If you're an avid follower of Watches of Wales (and you should be, we're available on most of the biggest social media platforms, and you can get our newsletter straight to your email inbox), then you'll probably know that we mainly deal in Rolex watches. Can you blame us? Their watches are fantastic, reliable, attractive and always popular with collectors and first-time watch fans.
Rolex has produced probably the highest number of iconic timepieces over the years, despite its short history compared to other watch manufacturers. Nearly every model they currently make has a long history of production in one form or another and is a bona fide classic. But, even then, some models stand out more than others. The Day-Date has long been thought of as Rolex' top model, despite it not being as robust or practical as a Submariner (even a gold version) or as complicated as a Sky-Dweller or Daytona.
You could liken it to Mercedes Benz. Until very recently, their top model wasn't the S-Class or the G-Wagon, but the SL-Class roadster, a two-door, two-seater grand tourer that began in the 1950s with the W121 that was based on the W198 'Gullwing' coupé. The SL wasn't their most technologically advanced car, their limousines took that prize, but they were at the very top of Mercedes Benz' hierarchy for a long time. Similarly, the Day-Date has spent very little time as Rolex's most complicated watch thanks to all their chronograph watches. And yet, we often think of the Day-Date as the pinnacle of Rolex watchmaking. If you're wondering, the author's favourite of the SL-Class family is the R107 from the 1970s.
With that in mind, we at Watches of Wales will be focusing a lot more on the Day-Date in the future. Of course, we'll still stock plenty of other watches from Rolex and indeed from different brands, but you can expect to see more Day-Dates from us in the future. You'll also see more blog content focused on the Day-Date in the future as well, although we'll intersperse it with other topics for variety. We've also added a 'Day-Date' article tag, so you can see which articles are explicitly Day-Date focused.
The iconic 'President' bracelet with hidden clasp, revealed only by the presence of the Rolex coronet
With that in mind, let's kick off with a beautiful example of an 18038 Day-Date that's for sale right now. It's got a gorgeous yellow gold case that measures 36mm in diameter and is connected to their classic bracelet. The 'President' bracelet has an iconic shape of its own with three rounded links across the width and a hidden clasp which is unlocked by the Rolex coronet discreetly placed between two links. In case you're in any doubt, the name 'President' actually applies to the bracelet design, but you'll see it applied to the entire watch, which is common (the President bracelet only comes on the Day-Date).
That name doesn't come about for no reason. The Day-Date has been worn on the wrist of US Presidents for decades, beginning with Lyndon Johnson and including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Raegan and Donald Trump. This example is particularly presidential with its gradient green dial with factory-applied diamonds. The closer you get to the centre of the dial, the more intense the green becomes! We should mention that the dial has been professionally refinished. As is traditional, the date is magnified by a cyclops, while the name of the day is presented at 12 O'clock.
Inside the gold case is the calibre 3055, which is the fifth generation of the Day-Date movement. It features a 4Hz beat rate (which is the industry standard of today)and, perhaps more importantly, a quickset date. This meant you didn't need to wind the hands round and round if you let the watch stop, a quick twist of the crown in its date-setting position would have you sorted. Older models didn't have a quickset date, while newer models received a quickset day function on top of the quickset date, but this 18038 is a happy medium.
The watch is in excellent condition and was made in 1987, so it lacks its original box and papers (we provide our own when you purchase, so you can still enjoy that big reveal). This watch is on sale currently, but it may sell soon, so check it out while you can!
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