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Rolex Datejust II Vs. Datejust 41: An In-Depth Comparison

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Rolex Datejust II Vs. Datejust 41 An In-Depth Comparison

The Rolex Datejust, a symbol of Rolex’s dedication to innovation and enduring design, has evolved, seamlessly blending its traditional charm with modern tastes via models such as the Datejust II and Datejust 41

This article aims to illuminate the subtle but crucial distinctions between the Datejust II and Datejust 41. It provides a detailed comparison to assist potential buyers in determining which model best suits their style and needs.

Historical Context and Popularity

The Rolex Datejust is a watch with a storied history, gracing wrists since its initial unveiling in 1945. It holds the distinguished title of being the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date function on the dial.

The first Datejust piece came in a mesmerizing yellow-gold body with a fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet- aptly fitting Rolex’s 40th-anniversary celebration. Over the decades, the traditional Datejust has evolved, with variations including the Lady-Datejust and mid-size editions, making it a mainstay and the best-selling Rolex collection of all time. The biggest watches in the Datejust collection had a 36mm diameter- mainly crafted for men but accepted by female watch enthusiasts with time, making them unisex gems.

In response to a trend toward larger watches, Rolex introduced the Datejust II in 2009, endowed with a more contemporary size of 41mm in diameter. The Datejust II catered to a growing audience seeking a robust presence on the wrist. 

However, it didn’t remain popular for long and was discontinued several years after its production. Some Rolex enthusiasts thought it was too in-your-face and they preferred a quieter, more graceful, yet equally larger Datejust model.

The good news is you can still find it in the secondary and pre-owned markets. Its condition, material, and retailer determine its final price. A widely accepted fact is golden Datejust IIs typically sell for more than their steel counterparts.

The Rolex Datejust 41mm emerged in 2016- replacing the Datejust II. This current production Datejust refines the sturdy design further and has since caught the attention of watch enthusiasts, maintaining the classic Rolex aesthetic while offering updated features.

1945Rolex DatejustIntroduced as the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date function
2009Rolex Datejust IIUpdated to a 41mm case diameter, reflecting a trend for larger watches
2016Rolex Datejust 41Launched with refined features and an updated movement

These iterations of the Rolex Datejust have retained high popularity and cemented the collection’s place as an iconic representative of the luxury watch market. 

Collectors often discuss the subtle differences between the Datejust II and Datejust 41, indicating just how pivotal these models are in the collection’s lineage.

Visual and Design Differences


The Rolex Datejust II and Datejust 41 vary most in terms of case size, bezel thickness, and lug design.

  • Case Size: Both the Datejust II and Datejust 41 luxury watches share the same 41mm case diameter. Despite this measurement, these two Rolex models present distinctly on the wrist. The Datejust 41 is perceived to wear slightly smaller and less bulky, radiating a more refined and modern appearance.
  • Bezel Thickness: The bezel on the two watches is another differentiating element. The Datejust 41’s bezel is noticeably slimmer, enhancing the watch’s sleek profile. Conversely, the Datejust II features a thicker bezel, which contributes to the watch’s more substantial and stout feel.

Note: The Datejust II came with a fluted bezel only. It serves to remind watch fans that although the watch is sports-themed, it still reflects Rolex’s unmatched expertise of elegance and well-balanced aesthetic appeal.

On the other hand, the Datejust 41 is available in fluted (for the more sophisticated watch aficionados) and smooth (for the more casual watch enthusiasts) bezel options.

  • Lug Design: The lugs of these Rolex models significantly influence their overall aesthetics. The Datejust II has thicker lugs which are broader and flat, augmenting its commanding presence compared to the Datejust 41 lugs, which taper more sharply, resulting in a more elegant and classic contour.

In summary, while the Datejust II and Datejust 41 may seem similar at a glance, a closer examination reveals subtle yet significant differences in case size perception, bezel thickness, and lug design. 

