it with a soft cloth afterwards.
The watch is sold with the company’s standard warranty of two years against defects in craftsmanship and materials. This is about the industry average, but true factory defects are quite rare and should they occur, you’ll likely find them well within the warranty period. If you send your watch back to the company for scheduled service, the warranty will be extended at that time for an additional two years.
As with the rest of the company’s product line, the prices range from expensive to very expensive, depending on the materials used. All stainless steel models start at about $7000 while all gold models with diamonds can sell for $30,000 or more.
There are a number of variations in between, so be sure to inquire with your dealer about pricing options. As you might expect, collectors are particularly fond of this model and prices for vintage models can be surprisingly high, depending on age, materials and features.
We can’t recommend buying for investment purposes, but you might be surprised to find that the watch you buy today may be worth about what you paid for it a few decades from now.
Like many makers of luxury timepieces, Rolex strictly controls both pricing and distribution of their products, preferring to sell them through a small number of authorized dealers. These are almost always high end jewelers; you’re not likely to find this model for sale in a department store. Because of this it can be difficult, but not impossible, to buy online at a discount. A very few online retailers carry the brand for sale.
The Rolex Datejust is an iconic timepiece and makes a great fashion statement. They look just as good today as they did in 1945 and they run even better, thanks to improvements in the internal movement. With many styling variations and legendary build quality, you’ll find that buying a Rolex Datejust is probably a wise decision and your watch should work well and look great for decades to come.