This year, the fluted bezel version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 finally debuts in 950 platinum. It is a testament to the sheer power of the Day-Date’s legacy that any and all updates and additions to the collection are such a delight.
In 1956, the first Oyster Perpetual Day-Date dial fascinated the world when it was launched. It was also the first-ever watch to display the full name of each day of the week. More so, the days of the week were displayed in an arc-shaped window at 12 o’clock. A technical feat at the time, the day of the week is now available in a choice of 26 languages.
With numerous improvements to the movements that drive the watches, the collection has undergone more technical than aesthetic changes over the years. How little the Rolex Day-Date has changed in terms of appearance reaffirms its timeless design.
The history of the iconic Rolex Day-Date
The Day-Date’s bracelet played a key role in its design success. As with Rolex’s Datejust and its corresponding Jubilee bracelet, the Day-Date came with its own exclusive bracelet: the three-link President. Created specially for the launch of the Day-Date in 1956, the refined President bracelet, made only from 18 ct gold or 950 platinum, is inherent to the standing of the watch. The contrasted polished and satin-finished links provided an elegant (and often copied) look. Meanwhile the well-hidden Crownclasp kept the whole thing looking seamless.
The President bracelet was not given its official name until a decade after its launch. After then-US President Lyndon Johnson was spotted wearing a gold Day-Date in 1965, Rolex began advertising it as the “the president’s watch”, and the name has stuck ever since. Today, the President bracelet is reserved exclusively for Day-Date watches and precious-metal versions of the Datejust.
(Read more: Rolex’s Lady-Datejust is a watch for powerful women)
Newly patented Cyclops lens, fluted bezel and ice-blue dial
The Rolex Day-Date isn’t just distinct for its day window and luxurious bracelet. Rolex fitted the watch with its newly patented Cyclops lens, a specially shaped magnifying lens above the date window that enlarges the digits for easy reading. The Cyclops lens is one of the brand’s most recognisable features because it is available on almost all Rolex watches with dates.
The second is the fluted bezel — a key component of the world’s first waterproof watch, the Rolex Oyster, in 1926. To hermetically seal the bezel and caseback to the middle case, both were fluted to make screwing them down easier. Rolex has obviously developed far more advanced methods for ensuring water-tightness. However, the fluted bezel remains a striking design option in its modern watches.
The last historical tidbit is the ice-blue dial. This shade is unique to platinum Rolex watches, thus distinguishing them from their steel and white gold counterparts. This year, there are three new Day-Date 40 references with this dial colour. This includes one with Roman numerals, another with a checkerboard motif dial, and one with diamond hour markers.
Like other Day-Date 40 watches revealed in recent years, the power comes from the calibre 3255, a movement developed and manufactured by Rolex that was unveiled on the model in 2015. Having the Superlative Chronometer Certification means it passed the COSC certification process and underwent further in-house tests to ensure deviations are no more than -2/+2 seconds a day. The movement can survive depths of up to 100m, and 70 hours without winding.
Find out more: Rolex