Rolex Day-Date and Datejust: Fit for the Oval Office
One officially became known as the Rolex President (Day-Date), but the versatile Datejust graced the wrists of leaders of presidential ilk, it just didn’t get the nickname.
Partners in crime and two of the oldest names in Rolex’s history, the Datejust and Day-Date bear the archetypal Rolex appearance. First introduced in 1945 to commemorate the company’s 40th anniversary, the Datejust was the world’s first self-winding chronometer wristwatch to indicate the date on the dial. Characterized by its Cyclops lens and Jubilee bracelet, the Datejust remained the premier model in the Rolex range, until the introduction of the Day-Date. Unveiled at Baselworld in 1956, it featured Rolex’s groundbreaking Datejust technology.
A trailblazer upon its launch, unlike many of Rolex’s other legendary watch lines, the Datejust was not specifically designed or intended for one particular sport, environment, or lifestyle activity. This lack of classification is perhaps why it doesn’t enter the record books for prices paid, but there’s no doubt of its iconic status within the Rolex catalog. Over the years Rolex has supplemented the Datejust with improvements in design, and movement, but to its patrons it has remained a perennial timepiece. And on par with the Cartier Tank, the list includes the most famous of V.I.P.s: Sir Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan. Not only cherished by some of the greatest men to have ever lived, the Datejust’s endorsement in popular culture is mightily impressive. Paul Newman wore a stainless steel 36mm Datejust in The Colour of Money, 1986, whilst Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) wore a Rolex Datejust 16013 in American Psycho, the satirical horror film based on Brett Eastern Ellis’s novel of the same name. The watch became ‘the’ status symbol following the film, fervently adopted by the upwardly mobile bankers of Wall Street.
With the Datejust’s affiliation with world leaders, it may come as a surprise that its younger brother the Day-Date was nicknamed the “President”. This is thanks to its adoption by Lyndon B. Johnson, and allegedly, John F. Kennedy (the watch apparently having been gifted to him by Marilyn Monroe the same night she sang Happy Birthday to him at Madison Square Garden in 1962, and inscribed, “Jack, with love as always from Marilyn”) – was born in 1956. During its 60-plus years of existence, it has made innumerable cinematic appearances and become a symbol of success, virility, power and alpha-male cool. The first watch to display the date and have the day of the week spelled out in a window, since its release it has earned the vote of a diverse array of potentates, and represents the ultimate in prestige, refinement in comfort.
Thanks to The Rake’s collaboration with Watches of Knightsbridge, it is now possible to enjoy the enriching qualities of a Day-Date 1803. Made in 1971 in an 18k solid white gold, it features a stunning original silver dial with diamond hour markers. These white gold Day-Dates were made in fewer numbers compared to yellow gold at the time, making them now even more sought-after, especially in its exceptional condition. The watch is complemented by a grey alligator strap. Alternatively, a beautiful Datejust is available on TheRake.com. Arriving in a two-tone steel and gold Jubilee bracelet, it dates from 1987, and features a stunning “Tapestry” dial which makes it slightly more unusual. One of the most versatile watches on the planet, the popularity of the Datejust never waivers, which is why this particular timepiece would be a shrewd investment.