Launched in 1945, the Rolex Datejust broke lots of new ground. It was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the date in a small window at 3 o’clock on the dial. The 36mm case was considered very large at the time and its unique magnifying Cyclops eye, added several years later, increased legibility by two and half times, and soon came to be recognized as a Rolex standard. The Datejust has long been admired for its classic design and appearance, which has only been slightly altered over the years and has thus become an iconic symbol of style.
On early models, the date would begin to change hours before midnight. In 1955, the more reliable Calibre.1065 was introduced, the date-change mechanism was adapted to operate instantaneously and the magnifying Cyclops lens was added. The watch we have here is one of the very first watches to feature the instant date change mechanism!
The Rolex ’Datejust’ along with Rolex ‘Day Date’ have been Rolex’s range topping, gentleman’s dress watches for over 60 years and are both considered iconic and design classics. While both ranges sell in in huge volumes today, production numbers were very small in the 1950s and indeed this watch pre-dates the Rolex Day-Date by one year as it was not launched until 1956. As many fewer than were made still exist, these watches are very rare and even more exclusive!
Perhaps the most beautiful of vintage Rolex dials and certainly one of our favourites is the gilt applied ‘hearts and Arrows’ dial which we see here. The hour markers with outer minutes track subdivided into fifths of a second, are transcribed by gilt Dauphine hands and needle seconds hand. Adding to the desirability of this watch is the alternating red and black date, popularly referred to as the ‘Roulette’ date. This is a rare feature and one of the things which makes this watch rare and so special. Furthermore, this is a first class unrestored dial. Generally we need to restore the dials of all of the watches we offer for sale as watch dials over 50 or 60 years old are usually damaged, sometimes beyond recognition, through exposure to light, humidity, contamination and small scratches caused by inexpert servicing. Each of these on their own, can make a dial look unattractive to most users. However, very occasionally we do find a watch with an original dial which, after some very gentle cleaning, is simply too clean to restore. Here we have such a genuine unrestored dial, which has simply been very gently cleaned but otherwise left alone. Such a dial can add significantly to the value of a watch, among a narrow band of collectors of such watches. For more information on restored and unrestored dials, please check our FAQs accessible via the link at the bottom of our home page.
The Watch Case
The original 18ct yellow gold case measures 36mm, not including the Rolex Oyster screw-down crown. This watch has been very well cared for, having seen only very light use and after close inspection, the case required only very gentle cleaning and light polishing. The watch presents superbly, in immaculate condition with no scratches, dings or similar marks visible to the naked eye. The watch case has the early ‘coin’ bezel as opposed to the later, more dominant fluted bezel. More often these were exchanged for the later ‘Fluted’ bezel at time of service by Rolex. The screw-down case-back is high polished and full thickness, having never been inscribed. The inside of the case-back carries the Rolex model number 1605 with 18ct Swiss Geneva hallmarks and is signed Montres Rolex SA Geneva Switzerland. The case carries a clear serial number 284,892 between the lugs at 6’ along with the model number 6605 again at 12’. The serial number indicates the date of the manufacture of the watch to be 1955.
The Watch Movement
The original high grade “Officially Certified Chronometer” 25 Jewels, 1065 calibre ‘butterfly’ movement is very highly regarded for being particularly accurate, reliable and strong. Here it is in sparkling condition and working perfectly following a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker. This movement is known as a ‘butterfly’ movement because the lightened rotor resembles a butterfly wing. This Rolex Datejust is one of the very first watches to feature this movement and the instant date change mechanism as described above. It is signed MONTRES ROLEX SA GENEVA and TWENTY FIVE JEWELS, ADJUSTED to FIVE POSITIONS. The movement carries the movement reference number N714723 and the Calibre number 1065. Our Rolex specialist watchmaker has overhauled and serviced this movement which involves complete disassembly and inspection, further microscopic inspection and testing of all the critical component parts with replacement where necessary with genuine original parts only. The movement has then been very carefully calibrated and is now running strongly and accurately within +4 seconds/day! This is no exaggeration and is outstanding for a watch movement of this age. This watch movement is now ready for many more years of faithful service and it is perfectly suited for everyday use. We therefore have no hesitation in offering this watch with 12 months warranty on this movement.*
The Strap and Buckle
A new very high quality, tan alligator leather strap is fitted, along with a matching gold plated Rolex buckle. Please note if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain, padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating the watch to 1955.
Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months Warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The watch also comes complete with a presentation box as shown in the photographs.
This is an early, rare example of the iconic Rolex Datejust, which is many more times more exclusive and stylish than its modern equivalent. This watch is also less than half the price of a new watch and it will climb in price rather than depreciate!
This Datejust is ideal for use as a dress watch but will also be practical for everyday use. If treated with care it will make an excellent investment or family heirloom piece.
However you look at it we still feel great examples such as this are still undervalued. As each year goes by the world market and demand for vintage gold Rolex watches is expanding almost exponentially and so we think prices are destined to climb ever higher for the foreseeable future.
A word on our prices… We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before then restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
*Note – 12 Month warranty only included if the list price is paid.
If you have any questions please call on Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250
Or if calling from overseas on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250
Please note we welcome part exchanges.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.