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Why is the Datejust one of Rolexes most popular watches?

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust watch is one of the most popular lines from Rolex.  It has a timeless design that has survived over half a century's worth of fashion trends and continues to be worn on the wrists of men and women today.

The Rolex Datejust is a watch that can be seen as essential to every collection, being able to be worn during the day and night. It is the Rolex watch, the one most identified as a Rolex and is, arguably,  the one most instantly recognisable.

The history of the Datejust

When the Datejust was launched in 1945, just in time for the Rolex 40th anniversary, it was the first wristwatch with an automatic date change function and the first watch to have the date display at 3 o'clock. Originally only available in 18 karat gold, over the years the Datejust has come to incorporate just the most subtle of changes. However, the minor changes were on the exterior. The movements have continued to change and improve. Today's Datejust movements are an exercise in watchmaking artisanship and show how Rolex have continued to push this classic watch forward. Still recently, the movement for the 2016 Lady Datejust was completely new, giving a power reserve of 50 hours and, with the introduction of the Parachrom Bleu Spiral on the gents Datejust and the Calibre 3135, this gives the movements greater resistance to changes in temperature and magnetic fields.

Three pre-owned Rolex Datejust watches side by side available from Xupes

Changing Faces

With the long lifespan of the Datejust, there have been many different types and styles, all, though, just varying slightly. One of the first changes came with the addition of the date magnifier. Known as a Cyclops lens, that magnifies the date aperture for improved legibility. The addition was a hit with wearers and has remained on the Datejust ever since and has also been fitted to other models in the Rolex range. The watch is water resistant making use of the Oyster case. There have been a few special editions of the watch throughout the years, and, due to the demand for larger watches, a 41mm size was also made available.

Jubilee, Oyster and President bracelets on pre-loved Rolex Datejust watches available from Xupes

The Datejust has also seen some other interesting changes.  In the 1970s, whilst Rolex chose not to be a part of the Quartz boom, their response was the OysterQuartz.  While not so popular at the time, it has become quite collectable to date within the pre-owned market.

There is an elegant women's line of the Datejust launched that was launched in the 1950s. As with the larger versions, it holds all the components that make the Datejust, including the officially certified Perpetual self-winding movement.

The Datejust is available in three bracelets, the Oyster, the Jubilee and the President which is only available on older models, each giving the watch a completely different look and feel. The Oyster bracelet gives a more modern look and is very practical and hard-wearing. The links are larger and sit comfortably on the wrist with less movement than the others. The Jubilee is probably the most distinguishable for the Datejust models with smaller, delicate links that give a very vintage and classic look. This particular strap can stretch as the links have more movement in the older models, due to the hollow centre links, the newer being solid and not prone to stretching. The bracelets can be worn more loosely to resemble a piece of jewellery. Similar to the jubilee strap, the president bracelet has smaller links than the Oyster, but is a happy medium between the two. All of these variants are available in a mix of materials from stainless steel, to precious metals or a combination of the two. All offering a unique look and plenty of variety to choose from.

Coloured dials of six second-hand Rolex Datejust available from Xupes

There are also a number of different dials available. Popular dial colours include silver, black, white and champagne. These can come with different finishes: patterned, reflective and block colours. Dials can also be made from different materials from a pretty mother of pearl to a unique lapis lazuli, but these are usually more expensive than the basic colour ranges. You can also have different gem settings with diamond markers which give a feminine touch and pave which gives a more dressy feel. Sizes range from 26mm up to 41mm. A personal favourite of mine is the blue burst finish, but whichever dial type and bracelet you choose, the Datejust is versatile enough to fit with anything you wear.

Famously worn with distinction

This watch has been worn by many of the great and famous. Winston Churchill had one of the first, with a personalised coat of arms. Paul Newman wore one in the 'Color of Money'. Dr Martin Luther King wore a yellow gold Datejust with a Jubilee bracelet. Superseding fashion, its timeless elegance suited many, from politicians to film stars.

The Classic with pedigree

So what makes the Rolex Datejust so popular? The Rolex Datejust is an iconic watch, which has paved the way and inspired many other Rolex watch styles and models. It is a watch which is great for general wear, a perfect all-rounder. Not only does it have a distinctive look with so many options to adapt it to your personal tastes, it is water resistant, looks great and has a history that is difficult to match. And, of course, which probably does not need to be said, it is highly accurate. With all movements, whether the Calibre 3136 or earlier, being certified as a Swiss Official Chronometer, precision is built in.

What can be seen, though, is whichever Datejust you choose to wear and whichever vintage, the watch still looks fantastic. I have always worn a vintage watch, the one I am currently wearing is older than me, and that look just cannot be replicated. You can feel the history. You know that there is a story there, the timepiece has been present at all stages of life, has been used to check the time, whether to tell the wearer there are hours left or just a few minutes to go. And to be able to be part of that piece's life, as it passes through time, makes wearing a watch like this even more precious. More enjoyable. More special. It does not just tell the time, it adds to the moments. And to top it all, will always look amazing.

You can discover our full collection of pre-owned Rolex Datejust watches online now at Xupes and discover more watch news online at Xupes Magazine.