The first ever watch to have a automatically changing date, placed at the now for many watches normal 3 o’clock position, it was introduced in 1945 when Rolex celebrated its 40 year birthday. The watch is very similar to the Bubbleback only slightly thicker and is introduced as the Ref 4467 Jubilee in 18k gold with a coin-edged bezel now known as the Rolex Fluted bezel. With it 36mm case it is the flagship of Rolex at the time.
1954 marked the start of changes for the Datejust as the cyclops lens was introduced. And in 1957 the back of the watch became flatter, the bubbleback was removed, with the introduction of the 1065 caliber being slimmer then the old movement. From this year onward the watch is also produced in stainless steel.
Initially as a award for Us Air Force pilots the Rolex Turn-o-Graph nicknamed”Thunderbirds” based on the Datejust is introduced in 1955 with a rotating bezel to measure time in intervals.
The Datejust gets a brother in 1956, the Rolex Day-Date. Although its a smaller brother measuring 34mm in size it will get the nickname “President” as allegedly Rolex gave a Day Date to president Eisenhower. The Day Date was the first wristwatch to have an automatic changing day at the twelve o’clock position. The writing now comes in 28 languages. The Day Date had approximately the same evolution as the Datejust after its introduction apart from the fact that it has always been the more up market watch being only available in precious metals.
The new 3135 caliber is the start of the quick set feature introduced in the seventies. Making it able to set the date independently so without having to turn the time. With the introduction of this caliber the Datejust changed in it looks by getting a new case and different dial design of which now a days there is an abundance. The caliber 3055 did the same for the Day-Date. And it was changed again to the 3155 in 1988 and this featured the “double quickset feature” Both the day and the date could be set.
The Datejust and the Day Date do not have significant changes through out the 80’s and 90’s except for instance the introduction the sapphire mineral crystal glass and the watches become available with a smooth bezel next to the models with the Fluted one. The Datejust now comes in three sizes the 26mm (Ladies),the 31mm (Mid-sized) and the 36mm.
Just like Rolex did with other of its models a second series was released of the Datejust in 2009, the Rolex Datejust II. It has the in house made 3136 caliber which is fitted in a larger 41mm case. And the same happened for the Day-Date with its 41mm case and 3156 movement was brought to the market as the Day-Date II in 2009. Both movements feature the patented Parachrom hairspring.
The Day-Date remains the luxurious one of the two by only being available in gold and in platinum.
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