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Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601
Allow us to present to you the epitome of the Rolex Datejust!
The Rolex Datejust holds an unparalleled status in the realm of iconic watches. Now, I understand that the term “iconic” is often tossed around casually, but let me elaborate:
Rolex’s approach to watch design can be described as an evolution rather than a revolution. The foundation of the renowned Oyster case can be traced back to the 1920s, and through incremental advancements, it has gradually transformed into the familiar and beloved design we recognize today. The Datejust, as a distinct line within Rolex, was introduced in 1945 and has remained a prominent presence ever since. Rolex has skillfully preserved the design by consistently fine-tuning it with subtle adjustments, ensuring it remains aesthetically relevant. The outcome? A 2023 Datejust bears an uncanny resemblance to its 1945 counterpart, both exuding a timeless and rejuvenated allure.
Over time, the Datejust has assumed the stature of a watch archetype. A mere glimpse through the pages of a typical entry-level jeweler’s watch catalog reveals countless timepieces that have consciously or inadvertently incorporated elements inspired by the Datejust. In fact, it is a daunting task to sketch a watch design without unintentionally borrowing from the distinctive characteristics of this reliable companion. I believe it is only fair to designate a design as truly iconic when it has such a profound influence!
This specific 1601 dates back to 1965 and features the caliber 1560, which is the predecessor of the caliber 1570. Executed with the iconic silver sunburst dial paired with a jubilee bracelet you can’t go wrong with.
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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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