The Datejust debuted in 1945 to commemorate the Rolex brand's 40th anniversary. Over the years, the collection has seen minor upgrades while still staying true to its original design. The Datejust gained widespread popularity in the 1970s after appearing on the wrist of a number of prominent actors. Then, 2009 marked a new era for the collection with the introduction of the Datejust II. Buying a Rolex Datejust watch is the perfect choice to start your Rolex collection. Shop our extensive selection of exceptional used Rolex Datejust watches for sale.
The Datejust was first introduced in 1945 in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the Rolex brand. To commemorate the occasion, they set out to create a timepiece that was different than any other watch offered at the time. What emerged was the Datejust, the first self-winding, water-resistant wristwatch with a date window on the dial.
The history of the Datejust begins with the Jubilee Datejust, Reference 4467, which was first released in 1945. This original model was only available in 18-karat gold and had a small bubbleback winder with a deeply domed back. It featured a water-resistant Oyster case, fluted bezel, and signature Jubilee bracelet, making it instantly identifiable as a Rolex.
Over the years, the Datejust has seen subtle improvements to its features while remaining true to its original design. Several years after its debut, the Datejust received a major update. In 1954, Rolex added the Cyclops lens to the case. This magnifying bubble is situated on the lens directly above the date. It serves to increase the legibility by two and a half times. Today, the Cyclops lens has become a standard for Rolex watches and is considered a brand trademark.
In 1957, Rolex introduced a lighter, thinner movement for the Datejust called the Caliber 1065. This modification allowed the original domed case back to be replaced with a flattened case back. The result was a watch with a slimmer profile. That same year, Rolex also released the Datejust in stainless steel in addition to the original gold.
One of the most noteworthy versions of the Datejust is the Turn-o-Graph, Ref. 1625, which was released in 1955. The Turn-o-Graph, also nicknamed the Thunderbird, featured a gold Turn-o-Graph bezel. This allowed the timepiece to function as a stopwatch. This model was awarded to United States Airforce pilots after returning from combat missions.
By the 1970s, the Datejust had gained widespread popularity, particularly within the film industry. For the past 50 years, the Datejust has appeared on the wrist of a variety of actors. For example, Michael Caine in Get Carter, Paul Newman in The Color of Money, and Christian Bale in American Psycho. Today, these celebrity Datejust models continue to receive attention. In May 2019, film legend Marlon Brando’s Datejust went up for auction and sold for $40,000.
Another notable variation of the Datejust is the Datejust II, introduced in 2009. This sportier model features a new, self-winding movement, the Caliber 3136. In response to the trend of more sizeable watches, the Datejust II also features a noticeably larger case, measuring 41mm. Since the release of the Datejust II, original Datejust models have become increasingly popular in the pre-owned market.
Until the release of the Day-Date President in 1956, the Datejust was Rolex’s most popular model. It has served as the modern archetype of the classic watch and the forerunner for other favorite Rolex models like the Explorer and Submariner. No matter what type of strap or dial color you prefer, the Datejust is offered in an array of sizes, colors, and metals to suit any unique style. This is part of its enduring appeal. Today, the Datejust continues to be one of the most prominent watches in the Rolex line-up.
Video: Rolex Datejust History
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