Rolex Day-Date Model Ref.1803 18ct White Gold Factory Diamond 1974
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautifully Well Cared For And Lightly Used Example
Rolex Model Ref.1803, Cal.1560, 26 Jewels, Automatic Movement
Officially Certified Day Date Highly Accurate Chronometer Movement
Wonderful Unrestored Factory Diamond Dial with Original ‘Stick’ Hands
Immaculate Lightly Polished Case with Excellent Definition and Fluted Bezel
Original, Unrestored and Untouched Silver ‘Sunburst’ Dial in Immaculate Condition
Large Size 37mm, 18ct Solid White Gold Case, Excluding the Rolex Screw-down Crown
Black Alligator Strap & Rolex Steel Buckle, In Almost New Condition
Rolex Oyster Inner & Outer Presentation Boxes Included, as Shown
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
VGWL 12 Months Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the company became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving to its new Geneva headquarters in 1919. The success of the wristwatch can be largely attributed to many of Rolex’s innovations which made the company one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These have included its famous “Oyster” case — the world’s first water-resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and its “Perpetual” — the world’s first reliable, self-winding movement for the wristwatch, launched in 1933. These would form the foundation for Rolex’s Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956. Also and equally importantly, Rolex is known for its sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.
The Rolex Day-Date has been Rolex’s range-topping, gentleman’s dress watch for over 60 years. First released in 1956 it soon became one of the most desirable “luxury” watches to own of its time.
The Day-Date is also referred to as the President or President’s watch, after a gift of the 150,000th Officially Certified Rolex Chronometer was accepted by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and of course, in 1952 Eisenhower won the presidential race, becoming the 34th president of the United States. A famous image shows Eisenhower wearing his Rolex while waving on his way to his inauguration in 1953. This was, of course, a master-stroke of marketing by Rolex who would later claim in successive advertising campaigns that the Rolex Day-Date was ‘the watch worn by Presidents everywhere’ – which later of course, became true.
Incidentally, Winston Churchill also wore a Rolex after he accepted his gift of the 100,000th Officially Certified Rolex Chronometer a few years earlier in 1947.
When the Day-Date was unveiled by Rolex in 1956, the watch immediately broke two records. It was not only the first watch to display the date as well as the day in its entirety, but it was also the first waterproof watch to display the date as well as the day, in its entirety.
Here we have a beautiful, very rare example of Rolex Model Reference 1803 from 1974 with the Cal.1560, 26 Jewel movement. The very rare silver ‘sunburst’ dial and wonderful ‘stick’ hands are in wonderful unrestored condition. Very early vintage Rolex Day-Dates of this quality and condition are now becoming very rare and much harder to find.
Here we have an original factory diamond dial in absolutely tip-top condition. This original Day-Date dial is one of the most iconic of vintage Rolex dial designs, which in essence carries through to this day. Here it looks stunning in its original silver, against the beautiful white gold case. The dial carries its original unrestored 1970s ‘stick’ hands and applied ‘stud’ diamond hour indices with of course, the Rolex coronet at the top. This watch has the date displayed with the wonderful cyclops window and the day of the week is displayed at ‘12’.
As mentioned above, the dial here is completely original, unrestored and untouched. We have left this completely alone to retain its originality and charm as it is in outstanding condition for a watch of this age. Usually, we restore the dial as part of the overall restoration process of each watch we sell. This is because watch dials almost 50 years old tend to become very unsightly due to damage from sunlight, moisture, and pollution. This takes the form of fading, staining, spotting and pitting. Watch dials also become very easily marked when a watch is dismantled for servicing and this is often evidenced in the form of scratches. Here however, the dial is simply outstanding, without any fading or spotting.
The dial is signed ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual’ and ‘Day-Date’ with ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom. This was also the first Rolex to include ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ on the dial — a detail that can be found on the majority of Rolex watches today.
The watch carries its original very high grade ‘Superlative Chronometer’ Calibre 1560, 26 Jewel automatic movement which is in sparklingly clean condition and has been fully overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means it has been fully dismantled to all its component parts before ultrasonic cleaning, microscope inspection and replacement of parts with new originals where required. Then careful reassembly and oiling ready for final testing and calibration. The watch is now running perfectly having been calibrated and timed at +5 seconds per day, which is truly outstanding for any watch of this age. It is therefore ready for many more years of reliable service. The movement also has a 44 hour power reserve when fully wound.
The movement is all correctly signed ‘Montres Rolex SA Geneva Swiss’ and ‘Twenty Six Jewels’ with the Calibre number 1560.
These Chronometer grade movements are very strong, accurate and reliable making this watch perfectly suitable for evening wear and everyday use. This particular movement is in superb A1 condition and with regular servicing, every 3 – 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run happily for many more years to come! We are pleased to offer a 12 month warranty on this watch movement*.
*Please note – our 12 month warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The 18ct white gold case is in tip-top condition and measures 37mm, excluding the original Rolex signed Oyster screw-down crown. This watch would have been considered an oversized gents wristwatch for the 1970s. This case also carries a wonderful fluted bezel.
The case has been professionally cleaned and carefully inspected and has simply required only light polishing as it is in superb condition with no scratches, dings or other damage, visible to the naked eye.
Inside the case-back, all the markings are as expected and correctly signed ‘Montres Rolex SA Geneva Switzerland’, along with Geneva Swiss 18ct hallmarks and the model reference number 1803. The watch also carries a very clear case serial number 4146507 between the lugs at 6 o’clock which confirms the date of manufacture of this watch as 1974. Between the lugs at 12 reads ‘Registered Design’ and ‘Registered 1803’.
Please note – even though this watch was specified as waterproof when new and the rubber seals have been replaced on the case-back and crown, the water-resistance of this watch has not been tested and is not guaranteed. As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
This watch is fitted with a black Alligator strap and a steel Rolex buckle. However, 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 and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of straps if you wish here.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with the watch, the numbers and markings are all correct, dating this watch to 1974.
A detailed written receipt with 12 months’ warranty* and a separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of the 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 matching Rolex Oyster inner and outer presentation boxes as shown in the photographs are included in the sale.
This is a truly first class example of a rare 1974 18ct white gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date with a beautiful silver dial which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. If treated with care, it will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece. Even though vintage Rolex prices have risen markedly of late, we still feel first class examples such as this remain undervalued. And as each year goes by and the world market for vintage Rolex watches continues to expand, prices will inevitably climb ever higher.
To summarise, this is a highly collectable vintage watch from horology’s most famous name, which is ready to wear, use, treasure and enjoy. It will provide excellent reliability and a sound financial investment as long lasting as the watch itself.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before 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. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
If you have any questions please call 0207 727 7095. If calling from overseas: +44 207 727 7095.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or small collection to sell, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be pleased to service, repair or restore your vintage watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
Please take a look at our wide range of fine vintage gold watches.