Sunday, January 29, 2012
History of Rolex's Flag Ship: Date Day
The Rolex Day Date across the world has become synonymous with class, taste and style. This watch remains one of the most prestigious additions a man can have to his wardrobe.
The Birth of Date Day
The 6511 the "Day Date" had a window at 12 spelling out the day at 12 and the date was shown at 3. Patented July 23. 1955 - officially Released in 1956 after Rolex had been enjoying quite a barren spell in the sale of its complicated timepieces it soon began to revive fortune..
An additional day and date discs and a screw down back it was a very large and thick watch which gave it presence on the wrist. Due to the complexity of the watch, with its automatic movement,. Introduced as a niche model it soon gained the popularity it deserved and after the introduction of the concealed clasp (concealed clasp was offer as $75 option in 1969) it was known as the "President".
Flag Ship Model
The Day Date became Rolex's flagship. The first model (6511) lasted just over a year before it was replaced by the externally identical 6611 with caliber 1055 movement with its free sprung Micro-Stella balance and was the first to be labeled "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" on the dial. This new accuracy standard guaranteed the watch to remain within + 3.0 seconds per day.
Date Day Caliber
In 1959 caliber 1055 was replaced with caliber 1555 in model 1803 (18,000bph) and later In 1965 - model 1803 received caliber 1556 (19,800bph).
In 1977 caliber 3055 (quick-set) was introduced in model 18038.
In 1988 caliber 3155 (double quick-set) was introduced in model 18238.
Caliber 3155 is the caliber still used today in all Day-Date models.
The Day Date earned the nickname the "President" when Rolex reportedly gave one to the then President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower. Some sources say that President Eisenhower was actually given a Date Just with the presidential bracelet. But it is a fact that several other US presidents are known to wear Day-Date (Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, but seems Clinton, Bush and Obama does not wear Rolex Date Day, that may indicate that the recent US President has lost their glory on the wrist than in the past! (Clinton had a Roger Dubuis Muchmore, George Bush Worn a Cheap Electronics Digital watch and Obama has a few including a Tag Huer.)
Shape of the Date Day
These early models appeared rather bulky. In their never ending quest to modernize the basic configuration of the Day Date, Rolex have changed from the bulbous bubbleback look of the early models to the slender shape employed today.
With only a few mild case design changes over the year the first modification to the Day Date was the addition of the hack feature in about 1972. This allowed the second hand to be stopped dead if you wanted to set the time via a preset accurate source.
Material for Date Day
The Day Date was available in white gold, yellow gold, pink gold and platinum although in early 70's the pink gold watch was fazed out. If you had a Date Day in stainless steel, that is a prototype and that can be a great treasure in Auction.
The "Quick set" feature (caliber 3055) solved one of the watches biggest problems. Introduced in the late 1970's Quick set was introduced to all Rolex models by 1983. Instead of turning the crown round and round to change the day the wearer could just pull the button out half way and a few turns at most and the correct date was displayed.
The introduction of the quick set feature also coincided with other developments for the Day Date. The inclusion of the sapphire crystal not only gave the watch a sleeker look but also added to the durability of the watch. Introduced in 1977, the sapphire crystal fitted tighter than the plastic glass employed before and rendered the watch glass scratch proof near enough. The early Day Date models were waterproof to 165 feet (50 meters) while the current model is safe at depths of up to 100 meters. At the same time the current model is much slimmer.
Double Quick Set
Introduced in 1988/89 was the "Double Quick Set" watch with caliber 3155. This was model 18238 and it made the setting of the Day and Date even easier as they could both be done on the button. Rolex has also increasingly expanded their "Crown Collection" to include all types of precious stones by now although they were available with diamonds on the bezel from their introduction.
Pink Gold Date Day
From the end of 2000 the Day Date has been available in pink gold again. The watch has also been introduced with slightly redesigned case with polished lugs, smooth bezel is now domed, a domed sapphire crystal, solid center links on now heavier bracelet and can also come on an oyster bracelet to bring it in line with many of their other models.
Sham Shui Po Snob