Rolex Datejust History
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The Rolex Datejust: A watch of great distinction.
The Datejust was introduced in 1945 in conjunction with the Rolex Company’s 40th Anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the brand created a timepiece that was different than any other watch offered at the time. What emerged was the Datejust, the first self-winding wristwatch with a date window on the dial.
The original Datejust model 4467 was only available in 18 karat gold and had a small bubble back winder with a deeply domed back. It also featured a waterproof Oyster case, a fluted bezel, and a 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 crystal directly above the date and increases 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 flat case back, giving the watch a slimmer profile.
One of the most noteworthy versions of the Datejust is the Turn-o-Graph, model 1625, which was released in 1955. The Turn-o-Graph, also nicknamed the Thunderbird, featured a gold Turn-o-Graph bezel, which allowed the timepiece to function as a stopwatch. This model was awarded to United States Airforce pilots after returning from combat missions.
By the 1970’s, the Datejust gained widespread popularity, particularly within the film industry. For the past forty years, the Datejust has appeared on the wrist of a variety of actors, including Michael Caine in Get Carter, Paul Newman in The Color of Money, and Christian Bale in American Psycho.
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 modern trend of more sizeable watches, the Datejust II also features a noticeably larger case size at 41mm.
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, which is part of its enduring appeal. Since its inception, it has served as the modern archetype of the classic watch and the forerunner for other favorite Rolex models like the Explorer and Submariner. Today, the Datejust continues to be one of the most prominent watches in the Rolex line-up.