History of the Rolex Day-Date
The Rolex Day-Date is one of the most iconic watches of all time. Throughout its history, it has been the top pick of generals, world leaders, celebrities, and thousands of consumers. It is only natural to wonder where this watch came from, how it gained such widespread appeal, and whether or not you should add one to your collection. Below, I address all of these points and, as a bonus, tell you how to spot a fake Rolex.
Rolex Day-Date Pre-Release
Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, was somewhat of a marketing genius. He knew that if his company was going to become one of the biggest names in the world, it needed to outfit high-profile individuals. That campaign began with outfitting generals. Wilsdorf’s first big win was getting Swiss Army General Guisan to wear one of his pieces. Later, the brand put its watches on the likes of Winston Churchill, and most famously, Dwight Eisenhower. For the latter, Rolex prepared an 18 karat yellow gold timepiece with a custom engraving and gave it to him in 1951. Though Eisenhower was not president at the time, he would soon gain the highest office in the United States.
Getting Its Nickname: The President
The Rolex Day-Date came out in 1956. While somewhat common these days, it was the first watch to ever display both the day of the week and the date. Even better, Rolex manufactured it in yellow gold and platinum as an ultra-luxury timepiece.
The synthesis of these influences made it both a horological masterpiece and a luxurious wrist companion for the upper crust of society.
Eisenhower, who was already regularly wearing a yellow gold Rolex, soon made the switch and started wearing a Day-Date. This was the birth of this timepieces famous nickname, but it didn’t end there, as other presidents wore it too. The most interesting story of them all involves John F. Kennedy. Sources report that Marilyn Monroe gifted a Day-Date to him, and it even had a short love note inscribed on the case back.
Significance in the Modern Era
The design of the Day-Date really hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. In many ways, it is timeless, and Rolex realizes that keeping it nearly the same is a smart move. Their updates instead mostly involve improved craftsmanship and versatility. Another thing that hasn’t changed is that influential people seem to gravitate towards this watch. Warren Buffett, who was the richest man in the world for a few years, has been sporting the same one for decades. Another huge influencer was the fictional character, Tony Soprano. He wore a gold Day-Date in his long-running show, The Sopranos, and it became even more of a status signal.
Place in the Market Right Now
As you can imagine, this watch is still immensely popular. As far as I can tell, there are three aspects of it that people find incredibly alluring.
- History – The first factor that makes this watch appealing is what we’ve been discussing this entire article. It has a rich heritage, has been worn by scores of historical figures, and continues to be a popular choice to this day. Those historic events and endorsements mean a lot to collectors.
- Aesthetics – There is just something so attractive about the design of this watch. I believe that this charm comes from it walking the line between too few and too many design elements. Its no-frills construction makes it easy to look at, while its Roman numerals and texture save it from being too plain.
- Hybrid Approach – Lastly, the Day-Date gives you something that every Rolex product has. That is a combination of incredible resiliency and luxury. The truth is that most brands can only pull off one of those. They either choose delicate products, or they go for pure tool watches. Rolex bucks that trend by delivering both in one gorgeous package.
Should You Get a Rolex Day-Date for Yourself?
There are really only two points that you need to focus on before buying a Day-Date for yourself. The first is price, as these watches are incredibly expensive. You’ll need a lot of cash to get one for yourself, so don’t go falling in love with it unless you’re ready to pay upwards of $15K.
The second question to ask is whether or not it fits your style. While not incredibly flashy, these watches come in precious metals and tend to pop off your wrist when you wear them. If you like a more understated look, then you might want to go in a different direction.
Making Sure It’s Legitimate
Now, it’s time to give you some tips on how to spot a fake Rolex. The big areas to look at are the overall quality, waterproof capabilities, the printing of the logo, the case back, and the weight. If any of these factors don’t feel quite right, you probably have a fake on your hands. Optimally, though, you’ll never have to conduct any tests at all. Buying from a trusted seller with authentic goods is the best way to make that happen.