First launched in 1945 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Rolex, the Datejust was the first self-winding waterproof wristwatch to have a date display window as part of the dial. This was a significant turning point in watchmaking history as it revolutionized the wristwatch date display – hence its fitting name, the Datejust. This feature set an exciting new standard for all watches, making it much easier and more convenient for wearers to read both the time and the date at a quick glance. Dubbed by Rolex itself as the “classic watch of reference”, the iconic Datejust has evolved quite a bit since it was first released – with both design and mechanical upgrades over the years.
There is also a collection of Lady-Datejust watches, designed as “the classic feminine watch”. The Lady-Datejust collection was created at the same time as the Datejust collection in 1945, although it wasn’t unveiled 12 years later in 1957. With a smaller dial of 28mm, and various materials, dial colors, bezel and bracelet options, and adornments to choose from – these timepieces were designed with the elegant lady in mind.
Aside from the Datejust and Lady-Datejust collections, there are also the Midsize Datejust, Datejust OysterQuartz, and Datejust Turn-O-Graph “Thunderbird” variations. The Midsize Datejust has a 31mm case – the perfect in-between size between the 28mm Lady-Datejust and the smallest 34mm Datejust. The OysterQuartz is a special Rolex collection that uses a quartz movement to power the watches. The OysterQuartz was first introduced in 1976 and took 5 years to develop. This revolutionary new movement significantly increased the precision of watches from before – representing a future that Rolex believed in at the time. Today, Rolex OysterQuartz watches are rare and hard to find, as their production lasted only 25 years and only about 25,000 watches were made with this movement – in the Datejust and Day-Date collections only. The first Rolex Turn-O-Graph watch was introduced in 1953 and was Rolex’s first ever watch with a rotating bezel. When the Submariner was introduced a year later, the Turn-O-Graph (TOG) was given some significant upgrades and became part of the Datejust family. Later, the TOG watch was sponsored for the entire US Air Force Thunderbird pilots squadron, and from thereon after the TOG became aptly nicknamed the Thunderbird.
As the extensive history of the Rolex Datejust history dates back over 75 years, and includes several different subcategories, there are quite a few reference numbers for this classic collection. The Datejust reference numbers are as follows:
Datejust: 166201, 116244, 116243, 116238, 116234, 116233, 116231, 116208, 116203, 116201, 116200, 116199, 116189, 116188, 116139, 116138, 17014, 17013, 17000, 16364, 16250, 16248, 16238, 16234, 16233, 16220, 16203, 16200, 16078, 16030, 16018, 16014, 16013, 16000, 6827, 6605, 6604, 6518, 6305, 1630, 1607, 1603, 1601, 1600
Lady-Datejust: 197173, 179459, 179368, 179313, 179298, 179239, 179179, 179178, 179175, 179174, 179173, 179171, 179168, 179166, 179165, 179163, 179161, 179160, 179159, 179158, 179138, 179136, 80359, 80329, 80328, 80319, 80318, 80309, 80299, 80298, 79288, 79238, 79179, 79178, 79174, 79173, 79168, 79166, 79163, 79159, 79158, 79138, 79136, 79126, 79089, 79088, 79079, 79078, 79068, 69278, 69190, 69179, 69178, 69174, 69173, 69163, 69160, 69136, 6927, 6917, 6916, 6517
Midsize Datejust: 178383, 178313, 178288, 178286, 178279, 178278, 178275, 178274, 178273, 178269, 178248, 178246, 178245, 178243, 178240, 178239, 178238, 178159, 178158, 81339, 81338, 81308, 81209, 81208, 81158, 78288, 78286, 78279, 78278, 78274, 78273, 78266, 78248, 78246, 78243, 78240, 77438, 77080, 77014, 68278, 68274, 68273, 68248, 68243, 68240, 17824, 7518, 6824
Datejust OysterQuartz: 17014, 17013, 17000
Datejust Turn-O-Graph “Thunderbird”: 116264, 116263, 116261, 16268, 16264, 16263, 16253, 6309, 1625
Public Figures with the Rolex Datejust
With its timeless elegant aesthetics, the Datejust is a popular watch of choice for many celebrities. Some notable figures – both past and present – who have been seen wearing the Datejust include actors Daniel Craig, Aaron Paul, and Jennifer Aniston, pro athletes David Beckham and Roger Federer, and musician Bono from the band U2. Historically, many former American presidents including Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan wore the Datejust, as well as former British prime minister Winston Churchill, and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Along with the recently released 2020 Rolex lineup came an array of new Datejust models. The 5 new additions are Datejust 31 models (31mm size), 4 of which are made in white Rolesor (a signature Rolex combination of gold and steel) and 1 of which is all stainless steel. The new models come with sunray finished dials in exciting new colors including aubergine (royal purple), mint green, white, light pink, and dark grey. All the Datejust 31 models come equipped with the calibre 2236 movement and a 55 hour power reserve, and can come with different bezel options – fluted or diamond-set, and bracelet options – Oyster or jubilee.
While the lineup of new Datejust are all of the midsize 31mm case, the Datejust collection as a whole includes various different sizes. Datejust case sizes range from 28mm at the smallest with the Lady-Datejust collection, to the midsize 31mm, the 34mm, 36mm, and the largest 41mm.There are a variety of colors and finishes to choose from as well. Dial colors vary from classic selections of silver, black, blue, slate green, to more distinctive options of champagne, chocolate, Sundust, and white mother of pearl. One particular model even features a malachite dial, made of the stunning green ornamental stone. Bracelets come in two different styles – Oyster and Jubilee – and are available in platinum silver, yellow gold, white gold, and Everose gold, as well as several two-tone combinations. Adding to the timeless elegance of the Datejust is a variety of bezel styles including smooth, fluted, and gem-set. Perfectly blending attractive aesthetics with innovative functionality, the Datejust has evolved over the years to become the ideal everyday watch.
FAQs about the Datejust
Q: How to wind a Rolex Datejust
A: To wind a Rolex Datejust watch manually, completely unscrew the winding crown, and then turn the crown clockwise several times – a minimum of 25 turns in order to be adequately winded. After doing this, the watch automatically wind as long as it is worn on the wrist daily. Once a Datejust watch is taken off and set aside, it can retain its charge for up to 70 hours – depending on the particular model.
Q: How much is a Rolex Datejust?
A: Like any Rolex watch, determining the value of the Rolex Datejust depends on several factors. Determining factors include the age of the watch, the particular model, the exclusivity of the model, the materials used, the condition of the watch, the bezel and bracelet styles, any diamond additions or other adornments, to name a few. For example, the price for the Datejust 41 ref. 126334 ranges from $6,300 with the steel bezel and from $9,350 with the 18K white gold bezel – to show how much prices can vary for the same model of a watch, just with different bezel materials. Prices will also vary based on the dial, bracelet, and diamond choices, as well as how rare a certain watch is to find.
Q: How many links does a Rolex Datejust have?
A: A standard bracelet on a Rolex watch typically has 12 links, excluding the easylink inside the clasp that can look like half a link. When the easylink is unlocked it gives the bracelet a couple millimeters more in length.