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The Complete Guide to the Rolex Day-Date “President” Watch

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rolex day date guide

The Rolex Day-Date is an iconic timepiece known for its elegant design and exceptional craftsmanship. Often referred to as the “Rolex President” or “Presidential” watch, this prestigious model has been worn by various world leaders, including U.S. Presidents. Its unique combination of style and functionality makes it a standout choice for those seeking an exceptional luxury watch.

The popularity of this watch has been sustained by its luxurious appeal, exceptional craftsmanship, and the prestigious list of individuals who have donned it, including U.S. Presidents like Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and even John F. Kennedy. 

The retail price of the Rolex Day-Date varies depending on the specific model, with prices ranging from S$20,000 to S$78,000. The most popular model from the Day-Date collection, the Rolex Day-Date President Ref. 18238, retails at S$20,500. With a rich history and undeniable allure, the Rolex Day-Date is more than just a timepiece, it’s a statement of success and prestige.

Brief History

The first Rolex Day-Date, a flagship timepiece in Rolex’s collection, made its debut in 1956, according to the Rolex website The watch was only available in 18-carat gold and platinum variants, with references 6510 (domed bezel) and 6511 (fluted bezel) being the original versions. This impressive wristwatch not only displays the date but also made history as the world’s first watch to showcase the day of the week.

The Day-Date gained its nickname “The President” when it became connected to influential political figures. It all began in the 1950s with Rolex gifting an 18K gold DateJust to General Eisenhower. This association with high-profile individuals got stronger when celebrities like 20th-century Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, were seen wearing the Rolex Day-Date on their wrists.

Over the years, the Rolex Day-Date underwent a few design changes. In 2008, Rolex introduced the Day-Date II ref. 218238 to celebrate the company’s centennial anniversary. This version increased the diameter to 41mm until 2015 when the secondary naming convention was dropped and the watch was redesigned with a 40mm case.

The Rolex Day-Date is still in production, but specific models like the Rolex Day-Date II have been phased out. The watch’s movement has also evolved over time to incorporate advancements in watchmaking technology and maintain its exceptional precision and reliability.

Pricing and Value of the Rolex Day-Date Watch

The Rolex Day-Date is known for its solid investment value. The demand for these watches continues to grow, which in turn helps increase their resale value. For instance, the Rolex Day-Date 218238 had a retail price of S$48,900, while the platinum Day-Date (228206) had a price of S$89,300. With inflation, these prices have increased over time.

It’s worth noting that even in volatile markets, Rolex Day-Date models tend to hold their value well. As a result, purchasing a Day-Date watch can be considered a stable investment in your portfolio.

Buying from The Pre-Owned Market

The pre-owned market offers a wide variety of Rolex Day-Date models often at more competitive prices. For example, Rolex Day-Date collection watches typically sell for between S$13,170 – S$159,472 privately. If you decide to shop in the pre-owned market, you will benefit from a large selection and potentially lower prices compared to retail.

Keep in mind that while pre-owned watches may come at a lower price, it’s essential to consider their condition and history before making a purchase.

Considerations for a Trusted Dealer

Choosing a trusted dealer is crucial when purchasing Rolex Day-Date watches. To ensure you’re making a wise investment, here are some factors to consider:

  • Reputation: Research the dealer’s reputation online through customer reviews and ratings. Look for a history of satisfied customers and a strong standing in the industry.
  • Authentication: Ensure that the dealer has a process for verifying the authenticity of the watches they sell. Authentic Rolex timepieces should come with original documentation, such as a warranty card, box, and serial numbers.
  • Warranty: A reputable dealer should offer a warranty on the watch, whether it’s a manufacturer’s warranty or their own. This gives you peace of mind when making your purchase.
  • Return Policy: Understand the dealer’s return policy to ensure that you can return or exchange the watch if necessary.

By carefully considering your dealer options, you can confidently invest in a Rolex Day-Date watch that retains its value over time and enjoy a luxurious timepiece that reflects your personal success and style.

Key Features of The Rolex President Day-Date

Day and Date Windows

rolex day date 18238 date and day window

The Rolex President Day-Date is known for its unique day and date display, which provides you with the convenience of seeing both the day of the week and the date. The day is displayed at the 12 o’clock position, while the date appears in a window at the 3 o’clock position. It’s worth noting that the day is available in 26 languages, showcasing Rolex’s attention to detail and accommodating various users.


rolex day date 18238 dial

The Day-Date’s dial is designed with elegance and readability in mind. With various options available, you can choose from different colors, materials, and even hour marker styles to suit your preferences.

For instance, the dial of the Rolex Day-Date Ref. 18238 typically features applied baton hour markers, although other iterations with Arabic or Roman numeral hour markers exist. The hour markers and the Rolex hands are often made of 18-karat gold to prevent tarnishing, adding a touch of opulence to the dial. The Day-Date Ref. 18238’s dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, ensuring the watch’s longevity and preserving its pristine look.