Each watch caters to different tastes, with the Datejust 41 offering a more contemporary and sleek profile, and the Datejust II projecting a robust and assertive persona. The choice between the two extends beyond mere functionality, diving into the realm of personal style and aesthetic preference.

Technical Specifications and Movement


The Rolex Datejust II and Datejust 41 are equipped with distinct movements that represent advancement in Rolex’s watchmaking technology. 

The Datejust II operates on the Caliber 3136 movement, an evolution of the Caliber 3135 with enhancements crafted for a larger case, such as a larger mainplate to contain the bigger date wheel. This movement includes high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, which offer greater shock resistance.

In contrast, the Datejust 41 is powered by the Caliber 3235, which is a more recent development by Rolex. 

It showcases notable improvements, particularly in terms of power reserve and accuracy. It provides a substantial power reserve of up to 70 hours and higher magnetic resistance thanks to its high-capacity barrel and greater use of nickel-phosphorus alloy, compared to the 48 hours found in the Datejust II.

FeatureDatejust II (Caliber 3136)Datejust 41 (Caliber 3235)
Power ReserveUp to 48 hoursUp to 70 hours
Shock ResistanceHigh-Performance Paraflex shock absorbersStandard Paraflex shock absorbers
AccuracyCOSC certification standardsCOSC + Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer certification

The Caliber 3235 also employs Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement, which contributes to greater efficiency and reliability of the movement. 

Additionally, Rolex asserts that their watches with the Caliber 3235 achieve an accuracy of +/-2 seconds per day, surpassing the already stringent standards required for COSC certification and representing a stride forward in precision.

Both movements are a testament to Rolex’s dedication to enhancing the functionality and robustness of their timepieces while maintaining the prestige and craftsmanship that define the brand.

Options and Variability

When comparing the Rolex Datejust II and the Datejust 41, there are notable differences in the options and variability each model offers.


The Datejust II is available in a limited range of materials, typically stainless steel or a combination of stainless steel and yellow gold (Yellow Rolesor) and stainless steel and white gold (White Rolesor). 

In contrast, the Datejust 41 extends its material options to include Oystersteel and three Rolesor alternatives: Yellow Rolesor, White Rolesor, and Everose Rolesor, catering to a broader audience seeking luxury and variety. 

It may not be as rich in variety as Datejust 36mm and other models in the Datejust catalog for now, but we believe it’s because it’s still (relatively) new in the luxury watch market.

Dial Options

Dial variety is another area where the two models differ significantly. 

The Datejust II presents fewer choices, generally offering standard luminescent indexes, diamond indexes, Solid Roman, Slate Roman, and Arabic hour markers. 


It also has more limited dial color options, i.e., metallic gray, blue, silver, black, and champagne, to emphasize its sporty characteristic.

Conversely, the Datejust 41 steps ahead with a diverse array of dial options, such as:

  • Luminescent baton markers
  • Roman numerals
  • Diamond hour markers

It also has richer and more expressive dial colors such as Mother of Pearl, chocolate sunburst, rhodium gray, silver, white, and black. 


These expansive choices allow for greater personalization and cater stylishly to different tastes.

Bracelet Styles

The Datejust II comes exclusively in a three-link Oyster bracelet- the band of choice for tool watches in the Rolex catalog such as the Submariner, Explorer, Daytona, and GMT-Master II. This further solidifies its standing as a luxury sports timepiece.

Meanwhile, the Datejust 41 provides additional versatility with selections ranging from the Oyster to the Jubilee bracelet. This choice allows for personal customization to suit different styles and preferences.

The Datejust 41’s broader selection across these categories positions it as the more versatile option for potential buyers, showcasing Rolex’s commitment to evolving consumer preferences with advanced and diverse offerings.

Recommendations for Buyers

When selecting between the Rolex Datejust II and the Rolex Datejust 41, buyers should consider key factors such as style preference, wrist size, and the importance of movement technology.

