DATEJUST

 

After the Second World War Rolex made one of the most significant moves of it's History, It introduced a larger version of its Bubbleback. This new watch was powered by a perpetual version of the classic 10-1/2"' Hunter. The new calibre called the A296 was initially used in a large Bubbleback with reference number 5026. Three years later and Rolex had added a sweep second hand and a date, which was visible at 3' o'clock.

Launched in 1945 as the Jubilee Datejust model 4467, it was only available in 18K gold at first and when the fortunes of the Prince faded this became their flagship model. This model features a fine coin edged bezel, a gold edged date window, alternating red/ black date figures, a tiny bubbleback winder and a deeply domed back. This was an Ovettone model. (Three piece case)

The Ovettone model was soon surpassed by a model with only two case parts. Yet it still retained the protruding back, and the finely milled bezel. The date function also retained the its alternating red and black numbers. The only obvious change was that the winding crown, previously the small bubbleback crown became larger when Rolex increased the depth to which it went from 60 to 165 feet.

The most dramatic change in Datejust occurred in 1954 when Rolex introduced the Cyclops lens at Basel. This allowed the date to be read easier and has now become part of the Rolex signature. Soon came a slimmer movement, which allowed the fitting of a flatter back. The new movement calibre 1065 introduced in 1957 was much lighter and much slimmer than its predecessor making the old domed back obsolete.

These new model Datejusts were manufactured in yellow gold primarily although they were available in pink gold for the South American markets. The stainless steel Datejusts were released in 1957.

The stainless and gold Datejusts were introduced around 1962 and has proved to be one of the most popular Rolex's ever produced. Since there was quite a large gap between sales in gold Datejusts and steel Datejusts Rolex filled the void with a mixed metal model.

The next change was to change the dial. The old curved edge dial gave way to the new flat dial, which in turn was facilitated by the new Rapid Date Change or quickset feature. The new calibre (3085) movement not only enabled the wearer to change the date much quicker it also meant that there was not as much wear on the hand setting mechanism. Most usefully though it allowed the wearer to change the date from the 28th or 30th to 1st without changing the time.

In 1956 a new model Datejust was launched combining the advantages of the standard Datejust with those of the "Turn-O-Graph" Launched as the model 1625, it featured a gold rotating bezel in which was cast with the minute divisions and very fine dividing lines.

When the manual " Oysterdate" was introduced in the 1950's it came in two sizes, one about the same size as an "Air King" and one a little bigger than a Bubbleback. By the Late 1960's the smaller one was dropped leaving nothing to fill the void between the current Datejust and the Lady's model. In 1970 this changed however with the introduction of the 2030 movement. This was a scaled down version of the 1030 movement and was immediately fitted to a series of watches universally known as the "Mid Size". These watches were perfect 80% replicas of the Oyster Perpetual and the Datejust were available in all the metal and dial variations shared by their big brother. They have proved to be one of Rolex's success's as they were very popular in the Europe, South America and Asia. Because they were an in between size they also appealed to large women or small men to whom the standard sizes did not appeal.

At the end of the 1980's the Datejusts were fitted with the sapphire mineral crystal glass. The purpose of this was two fold. Firstly it was more aesthetically pleasing as it slimmed the look of the Datejust and it also rendered the glass virtually scratch proof, which was extremely practical.

The success of the Datejust is phenomenal. From a flagship model when it was first released to one of their entry level models now, it still retains the prowess and exclusiveness that have made it famous.

Second time round © 2017