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Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 ‘Sigma Taupe’
This watch is temporarily unavailable in our boutique as it is being displayed at PAN Amsterdam (hence ‘on hold’) from 14-21 November. It can be viewed and purchased at the fair. Visit www.pan.nl for more info and tickets.
The Rolex Datejust is one of the most iconic watch designs ever put to paper. The original shape was first drawn in 1945 and the same basic design is still produced today, the better part of eight decades later.
One of the most popular generations is the four-digit reference era, of which the Ref. 1601 in steel is arguably the most archetypal Datejust of them all. The white gold fluted bezel, combined with the Jubilee bracelet is simply put an iconic pairing. But it is not exactly rare…
It is not rare, unless you find one with an uncommon dial. And that is what we have here.
White printing on a grey dial is often referred to as a ghost dial. Over time, the grey bleaches to the point that the white printing becomes very hard to read. Only the ghost of the text remains. From a distance, the dial looks completely empty, or ‘sterile’, resulting in a more minimalist and highly attractive aesthetic.
Our ca. 1971 example, however, has not bleached to a white-ish tone. It has darkened to a beautiful warm taupe. While the white text might not have ghosted quite as much as it does on lighter dials, it still optically disappears in many light conditions. On top of this, we also find attractively discoloured vanilla tritium and Sigma signing at six, indicating the use of white gold in the hour markers and hands.
These are the kinds of specialties that turn a common Rolex Datejust into something highly desirable. Especially when the original COSC certificate and warranty booklet are still present, as they are here.
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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!
We do our best to handle packages as soon as possible. This could take a max. of 3 working days. Note that the delivery times commence the day of dispatch.
Unfortunately, we cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by destination customs clearance processes, local duties and taxes, and items that are lost in transit.