No matter which dials you choose, the quality and craftsmanship are evident, ensuring that your watch remains distinguished and stylish.


rolex day date 18238 case

Rolex makes sure their cases are sturdy and durable, and the Day-Date is no exception. The 36mm case is made of 18k yellow gold, which not only provides a luxurious look but also ensures longevity. Furthermore, the case is equipped with a Twinlock winding crown, sealing the watch to ensure water resistance of up to 100 meters.


rolex day date 18238 bezel

The President Day-Date’s bezel adds a touch of sophistication to the overall design. Made from 18k yellow gold, the fluted style bezel gives your watch a refined look without being overly flashy. The fixed, fluted bezel complements the other design elements, making it a subtle yet essential component of the Day-Date’s overall appearance.


rolex day date 18238 strap

A standout feature of the Rolex Day-Date is its iconic President bracelet. Known for its semi-circular three-piece links, this bracelet not only provides comfort but also adds to the watch’s exclusivity. The choice of bracelet material and design further solidifies the Rolex President Day-Date as a symbol of luxury and power.

With all these key features, it’s evident why the Rolex President Day-Date remains an unparalleled timepiece in terms of elegance, innovation, and prestige. Whether for its unique day and date windows, captivating dial design, or iconic President bracelet, the Day-Date is the epitome of sophisticated watchmaking.

Different Generations of The Rolex President Watch

The Rolex President watch, formally known as the Rolex Day-Date, has undergone several evolutions since its initial introduction in 1956. These iterations have resulted in unique series, each with its distinct specifications and calibers, contributing to the rich history of this timepiece. Here’s an overview of the different generations of the Rolex President watch:

1959: 180x Series – Cal. 1555, Later 1556

rolex day date 1803

Rolex Day-Date ref. 1803

In 1959, Rolex introduced the Day-Date 180x series, which was powered by the caliber 1555 movement, and later upgraded to caliber 1556. This series established the Day-Date as a luxury watch, featuring both day and date complications. With a 36mm case, the 180x series was available in various materials and dial options, making it quite versatile for different tastes.

1977: 180xx Series – Cal. 3055

Rolex Day-Date President 18038

Rolex Day-Date President ref. 18038

In the late 1970s, Rolex made significant improvements to the Day-Date watch by introducing the 180xx series, which utilized the new caliber 3055 movement. This new movement incorporated a Quickset function, making it easier for you to adjust the date. With this feature, the date could be adjusted independently of the hour hand, adding to the watch’s functionality and appeal.

1977: OysterQuartz Day-Date Series – Cal. 5055, Later 5355

During the same period, Rolex also introduced the OysterQuartz series, powered by caliber 5055 initially and later upgraded to caliber 5355. This quartz movement added a completely different dimension to the Rolex Day-Date line.

1988: 182xx Series – Cal. 3155

rolex day date 18238

Rolex Day-Date ref. 18238

Moving into the 1980s, Rolex upgraded the Day-Date watch again with the introduction of the 182xx series, which featured the caliber 3155 movement. This movement offered a double Quickset function, making it easier to correct both the weekday and date.

2000: 118xxx Series – Cal. 3155

Rolex Day-Date 118238

Rolex Day-Date ref. 118238

In 2000, the Day-Date 118xxx series emerged, continuing to use the reliable caliber 3155 movement. This series included design improvements, mainly on the bracelet, clasp, as well as the 36 mm Oyster case. It was available in various bezels, bracelets, and dial configurations.

2008: Day-Date II With 41mm Case – Cal. 3156

rolex day date II 218238

Rolex Day-Date ref. 218238

Fast forward to 2008, Rolex launched the Day-Date II, which featured a larger 41mm case, setting it apart from earlier models. Equipped with the caliber 3156 movement, the Day-Date II was designed to offer a more contemporary look and feel, while still maintaining the watch’s iconic characteristics.

2015: Day-Date 40 – Cal. 3255

Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228236-0012

Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228236-0012

In 2015, Rolex introduced the Day-Date 40, which housed the new caliber 3255 movement. This new generation watch included a 40mm case and modern updates, making it a popular choice among Rolex enthusiasts.

2019: 1282xx Series – Cal. 3255 

Rolex Day-Date 128238

Rolex Day-Date ref. 128238

The most recent addition to the Rolex Day-Date line is the 1282xx series, which also utilizes the caliber 3255 movement. This series continues to uphold the classic design elements and functionality that have made the Day-Date an iconic watch for decades.

