Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 “Japanese dial”

This is the quintessential Rolex Datejust!

The Rolex Datejust is an iconic watch. I know, it is a term thrown around way too easily, but hear me out:

Rolex watch designs evolve, rather than revolutionize. The roots of the Oyster case can be traced back to the 1920’s and slow, incremental steps lead to the now familiar design. The Datejust as a line of its own was launched in 1945 and lasts until today. And Rolex have managed to maintain the design by continuously finetuning it ever so slightly, just before it would become aesthetically necessary. The result? A 2020 Datejust looks extremely similar to a 1945 Datejust. And both look timeless and fresh.

The design has become somewhat of a watch archetype over time. You only have to browse a typical entry-level jeweler’s watch catalogue to find countless watches that have (intentionally or without knowing it) copied elements of the Datejust. In fact, it is tough to draw a watch without accidentally copying design elements of the trusty DJ. I think it is fair to label a design as iconic if this is the case!

So within an iconic lineup, this is probably the most iconic execution. 1601, implying a pie-pan dial and white gold fluted bezel. But this one has something special that you might not notice at first sight: A Japanese dial. This variation features no lume. The hands are filled black and the applied indexes have no tritium either. The devil is in the details!

Year 1973 Tags ,


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Year of production (circa)