Sunday, November 2, 2014

The legendary Rolex Day Date Ref 1803

You’re not ready!
You’re young.
You haven’t been with the company all that long.
You’re not quite sure of your position.
Maybe in a few years, when you’re a little bit established.
But not yet.
Of course, if you disagree, you can visit an official Rolex jeweler!
This is a Rolex Advertisement for Rolex Day Date set with Diamonds in 1980’s! A bit ironry.

Very often I'm asked which Rolex watch that I fond of most. My reply, without hesitation, would be the Day Date 1803.

I have a few early Day Dates in my collection. A Particular piece is a 18KT Yellow Gold 1803 that has witnessed these moment in time such as  1967 riot in Hong Kong,  Wall Street crisis on Oct. 19 1987,  the US Challenger disaster on Jan 28 1986, the June 4 1989 Tiananmen incident and the 
Occupy Central taken place in Hong Kong for more than 36 days up to now!

The Events are memorial and worth human being to take time to think about what we have went wrong, but the Rolex is everything close to perfect.

These Rolex 1803 have been running all these years, day and night, without any sign of wear and tear after half of a century.  The one that I always use remains accurate, quiet, reliable and most of all look handsome all the time.

President Watch
The Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, the only Rolex watch that shows both day and the date simultaneously, was born in 1956. Originally, it was designed and made exclusively for those who are holding an important position of a company like a president and hence the model name President. It is still being manufactured today. It is one of the most prestigious models of all Rolex Watches.

It has many major advanced features as the DATE JUST plus additional Day wheel that has been gone through a series of technological advancement allow change day and date simultaneously at mid-night without taking excessive energy from the mainspring. It has a Perpetual Rotor for Automatic winding; screw down crown, Date with Cyclops magnifying glass at 3 o'clock position and Day display at 12 o'clock; water resistant to 100 meters.

The case is 36 by 13 mm. 1803 is non-quick-set with plastic crystal.  We have to first advance the hours hands to change the right day and then using the forward one quarter and back one quarter at 2345- 0000 to change the Date. It sounds a bit clumsy but with this design, it has mess components, hence the watch is and thinner compare with the later generation 18038 single-quick-set with sapphire crystal started from 1977; and 118238 double-quick-set with sapphire crystal since around 1994 (double-quick-set referring to quick-set for both day and date).

Material for Day Date is limited to precious metals like 18kt yellow, pink, white gold or Platinum. There is no stainless steel Rolex Day Date. I have not seen any one of those someone told me that there are 7 pieces of Day Date that were said made with Stainless Steel.

The fun of collecting Rolex Day Date 1803 starts with choices of material, colour and design of the dial. One can choose dial material from Onyx, jade, birch, Oak, Lapis Lazuli, Aventurine, tiger eye, just to name a few more…. Plus many other choice of colors is available like Stella Red, Green, Turquoise, yellow, Chicken-blood Red, black, blue, purple, white, champagne gold, silver, white.

In design, there is strip form, round dot, door step, embedded with 8 diamonds hour index, diamond bezel with 44 diamonds. All these materials, color and designs provide can come up with thousands of different combinations. That drives all Rolex collectors crave for…

Courtesy Picture of HK Rolex Collector "Raymond"
These are Rolex Day Date Ref 1803, left in Black White Gold, Stella Red with Diamond Dial with Chinese Day wheel, Black with strip index and creamy matt White dial on the right.

There are quite a number of Day Date collectors in Hong Kong.  They share the same reasons: good fun with minimum amount of money, and attractive return of investment. Yet, a simple 1803 yellow with Champagne gold dial with strip hour index with leather strap that cost about HK$23,000  ten years ago worth HKD$40,000 now. Another example is a platinum Day Date with Stella blue dial set with 8 diamonds, currently worth HKD$260,000 was just HKD$90,000 ten years ago. Rare one could enjoy even higher appreciation over years.

Stella Dial
Rolex made a series of colored dials with a multi-layered lacquer coat in 1970’s referred to as Stella dials,

Stella which means star in Italian, it was a name bestowed only by collectors because they glisten in the light, giving the impression of shining stars of porcelain and there is a certain translucency when you look at it closely. They are also sometimes being called Stellina dials.

In fact Rolex didn’t actually call these Stella dials.  There are many attractive Stellas made on Ref 1803 between 1970-1985 though Rolex did not actually call these Stella Dials.

During that time Rolex produced these colored lacquer dials, they weren’t very popular and not being welcome by the local HK Chinese, as I could recalled I saw a Green Stella for than 6 months in a Rolex shop no one bought it, until one day the Salesman bought it by himself with staff price. Now that Ref 1803 with Stella Red is probably the most sought after Day Date.

Rarity, which is one of the Concern in looking for Vintage
Watch beside, Condition, price and Quality.

In the last 10 years, collectors have revisited the Stella dials, finding them quite beautiful and appealing, accepted as an unisex watch due to the optimum size of 36mm. Many people decorated them with alligator strap of matching colour.

And they have a lot of different dial colour that would work like opium to stimulate you for enlarging your Day Date Collection. Also they are still quite affordable as far as of today, Thought their price has been double for two times in the past 8 years, Such as the Stella Red was just HKD$80,000 in 2007 and now there is no one want to sell you for HKD$160,000!

HK Snob


Andy Lew said...

Will be macau next month.
where will be a good place to find preown rolex?
Looking for dayday 118238
thks in advance!

HK Snob said...

Hi Andy

You will not miss it, as there are over 50 shop seelling watches beside Lisboa Hotel.

but note some of the watch prices is very Expensive!

HK Snob

Anonymous said...

hi there, i was poisoned by your blog and got myself a 1803 non-lume. pretty watch,. but i noticed after afew months later, the yellow gold is turning a reddish brown. is this normal???

HK Snob said...

Hi There
that is normal.
I like that colour, if you do not like it. You can use a jewelry cloth to wipe it off. It is the passivation of gold.

If you collect watch, people advises you not to wipe it as this is the proof of the watch has not been Touched, cleaned at all.

HK Snob

HK Snob