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Rolex Day-Date: The President’s Watch

The Rolex Day-Date, often revered as “The Watch of Visionaries and Leaders,” stands as an emblem of success and prestige worn by influential figures across the globe. With its revolutionary self-winding, waterproof chronometer movement, and distinctive day and date display, this iconic timepiece has graced the wrists of world leaders, virtuosos, and pioneers, serving as a timeless symbol of elegance and accomplishment.

History of Rolex Day-Date

The Rolex Day-Date, a classic timepiece, has been an icon for over 60 years. Worn by Presidents, captains of industry, and individuals from the entertainment world, this watch holds a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate a timeless and luxurious timepiece.

The historical overview of the Rolex Day-Date began in 1956 when Rolex introduced the first Day-Date models with references 6510 and 6511, available in 18-carat gold and platinum. These were succeeded by reference 6611 in 1957, featuring an updated caliber 1055 movement with free-sprung balance and micro-stella adjustment.

The third generation of Day-Date watches, introduced around 1960, included the Rolex Day-Date 1800-series, with the reference 1803 being the most popular. Equipped with caliber 1555 and later caliber 1556 movement, this series also featured a weekday indicator in multiple languages.

In 1978, the Rolex Day Date underwent significant changes with the introduction of reference 18038. The dial lost its pie-pan shape, and the watch became the first Day-Date to receive a sapphire crystal. Powered by the more advanced caliber 3055 movement, it featured a quickset for the date.

Over the years, Rolex introduced various models, such as the Oysterquartz collection, Day-Date II, and Day-Date 40, each bringing unique features and designs.

In 2023, Rolex introduced new Day-Date 36 watches featuring decorative stone dials in green aventurine, carnelian, and turquoise. Another set of watches showcases jigsaw puzzle dials with colorful sapphire hour markers and emojis for the date.

Pre Owned Rolex Day-Date: Price Overview

Here are the average prices of Rolex Day-Date watches on the pre-owned market.

Top 5 Most Popular Day-Date Models

Reference Number Pre-Owned Price (Approx) SGD Materials (case, bezel, dial)
128238 $42,900 Yellow gold, yellow gold, white Roman
228238  $53,800 Yellow gold, yellow gold, silver
228235 $62,500 Rose gold, rose gold, olive green Roman
128235 $60,000 Everose gold, everose gold, MOP diamond
228396TBR $200,000 Platinum, gem set baguette, ice blue


What Are the Main Feature of Rolex Day-Date Watches?

  • Day and Date Indication: The watch displays the day of the week and the date clearly and easily. This feature adds practicality and convenience to the timepiece.
  • President Bracelet: It comes with the iconic President bracelet, known for its elegant and imposing design. Crafted from solid 18 ct gold or platinum, it offers complete reliability and comfort.
  • Fluted Bezel: The watch features a fluted bezel, originally designed for functional purposes to ensure waterproofness. Over time, it has become a distinctive Rolex signature feature, adding sophistication to the timepiece.
  • Precious Metals: Rolex uses 18 ct gold, a high-quality alloy of 750‰ pure gold, to craft the watch. This ensures exceptional durability, polishability, and a lasting sheen.
  • Calibre 3255 Movement: A self-winding mechanical movement. It offers outstanding performance in precision, power reserve, and resistance to shocks and magnetic fields.

What Are the Best Pre-owned Rolex Day-Date Models?

Investing in a Rolex Day-Date President is smart due to their iconic status and enduring value. Here are some models to consider for investment purposes:

  • Day-Date 36: The current 36mm Day-Date is a cornerstone of the Rolex brand, representing decades of tireless refinement and expert engineering. The collection includes yellow gold case (ref. 128238), white gold (ref. 128239), and rose gold (ref. 128235) references, all powered by the celebrated cal. 3255 movement.
  • Day-Date II: Introduced in 2008, the Day-Date II featured a larger 41mm case and a then-new cal. 3156 movement. Although discontinued, it remains popular among collectors seeking a sportier take on the luxurious Day-Date, being the largest of all Rolex Day-Date watches. Options included yellow gold (ref. 218238), pink gold (ref. 218235), white gold (ref. 218239), and platinum (ref. 218206).
  • Day-Date 40: Replacing the Day-Date II in 2015, the Day-Date 40 offers a refined design with sleeker lugs and a balanced contemporary and elegant styling. Available in 18k yellow gold (ref. 228238; currently the most popular among Day-Dates), white gold (ref. 228239), pink gold (ref. 228235), and platinum (ref. 228206), the Day-Date 40 is a versatile choice for discerning watch enthusiasts.
  • Vintage Day-Dates
    • Ref. 1803: With a 36mm case, iconic President bracelet, and fluted bezel, highly sought after for its timeless appeal and historical significance.
    • Ref. 18238: With a 36mm case and upgraded movement with Double Quickset function, featuring a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for a modern touch.

Are Pre-owned Rolex Day-Date Watches a Good Investment?

Pre-owned Rolex Day-Date watches can indeed be a good investment, especially the models with white gold cases, diamond bezels, and unique dials, as they have demonstrated substantial value appreciation over time. 

The Day-Date models, such as green, silver, or ice-blue, have performed exceptionally well, with appreciation rates ranging from 92% to 113%. These models include 228239, 228235, 228349RBR, and 228396TBR.

Why Is Rolex Day-Date So Special?

The Day-Date holds a special place in the world of luxury watches as it was originally designed to be a groundbreaking timepiece for everyday wear. 

What set the Day-Date apart was its innovative features. It was the first self-winding, waterproof chronometer wristwatch that displayed both the date and the day of the week spelled out in full, each in separate windows. At midnight, both the date and day change simultaneously, a revolutionary switch that continues to captivate watch enthusiasts nearly seven decades later.

It has adorned the wrists of prominent figures, including well-known celebrities and influential leaders, cementing its status as a true icon in the world of horology. Iconic wearers include U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, basketball legend Michael Jordan, mob boss Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos,” golfer Jack Nicklaus, and the Dalai Lama. Their association with the Day-Date has elevated its reputation as a symbol of accomplishment and status.

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