Of course, we all know about the Rolex Day-Date, not only because it is one of the brand’s most emblematic and most prestigious models, not only because it exists for decades, not only because of its sculptural, rather ostentatious look, not only because of its highly legible, copied thousands of times display of the day and date but also because it has been the watch worn by heads of industries, presidents, visionaries and leaders. Never a watch had such a representation amongst the elites. Iconic wouldn’t summarize this watch, which celebrates this year its 60th anniversary. And to honor this, here is the Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary Edition with Green dial, ref. 228235 and ref. 228239.
“The Rolex Day-Date is named the “President’s Watch” because Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Reagan, Nixon and Roosevelt were all wearers of this icon”
A brief history of the Rolex Day-Date
The first model of the Rolex Day-Date lineage, the Ref. 6511, from 1956
In 1945 Rolex launched the Datejust, making a crucial innovation: placing the date in a window at 3, printed on a jumping disc, with a quick date mechanism, meaning that the date was always just – that might seem rather simple today, as most watches do feature such a complication, but at that time, it was more than significant. This watch became immediately a success, by achieving a perfect mix between casual wearability and luxurious attitude. 11 years later, in 1956, Rolex added a new complication to this watch, the display of the day, visible in a circular cut-out in the dial at 12 (a feature that is still today part of the model). The Rolex Day-Date, even more luxurious than the Datejust, as (almost) only available in precious metals, gained an unexpected aura, and a nickname: the President’s Watch. This is due to one man, President Eisenhower. The 5-Star General then President has been a strong ambassador of the brand, since Rolex had reportedly given him a Day-Date – some sources state that it was actually a Datejust on a President bracelet – several photos who’s him wearing a Rolex Datejust, which also happened to be the 150,000th officially certified Rolex. What is certain though is that several following US Presidents have been wearers of this watch, such as Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Reagan, Nixon and Roosevelt. The legend was born.
The first Rolex Day-Date was the ref. 6511, a watch with already all the iconic features of the actual editions, such as the display with date at 3 and day at 12 or the fluted bezel. This watch had a short life, as replaced the year after by ref. 6611, introducing a new movement, the 1055 (you can already recognize the xx55 Rolex nomenclature for Day-Date complication). The following evolution came in 1959, with the ref. 1803, using calibre 1555, and showing an updated design, following the other Rolex models, with cleaner dials, hands and indexes.
From left to right, ref. 6511, ref. 6611, ref. 18xx and ref. 18xxx
A important evolution came with the ref. 18xxx, which, in 1977, introduced the quick date feature. Instead of continuously turning the crown to reach the desired date, an adjustment was possible by the second position of the crown, only affecting the date display. End of the 1980s, the Rolex Day-Date received its most famous movement, the 3155 (which is still use today in the 36mm version), with “Double Quick Set”. Then, in 2008, Rolex followed the trend for larger watches, introducing next to the traditional 36mm version, a Day-Date II with 41mm case. This watch has been replaced in 2015 by a superb edition, with smaller (40mm), slimmer and more elegant case and with brand new, innovative movement, calibre 3255. This is this exact watch that is used as a base for the 60th anniversary Edition we’re about to show you.
The Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary Edition Green Dial
Here it is, the jubilee (pun-intended) version of the President’s watch. It’s not so usual for Rolex to do commemorative watches or to have limited editions. Of course, this watch won’t change the rule. It is not limited, not numbered or not officially exclusive. So don’t see it as an investment piece. However, be sure that it won’t be common anyway. You probably won’t see may of them around, which makes it of course even more desirable. For this Day-Date 60th anniversary, Rolex plays with all the iconic features of the brand: applied Roman numerals, fluted bezel, President bracelet, gold case and finally, and that’s what makes this watch so special, a dial bearing Rolex’s hallmark color, dark green.
Green is of course THE color of the brand. On the Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary, this green dial is combined with Everose gold or White gold for all the parts of the dial, and matching with the case’s material. The hands, the inscription, the applied logo at 12 and the indexes are all in rose or white gold, creating an interesting contrast with the green dial. Talking about the numerals, Rolex chose to use here the newly introduced, highly sculptural Roman numerals, faceted and stylized. To be honest, they are just splendid and perfectly manufactured. They give a great depth to the dial and play with light reflections. Of course, some will prefer more discreet batons, but on this 60th anniversary edition, this option is not possible.
For the rest, the Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary is totally identical to the watch Rolex introduced at Baselworld 2015. We find back the slimmer, more elegant and slightly smaller 40mm case. The bezel, of course fluted to respect the tradition of the model, is also better proportioned than on the Day-Date II, giving the entire watch a more balanced look. The second update concerns the bracelet, which goes back to the “President” look – 3 half-rounded links alternating polished and satined surfaces. The new version of the bracelet is now integrated to the case and features ceramic inserts into the links, for more flexibility and durability (again the search for reliability so dear to Rolex).
Inside the case is the brand’s new calibre, the 3255, which features multiple improvements. The 3255 consumes less energy (thanks to the new Chronergy escapement) and stores more into its barrel (with larger spring than before). As a result, the power reserve jumps to 70 hours. It features a variable-inertia balance wheel with the Parachrom spiral for both a very high accuracy and a good resistance to magnetic fields. The gear train and the lubricants have been improved for more durability and finally, the finishing of the parts is nicer than before. Just like all Rolex watches since 2015, the movement is certified “Superlative Chronometer” and runs into -2/+2 seconds / day and is now guaranteed to 5 years.
This Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary keeps all the great attributes of its normal siblings, which clearly won’t make us sad. The new dial is great looking for sure, even if not the most discreet. But that’s a matter of tastes. Its exclusivity will for sure make it rather collectible. It will be available in Everose Gold (Ref. 228235) and in White Gold (228239). Price is 34,400 Euros (inc. VAT).
Specifications of the Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary
- Case: 40mm – Everose (pink) gold or white gold – sapphire crystal on front – 100m water resistant
- Movement: calibre 3255 – automatic – 70h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, date and day of the week
- Bracelet: solid gold President bracelet with hidden folding clasp
- Ref. 228235 (rose gold) and ref. 228239 (white gold)