|Year of production (circa)||
Gold / steel
Rolex Datejust Ref. 1600
The design diversity of the Datejust never ceases to amaze us. Rolex was able to create an everyday watch in a variety of styles throughout the years, including the reference 1600 you see here. This Datejust offers a smooth bezel that brings a dressier touch than the fluted and crenelated bezels of its sister references 1601 and 1603, with which you are probably more familiar. The rest of the magical ingredients are still there, from the 36 mm waterproof Oyster case to the perfectly legible date at 3 o’clock. In the end, the Datejust remains a classic that does not need much explanation.
Being a four-digit reference Datejust, you get the beautiful step-dial with its added dimensionality. The movement is pre-quickset, but since you are unlikely to ever take this watch off your wrist, you will only have to correct it every other month. That’s a tiny sacrifice for a beauty like this!
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The Rolex Datejust is one of the most iconic watch designs ever made. We try not to use the term “iconic” too liberally, but it is surely justified here. Launched back in 1945 as the Ref. 4467, the design has been only marginally updated every now and then. And it has looked fresh and current ever since.
When it comes to vintage, two generations of Datejust are particularly popular; the Ref. 16xx and the later five-digit references. The 16xx models were made from the fifties until roughly 1978 and feature a beautifully dimensional pie-pan dial. Many of these came on folded jubilee bracelets and they did not yet feature a quickset date.
When the reference was updated to five digits around 1978, the pie-pan dial was replaced by a flat dial. The caliber was updated to now feature a quickset date. A decade later, in 1988, a new update saw the introduction of a sapphire crystal. For us, this is where vintage Datejust becomes modern Datejust.
Countless variations can be found. Different bezels, bracelets, dial colors, sizes and materials. The Datejust is one of the most beloved and versatile watches around. If you are looking for a one-watch-collection, that works equally well with shorts as it does with a three-piece suit, the Datejust is probably a pretty safe bet!
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