Before Datejust, most wrist-watches didn’t know what day it was
If you’ve been reading our Rolex pages, you’ll know that, for an iconic and apparently conservative brand, Rolex are incorrigible innovators.
They began life by inventing the world’s first wrist-worn chronometer (1910). They followed this with the first truly waterproof watch (1926). And then, in 1945, came the first self-winding wrist chronometer to give you the date in a little window in the dial.
OK, it’s commonplace now and may not seem like much of a big deal at all, but in 1945, when most watches needed winding nightly and correcting daily, to add yet another ability to the amazing sophistication and accuracy already packed inside a Rolex case was remarkable.
Now, as in all Mk 1 machines, there turned out to be room for improvement. For one thing, it took ages for the date to change – the number started turning over at about 9pm! Also, the figure in the little window was pretty hard to see for anyone over 40, or for ladies whose watches were smaller, of course. So in 1955 (ten years is a rapid response for Rolex!), the date change became instantaneous and a little magnifying lens was added over the date window that enlarged the numbers 21/2 times. They called it the Cyclops.
One thing about the original Datejust didn’t need improvement and that’s the famous 5-link bracelet. It’s just the same today and forms part of the iconic style statement that is a Rolex. They called it the Jubilee bracelet as it was introduced for the company’s Jubilee. You can specify a 3-link bracelet if you prefer – the one that’s been the same since 1938!
One reassuring thing about the Datejust is the fact that it’s just a watch. It’s not designed for diving or climbing or swimming or going to the moon and it doesn’t have fancy moving bezels or anything but a couple of hands and the numbers 1 to 12 around the dial (batons, if you prefer).
This is not to say, however, that it will let you down should you find yourself unexpectedly 100 metres below the surface of the sea. Since 1953, every Datejust has used a genuine Oyster case and is completely waterproof. Good to know, should things go pear-shaped next time you’re out on the yacht or up in the Learjet.
You can have your Datejust almost any way you want it. Men can choose a 36mm case in steel, gold or a combination of the two. The Datejust II is bigger, at 41mm, and comes in steel and white gold, or steel and yellow gold.
Ladies get to pick from 31 or 33mm dials in a huge range of bracelet and face choices. About those dial sizes. Big watches are a comparatively recent phenomenon, popularised by some of the, shall we say, newcomer brands. Before the late 1990’s, 36mm was quite big enough for any chap’s wrist and 31mm suited a lady to a tee.
At Albemarle & Bond, we always have a good selection of pre-owned Datejusts (both I and II) for both gents and ladies - and you should be able to get almost as wide a choice from us as you would if buying brand new.
You’ll also get a more interesting watch, in our opinion.
This is because all our Datejust watches come with a story. A story about who owned them before you. Where they went, what they saw, what they did.
Too romantic? Don’t be so sure. Here’s just a very short and incomplete list of the people who have worn a Rolex:
• Almost every US President since 1940
• Harrison Ford
• Paul Newman
• Jennifer Aniston
• Martin Luther King
• Brad Pitt
• Mel Gibson
• Hugh Laurie
• David Beckham
• Pablo Picasso
• Steve McQueen
• Sean Connery
• Bruce Willis
Who wouldn’t want to join that illustrious band? And who knows – maybe the pre-owned Rolex Datejust you’ll find here on our website has had an equally famous (or notorious) owner.
So let’s look at why you might choose a Datejust rather than, say, a Submariner or a GMT-Master.
Discretion. In most forms, a Datejust is one of the more understated Rolex watches. As we said, it has no sporting gizmos or pretensions.
Accessibility. This is the word Rolex use when they want to say that the steel Datejust is one of the least expensive Rolex watches. It’s most people’s way in to the Rolex experience.
Right every time. A Datejust is the right thing to wear on your wrist, whether the rest of you is wearing jeans at the weekend, a tux at a fancy event or Nomex Coveralls in your racing car.
The only one you need. The Datejust is the watch you can wear every day, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. No need for a collection of timepieces. No need to buy any other watch, ever.
So now let’s talk money.
Buying a Rolex isn’t something most people can do lightly. Spending four or even five figures on a watch needs consideration and, possibly, a special event as justification. Remarkably, however, if you wait a few years, what might have seemed like an extravagance begins to look like a wise investment.
Over the longer term, pre-owned Rolex watches tend to keep their value. The rarer, more desirable ones will often appreciate. Buy a pre-owned Rolex from Albemarle & Bond today and if you want to trade it in for something else in a few years, you shouldn’t lose any money and you could even show a profit.
In effect, you will have enjoyed the daily pleasure of owning a Rolex absolutely free of charge!