Rolex Datejust was first released in 1945 and is a part of the Classic collection of Rolex watches. It was first introduced to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Rolex. The Datejust was the first automatic wrist watch to feature a date complication that would change itself at midnight, meaning ‘the date is always just’, giving the watch its name.
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The Rolex date just model is the longest running line of Rolex watches and have seen lots of changed through its 70 year life.
The first date just was unveiled in 1945 with the model reference 4467. The watch was made from 18ct gold, fitted with the first jubilee bracelet. Rolex used their oyster case which was the first waterproof watch at the time and Rolex being pioneers they even offered the first automatic watch with a date feature!
The 1950s we see Rolex fit a cyclopes or date bubble to their DateJust models. I think the cyclopes on a Rolex is probably the most noticeable feature of Rolex watches.
This next part will lead the path to the Rolex Sub Mariner but one of Rolex first date models just had a black rotating bezel fitted to the case. In 1953 Rolex showed us the Turn-O-Graph model 6202. The watch looked very similar to a Sub Mariner, but the Sub Mariner wasn’t even released yet!!
Funny thing the following year Rolex released a new Sub Mariner model, and the Rolex Turno-O-Graph became part of the date just range with a new model reference 6309. Rolex went back to and fitted the watch with a metal bezel and upgraded date calibre.
Later, in the 1950s Rolex upgraded their movement calibre which allowed Rolex to stop using their Bubble backs case backs , with the slimmer watch movement Rolex could now fit a flat case back. Rolex at this point also showed us their ‘Fluted ‘ bezel which they fitted and still use today on most of their Rolex watches.
The Rolex Date Just We Know today
Towards to end of the 19070s Rolex starting using their own in house watch movement the 3035. The 3035 was such an upgrade on older automatic movements that Rolex increased the beats from 19800 to 28800 beats per second, this would allow them to increase the frequency of the movement. The visible difference was that the second would sweep more freely than tick. The sweep hand on a Rolex again is one of the most synonyms feature of Rolex.
The 3035 included a quick date change feature, before this improvement you would have to move the hands of the watch forward 24 hours to change the date.
The 3035 was used in models such as 16030,16013, 16014 and more.
Less than 10 years go by before Rolex upgrade the 3035 with 3135 calibres to their Date Just range. New models like the 16233 and 16233 are equipped with the new calibre. The Date Just range has always given people a good choice of options . From plain dials to Mother of pearl and diamond dials being an option. This with option of a smooth or fluted bezel and the Rolex Jubilee bracelet or Oyster. One Oyster case with the options to change the bezel, dial, metal, and bracelet was very clever from Rolex.
New look Rolex Datejust 2 and Datejust 41
2009 Rolex introduced new Date Just lines to the market. The new main feature was the 41mm watch case. The 36mm, 31mm models and new ladies 28mm which had replaced the 26mm ladies versions were also available.
Model 116334 all steel Datejust 41 with a white gold fluted bezel
Model 116333 bi metal Datejust 2 option with an 18ct fluted bezel
Model 116303 bi metal Datejust 41 option with a smooth Yellow Bezel
Model 116300 all steel Datejust 2 option with a smooth steel bezel
Rolex have now stopped using the version Datejust 2 and call all these models Datejust 41. I think it I was to simplify things. Rolex again give you choice of dials, bezel, and bracelet options.
Rolex have been a major sponsor at the Wimbledon tennis tournament over the last 30 years and with the Datejust range they have specially designed a couple of dials to pay homage to Wimbledon. The Green Roman Numerals on a slate dial has now been called the Wimbledon dial in the watch world.