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5 Reasons Why the Rolex Datejust Is a Modern Classic

November 20, 2020

Can you believe that the world's priciest Rolex sold for almost $18 million in late 2017? Don't worry, not all pre-owned Rolex watches are that expensive

Wondering what the best Rolex watch could be? Just take a look at the Rolex Datejust. Not only is this stunning watch moderately priced, but it also comes in a multitude of material and dial combinations!

What's not to love? Here are five reasons why the Rolex Datejust is a modern classic.


1. It can wind itself

The DateJust features a movement which is automatically wound by motion, particularly, the motion of the watch on the wrist or in a winder. While it is true that the entire Rolex range of watches is automatic these days, that wasn't always the case.

The first automatic watch from the brand was the Oyster Perpetual in 1930, which improved upon the design of an English watchmaker called John Harwood. Harwood's watches had an unbalanced rotor like the watches of today, however, his rotor could only turn 200 degrees, rather than perform a full rotation. This is often called a 'bumper' movement today.

Bumper movements occasionally suffered damage over their lifespan from the impact of the rotor hitting the pin that stopped it from going any further. Rolex' design furthered this by removing the need for the bumpers entirely, allowing the rotor to swing freely. The DateJust has always been an automatic watch, right back to the first examples which had the reference number 4467, and you can tell if a Rolex is automatic or not as the word perpetual will be written somewhere on the dial.


2. It's a water resistant watch

Did you know that the Rolex Datejust is water resistant too? Of course you did, any watch should be water resistant these days, but did you know that the Datejust has always been water resistant?

Rolex has been making water resistant wristwatches since 1926, in fact, it was the very first company to produce a water resistant wristwatch. It was called the Oyster, and to demonstrate its ability to resist water it was worn around the neck of Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim across the English Channel. Rolex still uses Mercedes in their advertisements to this day.

The Datejust, therefore, makes for a great companion based just on these two points alone. It is an automatically-wound watch, which means you need only to wear it and it'll take care of the rest, and it's water resistant so you don't need to worry about it if you fancy a dip. You can spot a water resistant Rolex by checking the dial, Rolex always prints the word 'Oyster' on the dial of its water resistant watches.

Note: We strongly advise against swimming with or submerging a vintage Rolex. Even with new seals and gaskets it could still be possible for the watch to leak and suffer from damage.


3. It comes in different colours, styles and sizes

There's no reason to be concerned about options when it comes to Rolex. Despite the brand having a somewhat dour air about it, especially if you're in one of its authorised distributors (heaven forbid you for not wearing a three-piece suit), there are actually a number of different ways you can style and personalise your Datejust. 

If you're buying new then you have the widest array to choose from. The Datejust currently comes in four sizes (31mm, 34mm, 36mm & 41mm), each has between two and seven options for the case material, two different types of bezel, two different types of bracelet and that's before you get to the dial! Each case size has plenty of dial colours to choose from too, ranging from cream through the spectrum to black, and if that's not enough then diamonds can be specified instead of the regular markers.

Obviously, if you're buying pre-owned then you're limited to what is available at that moment. But, if you know precisely what you're after then you still have plenty of choice.


4. It's been around since the early 1900s

On the hunt for that original Rolex style? You might think that the Submariner is the classic Rolex wristwatch, and I'm sure in some parts of the world it is. But, when the word 'Rolex' is mentioned the things that spring to mind the most are 'classical, 'understated' & 'elegant'. Unsurprisingly, these are all excellent adjectives for the Datejust.

It's the definitive "smart/casual" watch, that is, it's the first watch I think of if I need something to be both great under the cuff of a dress shirt and blazer or if I want to lounge about the house with a bottle of beer on a Sunday. It suits all purposes, but if you have a particular lifestyle then the customisation of the watch can really adapt it for you. Want something a little sporty? Get it on the Oyster bracelet. Want something that seems to magically sparkle? Get one with an Everose fluted bezel and you're set. 

The Datejust may not be the oldest line in the Rolex catalogue, but it is definitely the definitive line.

5. It matches everything

What's the bottom line? The Rolex Datejust literally matches everything.

Versatility has been the key theme of this list, the Datejust is robust and ready for daily life, but it can also be easily matched to your lifestyle and your wardrobe. Plus, it's versatile enough to be adaptable too. Fancy changing things up a bit or have an important meeting coming? Swap that Oyster bracelet for a Jubilee and see how different the watch can be when changing one aspect. Hey, if you know a good watchmaker who's used to working on these you can even get a different bezel fitted (if you can find one for sale, Rolex doesn't just hand out parts).


Why the Rolex Datejust is a modern classic

Here's the deal: vintage Datejusts are already a classic. They may not fetch the astronomical auction prices of some of their brethren, but they're still easily recognisable.

Modern Datejusts aren't just an homage to former models. The Datejust line has been in production since it first began, the current lineup of Datejusts is therefore the culmination of decades of development. They've also just updated the movements inside the newest models with their state-of-the-art design and architecture.

That doesn't mean that a pre-owned Datejust is no longer any good. As with all classics, they are only going to get better and more distinctive with age, it'll also get easier to distinguish them as the designs adjust slightly over time. 

Still wondering which pre-owned Rolex Datejust is perfect for you? Give us a call and we'll help you find the perfect Datejust!


Please note: due to the current lockdown in Wales, our showroom is closed. We remain at your disposal, however, and are ready to have a telephone call with you to discuss your next purchase or answer any questions you may have.