The Rolex Datejust is a substantial character and in a league on its own. Yet, a short blink and you might just miss the opportunity to grow to love it more. One of the most versatile watches to own, the Datejust, created in 1945, holds a milestone in watchmaking history as it was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to feature a window displaying the date. The Cyclops lens—named after the one-eyed giant in Greek mythology—was first introduced in 1950 on the Datejust model, magnifying the date and making it easier to read. With the lens strategically placed in the window at the 3 o’clock marker on the dial, it is by far one of Rolex’s most recognisable features.
But what makes the Rolex Datejust so iconic? Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf believed that watchmaking should encourage human progress. That’s what the Swiss brand has been and is still doing up to this day. The Datejust has seen many changes throughout time. This year, we’re seeing case sizes being available in 31, 36, and 41 mm in diameter; with fluted and plain bezels along the Jubilee or Oyster bracelets, or a President bracelet on precious metal versions. In 1945, for Rolex’s 40th anniversary, the brand celebrated the creation of the Jubilee bracelet. The five-piece link metal bracelet hugs your wrist with ease and is fitted with an invisible Crownsclasp or an Oysterclasp—another distinguishable feature from the Datejust identity.
The Datejust sees you from morning until night with its three-hand perfection. Though it doesn’t do the complicated functions of chronographs and GMTs like its siblings, one could say the Datejust is the backbone of the Rolex inventory. The infinite faces and large selection of dials contributes to the reason why. It has the most varied combinations of all Rolex watches; choose from a piece either set with diamonds, made from mother-of-pearl, adorned with palm or fluted motifs, or one with a sunray finish. Materials, colours, motifs, and different hour markers (in either index, Roman, or Arabic numerals) will give the wearer a different feeling, yet they all hold that same Rolex perpetual perfection. One can never forget the fluted bezel crafted from 18 ct yellow, white, or Everose gold, as it is most well known when it comes to pairing with the Datejust. If not, you’ll also find the options of smooth, domed or set with diamond bezels to reflect the personality of the wearer.
The middle case is crafted with Oystersteel, a strong corrosion-resistant alloy or 18 ct gold. Meanwhile, the case back is screwed down with a special tool where only Rolex watchmakers are able to access the movement. For its Twinlock winding crown, a double waterproof system is fitted and screwed securely against the case to have it completely waterproof.
Behind the aesthetics of the Datejust, the watch is fitted with calibre 2236 (Datejust 31) or calibre 3235 (Datejust 36 and Datejust 41), self-winding mechanical movements entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. To achieve its precision, the oscillator of calibre 2236 and calibre 3235 carries a balance wheel with variable inertia regulated to an extremely precise degree via gold Microstella nuts where the oscillator sits nicely on patented high performance Praflex shock absorbers. The Calibre 3235 features an optimized version of the blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. Both hairsprings are resistant to strong magnetic fields and strong stability in various weather conditions. Calibre 2236 offers a power reserve of approximately 55 hours, while Calibre 3235 holds up to approximately 70 hours.