Popular Rolex Day-Date Models

Day-Date 40

rolex daydate 40 228235

Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228235

rolex daydate 40 228239

Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228239

The Rolex Day-Date 40 (ref. 228235 and ref. 228239) is a refined and sleek timepiece, featuring a 40mm case that offers a comfortable fit on your wrist. This model replaced the Day-Date II in 2015, and although it is only 1mm smaller than its predecessor, the overall design is much less chunky. The Day-Date 40 is available in various materials, including Everose gold and yellow gold, with some versions also adorned with diamonds for an added touch of luxury.

60th Anniversary Edition

In 2016, Rolex introduced a special 60th Anniversary Edition Day-Date to celebrate the model’s long-standing success. This commemorative watch features a unique green dial, which is paired with an Everose gold or white gold case and a matching President bracelet. The captivating green dial is further enhanced by a sunray finish, giving the watch an elegant and distinctive appearance.

Platinum Day-Date

rolex day date 228236

Rolex Day-Date ref. 228236

If you desire unmatched exclusivity in your timepiece, the Platinum Day-Date (ref. 228236) is the perfect choice. Crafted from Rolex’s signature platinum, this model offers unparalleled durability and opulence. When wearing the Platinum Day-Date, your wrist will be graced by a sophisticated and elegant timepiece that is exceptionally crafted in both form and function.

Overall, the Rolex Day-Date offers a diverse range of models that cater to various preferences and styles. Each version showcases Rolex’s commitment to precision, craftsmanship, and design, ensuring that your timepiece will not only be a reliable companion, but also a beautiful reflection of your personal taste.

ModelFeaturesPre-owned Price
Day-Date 40 (228238)• Refined and sleek 40mm case
• Replaced Day-Date II in 2015
• Available in Everose gold and yellow gold, diamond-adorned versions available
60th Anniversary Edition (228235)• Green dial with sunray finish
• Everose gold or white gold case
• Matching President bracelet
Platinum Day-Date (228236)• Crafted from Rolex’s signature platinum
• Caliber 3255
• 70 hours of power reserve

Tips Before Buying a Rolex President Watch

1. Research and Authenticate

Before purchasing a Rolex President watch, it’s essential to do thorough research on the specific model and authenticate its origin. Familiarize yourself with the essential aspects of the watch, such as the bezel, dial, and case diameter. Genuine Rolex watches should have a serial number and model number engraved, which you can use to confirm their authenticity.

2. Buy from Reputable Dealers

To ensure you are getting a genuine Rolex President watch, it is crucial to buy from a reputable dealer. This can be a trusted online store, an authorized dealer, or a reputable grey market dealer. Buying from a reputable source will help reduce the risk of receiving a counterfeit or stolen watch.

3. Check Condition and Documentation

When purchasing a Rolex President watch, always inspect the condition of the watch and ensure it comes with proper documentation. This includes verifying the watch’s serial number, box, and original paperwork. A well-maintained watch will hold its value better and give you peace of mind regarding its authenticity.

4. Consider Material and Dial Options

The Rolex President watch is available in several precious metals such as 18k gold, white or Everose gold, and 950 platinum. The watch also comes with various dial options. Consider your personal preference and intended use when selecting material and dial options.

5. Choose the Bracelet Type

The Rolex President watch typically features a President bracelet, but some models come with an Oyster bracelet or a leather strap. Choose the bracelet type that suits your style and comfort preferences.

6. Familiarize Yourself with Movement and Features

Understanding the watch’s movement and key features is essential before purchasing a Rolex President. The watch has self-winding technology and a date display. Some models have an additional day display. By familiarizing yourself with these features, you can ensure that the watch meets your expectations.

7. Set a Budget

Rolex President watches can be expensive. It’s important to set a budget and determine the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Setting a budget can help narrow down your choices and prevent you from overspending.

8. Consider Personal Preferences and Intended Use

Reflect on your personal style and how you plan to use the Rolex President watch. Take into consideration the size, design, materials, and features that best suit your preferences and intended use.

9. Verify Warranty and Servicing

Lastly, ensure that the watch comes with a warranty and that servicing options are available. A warranty can provide protection against any defects or issues with the watch. Inquire about the watch’s service history to ensure it has been properly maintained and cared for.

Final Word

The Rolex Day-Date “President” Watch represents an extraordinary blend of luxurious design, exceptional craftsmanship, and a prestigious reputation. Its rich history, illustrious clientele, and diverse range of models make it a standout choice for those in search of a timepiece that exudes status, precision, and timeless style.

Key Takeaways

  • With the Rolex Day-Date, you’re investing in a timepiece that highlights accomplishments and prestige.
  • Your Rolex Day-Date showcases not only precise timekeeping but also craftsmanship and design.
  • As the diameter of the Day-Date has changed from 41mm (in the Day-Date II ref. 218238) to 40mm, you’ll find a range of styles, materials, and dial variations to suit your taste.
  • When considering purchasing a Rolex Day-Date, do your research and explore the different price points based on model and age.

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