|Year of production (circa)
Steel & gold
Rolex Datejust Ref. 16233 “Houndstooth Dial”
One of many reasons why a vintage Rolex Datejust is such a desirable watch, is the sheer variety in which they come. Among all of these configurations, some are a lot rarer than others. This happens to be a rather rare example!
Of course the familiar ingredients of the Ref. 16233 are all present here: a 36mm case, a two-tone combination of steel and yellow gold, and a scratch-resistent sapphire crystal to top it all off. But the star of the show here is certainly the dial: a houndstooth diamond dial.
You may be familiar with the ever-fashionable pattern in fabrics, but Rolex decided to put the houndstooth pattern on the dial of their iconic Datejust model. It is executed in a combination of gold and silver tones, with a distinct metallic sheen. This is neigh-on impossible to capture in a photograph, so you will have to see it in person to fully appreciate the effect.
As if that is not enough watchmaking artistry on display, the dial is then finished off with diamond indices, combined with applied Roman numerals in yellow gold. A very tasty combination if you ask us!
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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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