  • Style Preference: Individuals who prefer a watch with a more contemporary and bolder appearance may lean towards the Datejust II, which presents a larger and more robust presence on the wrist. For those seeking a refined and updated aesthetic with more subtle and slender lines, the Datejust 41 is an excellent choice.
  • Wrist Size: The Datejust II typically appears larger, although they share a similar case size. This can be a deciding factor depending on one’s wrist size. Large wrists might find the Datejust II proportionally suitable. Smaller to medium wrists could favor the Datejust 41 for its less imposing profile.
  • Movement Technology: There is a notable difference in their mechanics. The Datejust 41 uses the recent caliber 3235 movement, which offers advantages such as a higher power reserve and improved efficiency. Alternatively, the older Datejust II includes the caliber 3136 movement, which is by no means a slouch, delivering Rolex’s renowned precision and reliability.

Here’s a quick breakdown for clarity:

ConsiderationDatejust IIDatejust 41
StyleContemporary, BoldRefined, Subtle
Wrist SizeBetter for large wristsBetter for smaller/medium wrists
MovementCaliber 3136Caliber 3235 (enhanced features)

Each model retains the classic elements of the classic Datejust line. Buyers should weigh these aspects against personal preferences and practicality for everyday wear.


1. Why was Datejust 2 discontinued?

The Datejust II was discontinued in 2016 to make way for its successor, the Datejust 41. Rolex decided to update the design and introduce new technological advancements with the newer model, reflecting the brand’s continuous pursuit of refinement and improvement in its timepiece offerings.

2. What is the difference between Datejust and Datejust II?

The primary differences between the original Datejust and the Datejust II lie in size and movement. The Datejust traditionally has a 36mm case, while the Datejust II features a larger 41mm case. Additionally, the Datejust II houses a Caliber 3136 movement, which includes Rolex’s Parachrom hairspring and a Paraflex shock absorption system.

3. What is the difference between Datejust 2 and Datejust 41?

The Datejust 2 and Datejust 41 differ primarily in the movement and aesthetics. Datejust 41 boasts an updated Caliber 3235 movement with an enhanced power reserve of up to 70 hours, compared to the Datejust II Caliber 3136 with approximately 48 hours of power reserve. Furthermore, the Datejust 41 introduces refined lugs and a thinner bezel for a more balanced profile.

4. Is Rolex Datejust II a good investment?

Rolex watches, including the Datejust II, are generally considered solid investments due to their strong resale value over time. The Datejust II’s relatively short production run can contribute to its collectibility and appeal to certain watch enthusiasts and collectors who seek out discontinued models.


The debate between the Rolex Datejust II and the Rolex Datejust 41 is often centered around subtle but important distinctions. 

The Datejust 41 offers a refined movement with a 70-hour power reserve compared to the 48-hour reserve of its predecessor. Moreover, it has a sleeker profile and increased design options.

The Datejust II has its own merits, such as the incorporation of high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers that enhance the robustness of the watch. Collectors appreciate the Datejust II for its significance in the Rolex lineage and its robust build.

FeatureRolex Datejust IIRolex Datejust 41
Power Reserve48 hours70 hours
Shock AbsorbersHigh-Performance ParaflexStandard
Case ProfileThickerThinner

The Rolex Datejust II and Datejust 41 exemplify the brand’s commitment to precision and sophistication. When choosing, individuals should assess their preferences for style and advanced features. The Datejust II offers a classic appeal with its robust design, while the Datejust 41 introduces refined aesthetics and the latest technological advancements.

With each model’s unique qualities, they cater to different segments of the watch-buying public, effectively broadening the allure of the Rolex Datejust lineage.

Key Takeaways

  • The Datejust II features the Caliber 3136 with robust performance, while the Datejust 41 upgrades to the Caliber 3235, offering a longer power reserve and improved accuracy.
  • Though both have a 41mm case, the Datejust 41 provides more customization with slimmer bezels, tapered lugs, and varied materials and dials than the Datejust II.
  • The Datejust II’s limited production run may enhance its collectibility, whereas the Datejust 41’s technological advancements and customization options appeal to modern preferences.

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