The Rolex Day-Date is a watch fit for presidents. Available in gold or platinum, it was the first watch to display the date and weekday fully written out. Several US presidents, such as Lyndon B. Johnson, have relied on the "President watch."
- First automatic watch with date and day of the week display
- Available exclusively in 18-karat gold or platinum
- Famous wearers such as John F. Kennedy
- President bracelet with semi-circular three-piece links exclusively for the Day-Date
- High-quality chronometer: In-house caliber 3255 (date)
The Watch of Heads of State and CEOs
Introduced in 1956, the Rolex
Day-Date was the first watch to display the date and day of the week written out in full
on its dial. With this invention, Rolex once again became a pioneer in the field of watchmaking and the luxury watch sector. The term luxury watch
isn't a misnomer - this watch is only available in platinum or 18-karat gold. The so-called President bracelet
is a semi-circular three-piece link metal bracelet developed especially for the Day-Date
. All other models, such as the Daytona
, the Oyster Perpetual
, and the Submariner
, have the Oyster bracelet with flat three-piece links.
The watch, nicknamed the Rolex President, isn't just popular among politicians: Financial investors, church leaders, actors, and other prominent figures are all fans of this unique timepiece. US presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as Pope John Paul II, were Day-Date wearers. Investor Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, also wears a Day-Date. One watch in particular has a special story. Marilyn Monroe allegedly gave her lover John F. Kennedy a Day-Date engraved with the words "Jack / With love as always / Marilyn / May 29th 1962." Kennedy supposedly gave the watch to one of his employees. The validity of this story remains uncertain, but it has certainly contributed to the brand's mythology.
On an Equal Footing with Statesmen
If you're looking for a watch that would help you fit in with the world's most powerful statesmen, then the Rolex Day-Date is an appropriate choice. It's the most beloved watch amongst politicians and big business CEOs, earning it the nickname "President Watch." It's available exclusively in 18-karat gold or platinum and is the epitome of luxury and prestige. Wearing a Day-Date on your wrist symbolizes your influence. Well-maintained, pre-owned gold models cost around 4,000 euros. New gold models are more expensive, running around 10,000 euros. New platinum versions are available for around 30,000 euros, and pre-owned versions are about 10,000 euros less expensive at 20,000 euros.
- Pre-owned, well-maintained models starting at 4,000 euros
- New gold watches starting at 10,000 euros; platinum versions starting at 30,000 euros
- President bracelet with semi-circular three-piece links available exclusively for the Day-Date
- Coveted vintage model: reference 18038 (starting around 7,000 euros)
Similar Models from Other Manufacturers
Purely Luxurious Designs and Materials
The Geneva-based manufacturer exclusively uses yellow, white, and rose (referred to as Everose) gold or platinum for the cases and President bracelet. Even the index markers are made of 18-karat gold and won't tarnish over the years. The designers didn't just create the different color dials in-house, but they also produced them almost entirely by hand. Dials come in blue, green, silver, ice blue, orange, black, and brown. Variants with mother-of-pearl dials are stunningly eye-catching, and many models feature diamond index markers. There are two types of bezels: fluted or, since 2000, a glossy, domed bezel that borders the sapphire glass on the platinum watches. The fluted bezel has been in production since 1956, as long as the Day-Date itself. The case is available in two diameters: 36 mm or 40 mm or, in the case of the Day-Date II, 41 mm.
The models with reference number 18038 are highly sought-after vintage watches. These Day-Dates from the 1970s and 80s have the so-called Stella dial. Stella dials are made of solid enamel and come in a variety of colors ranging from white to yellow, blue, orange, pink, turquoise, brown, salmon, or even black. Enamel dials are usually "fired" in a furnace, but these colorful faces were created using a special kind of enamel varnish. The origin of the term "Stella" is not known, but there are two possible theories. The first claims that the dials were named after the American artist Frank Stella, as the colorful faces supposedly resemble Stella's colorful artwork. The other hypothesis is that the name comes from the Latin word for star, stella, and is referring to the brightness of the dials.
Forward-Looking Manufacturing Techniques
The first Day-Date with reference number 6511 is powered by the automatic caliber 1030. The day of the week disc, now available in more than 25 different languages, rotates over the date ring. The small day of the week window is positioned in such a way that the correct day is displayed in full at 12 o'clock. Furthermore, the date window at the three o'clock position features the well-known Cyclops lens.
The caliber 1055 powers the watch with reference number 6611 from 1957. Rolex optimized this movement's date mechanism: In the very first versions of the Day-Date, the accuracy would decrease when the date changed. This problem was solved in the new generation of calibers.
More improvements came in the 1970s. Starting in 1972, some watches were available with the caliber 1556, which featured a stop-seconds mechanism. This allowed wearers to set the time to the exact second. Towards the end of the 70s, Rolex introduced the quickset date feature, which greatly benefited the Day-Date. The crown could be pulled out halfway, allowing the wearer to quickly set the date as well as the day of the week.
Up to Date with the Caliber 3255
Rolex has used their in-house caliber 3255 in the Day-Date since 2015. This movement has 14 patents. The designers reworked more than 90% of the caliber's components and further optimized them. For example, they made the barrel 50% smaller, allowing space for a spring with larger capacity. Thanks to the highly efficient Chronergy escapement developed by Rolex, the movement has an impressive power reserve of 70 hours. The caliber can power the watch through the weekend and still show the correct time Monday morning. The Chronergy escapement is an improvement on the Swiss anchor escapement made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy. Thanks to this alloy, the movement is not affected by magnetic fields. The manufacturer claims that the watch is 15% more efficient with this escapement system.
The caliber's balance wheel operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. At the core of the movement is the classic Rolex blue Parachrom balance spring made from a niobium-zirconium alloy. Like the escapement, the balance spring is unaffected by magnetic fields. According to the manufacturer, it is up to 10 times more precise than other movements when subjected to jolts. The movement also has the classic upraised last coil in its spring, making it a so-called Breguet balance spring. This also improves the movement's accuracy. Precision index adjustment occurs via the Microstella nuts on the inner side of the balance wheel. Every Rolex caliber is certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The caliber 3255 also undergoes an internal testing process and is subjected to realistic conditions. The manufacturer claims that this process is twice as strict as that of the official COSC certification authority.
- New in-house caliber 3255 in use since 2015
- 70-hour power reserve
- Chronergy escapement made from a non-magnetic nickel-phosphorus alloy which improves efficiency
- Parachrom hairspring with Breguet overcoil for increased precision
The Rolex Day-Date: A Prestigious Luxury Watch
No other watch is enjoyed by so many powerful people in the world. The Rolex Day-Date embodies pure luxury, prestige, and power. Whoever wears a Day-Date is emphasizing their influential position in economics, politics, or society. Every Rolex watch is a solid investment thanks to the company's consistent model and marketing policies. Timepieces from Rolex are therefore timeless, coveted collector's items which enthrall everyone, not just heads of state.