In 1956 Rolex introduced the Day-Date and its doing ensured its relevance for perpetuity. The release of the Day-Date was as magnificent as it was bewildering to its fans, some still attempting to embrace the reference 8171 “Padellone” that had just ceased production and the charm of the newer reference 6062 at the same time. The Day-Date brought about an era that celebrated luxury and elegance, and it joined the 6062 to show the world that Rolex could do luxury watches just as well as it did tool watches. The novelty behind the Day-Date was its capability of displaying both the day and the date, and to add an additional degree of luxury the watch was only to be cased in precious metals such as gold and platinum. Note: handful of examples in steel were made for special Rolex clients.
The Day-Date put Rolex in an unbeatable path through brilliant manufacture practices and forward thinking advertising. Early Day-Date adverts remain as cool today as they were back then. The fact that the Day-Date would go on to become President Lyndon B. Johnson’s go-to watch played right into Rolex’s brilliant marketing plan. Through unofficial spokesmen the Day-Date snowballed into success and Rolex into a household name. Now that modern times have rolled in and symbolic references have ceased production the Day-Date continues to be an intrinsic symbol of elegance, power, and distinction. In our collection are some of the most beautiful and rare Day-Dates available to the public. Read on to learn more about the Rolex Day-Date.
Rolex Day-Date 6611B
Following the reference 6611B came an equally as beautiful model, the Day-Date 6612 (see ours pictured) Along with a re-designed watch came two additional novelties: a smooth bezel and a slightly better movement. Our Day-Date 6612B from 1959 is put together by an 18K yellow gold oyster rivet band, which is an incredibly rare detail as Day-Dates were sold with jubilee bands, very select few were sold with gold oyster rivets.
Rolex Day-Date 1803
The reference 1803 came out in 1961 with an array of details that earned it a decades long production period. The first three references allowed Rolex to make changes and technological advances, which eased in the design and launch of the Day-Date 1803. This was the model that became a staple on the wrists of the worlds most powerful men. With the reference 1803 the Day-Date adapted its identity and pedigree that is palpable today. From 1961 to 1968 the Day-Date 1803 stayed its course with no features added or taken, although during this time Rolex did introduce a wide array of dial variations. However in 1969 Rolex introduced a detail that would forever become synonymous with the model and that was the hidden clasp bracelet later deemed the Presidential bracelet. The moniker comes about thanks to United States president Lyndon B. Johnson as he was pictured wearing his reference 1803, which included the new bracelet style. In our collection are two special full sets 1803’s. One is fitted with a doorstop dial and the other An 1803 manufactured in 1962 and accompanied by its original box and papers. A nice detail aside from its complete set is its doorstop dial. If you notice the indexes positioned at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock resemble a doorstop. This watch comes with a leather band and not a hidden clasp gold bracelet. Pictured is another 1803 fitted with a hidden clasp bracelet and accompanied by box and papers. The papers denote a full Rolex service done to the watch in Saudi Arabia.
Rolex Day-Date 18038
The successful Day-Date 1803 was replaced in 1977 with the reference 18038. This new reference introduced two details that are now staples on modern Day-Dates. The sapphire crystal replacing the plexiglass and the quick-set capable movement. Pictured is an early iteration of the reference, this one being manufactured in 1977 and fitted with a rare champagne colored baguette diamond index dial. An added plus is the Spanish calendar.
Rolex Day-Date 18048
The Day-Date reference 18048 is an interesting reference as it incorporates highly luxurious details. This says a lot considering the Day-Date is altogether synonymous with luxury. A glance at this beautiful example will provide understanding as to why the watch is not like its contemporaries. Pictured is a Day-Date manufactured in 1981 and fitted with a diamond bezel and diamond & rubies stringed dial. This watch embodies luxury at its finest.
Rolex Day-Date 18238
The reference 18238 added a new novelty to the Day-Date family in the form of the double quick-set. This new movement update allows the user to change both the date and day with more ease. Aside from that function the reference retains its standard details such as sapphire crystal and concealed buckle bracelet. Bear in mind not all 18238’s were made the same. Pictured is a special iteration. A never worn full set Day-Date fitted with an ultra rare Tahitian mother of pearl and diamond baguette dial. The look and feel of this watch is fantastic.
Rolex Day-Date 18206
The reference 18206 is arguably one of the most beautiful models in the Day-Date family. This watch is elegance at its purest. It strays away from the luxurious gold case and array of dial variations with a clean dial fitted on a hefty platinum case. A lot can be said about the 18206 but it would not make it proper justice. The watch is best appreciated when worn. In our collection are two examples of the Day-Date 18206. One’s fitted with a blue dial and another fitted with a black dial.
Rolex Day-Date 18296
Unlike the previous mentioned reference, our 18296 is an amalgamation of elegance, rarity, and an example of Rolex’s attention to detail. Pictured is a watch that is seldom seen, a watch with so many rare details that only a handful have appeared publicly. For starters this Day-Date is cased in platinum with lugs and bezels adorned with factory diamonds and fitted with a Lapis Lazuli dial coupled with diamond indexes. If the Day-Date family had a hierarchy this watch would be at the top.
The Rolex Day-Date is rich in history and is without a doubt slated to be a part of the Rolex lineup for decades to come. But note that with endless references available and with an immeasurable amount of dial variations bear in mind not every Day-Date is created equal. There are highly rare and collectible examples that deserve greater attention and pursuit. The Day-Dates highlighted in this article are on a level of their own. They are the special kind of outliers we collectors travel the world to find.