Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 18ct 36mm 1966
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Restored, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Beautifully Well Cared For And Lightly Used Example
Rolex Model Ref. 1803, Cal.1556, 26 Jewels, Automatic Movement
Officially Certified Day-Date with a Highly Accurate Chronometer Movement
Superbly Restored Starburst Dial with Original Restored Hands & Batons
Large 36mm Diameter 18ct Gold Case, Excluding the Rolex Screw-Down Crown
Immaculate Lightly Polished Case with Excellent Definition and Fluted Bezel
New Light Brown Ostrich Leather Strap & Rolex Gold-Plated Buckle
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition
Rolex Oyster Inner & Outer Presentation Boxes Included
VGWL 12 Months Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the partnership 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.
During the 1930s and ’40s, Rolex also became quite masterful at courting tremendous publicity and excitement through literally being ‘on hand’ during numerous record-breaking events. These were, for example, swimming the English Channel (1927), breaking the world automobile speed record (300mph, 1935), breaking the sound barrier (1947) and climbing Everest for the first time in 1953. No matter how well orchestrated these events came to be, we have to admire Rolex for becoming masters of self-promotion and capitalising on every opportunity with simultaneous worldwide marketing campaigns.
Of course, a Rolex watch has become so ubiquitous, it is now almost its own kind of currency. A Rolex is the watch you want on your wrist when you’re in a Third World country, a revolution breaks out and there’s only one seat on the plane, and there’s a guy standing in the way with a machine gun! You give him the Rolex, and he’ll give you the seat!
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 at the time.
The Rolex ‘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 a master-stroke of marketing by Rolex which would later claim in successive advertising campaigns that the Rolex Day-Date was ‘the watch worn by Presidents everywhere’. Which later, in fact, 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, it immediately broke two records. It was the first watch to display the date, as well as the day in its entirety, and of course, it was therefore the first waterproof watch to display the date, as well as the day, in its entirety.
The example here is the Rolex model reference 1803, with the Cal.1556, 26 Jewel movement. The starburst dial has been superbly restored and contrasts wonderfully with the hands, hour indices and 18ct yellow gold case. Earlier vintage Rolex Day-Date watches in this quality and condition are now becoming much harder to find and quite collectable.
This starburst silver Day-Date dial is one of the most iconic of all Rolex dial designs, and one which has remained almost unchanged since its introduction in 1956, through to the present day. This is the classic 1960s Day-Date dial with its original stick hands, which are matched with ‘baton’ and ‘wedge’ hour indices. The dial carries the Rolex Coronet at 12 and is signed ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual’, ‘Day-Date’ with ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ below and ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial.
The lens has been replaced with a new original as part of the restoration which of course carries the trademark cyclops date window. The day window shows the days in Italian, which for those to which it appeals, adds an extra touch of style to this watch.
This is the original Rolex dial which has been restored to the very highest standards by the best dial restorers in the UK. Please take a close look at the beauty of the dial and the quality of the restoration.
The Watch Movement
The original, high grade “Officially Certified Superlative Chronometer”, 26 Jewel, Calibre 1556 Day-Date movement is highly regarded for being very accurate, reliable and robust. As can be seen in the photographs, it is in sparkling condition and it is working perfectly following a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled to each of its component parts, cleaned and inspected under high magnification and then rebuilt using only original Rolex parts where required, before testing and careful calibration. The watch has just been re-tested (as it will be prior to delivery) and is running to within +5 seconds per day, which is outstanding for a vintage watch of this age! The movement also has a 48 hour power reserve when fully wound.
These movements are strong, accurate and very reliable making this watch perfect for regular everyday use, as well as evening wear. This movement is in top condition and with regular servicing every 3 – 4 years we would fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come! We are therefore pleased to offer a 12-month warranty on this watch movement*, along with servicing in the future. The movement is signed ‘MONTRES ROLEX SA GENEVA’ and ‘TWENTY SIX JEWELS’, ‘ADJUSTED to FIVE POSITIONS’, and carries the movement reference number DD185362 and the calibre number 1556.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The 18ct yellow gold case measures 36mm, excluding the Rolex Oyster screw-down crown. The case has been cleaned, inspected and very gently hand polished to bring it back to the condition you see here. Even though this is over 50 years old, no definition has been lost at all and all lines and edges, including the bezel, remain well defined. The case, lugs and case-back are in superb condition with no scratches, dings or similar marks visible to the naked eye.
This watch is also complete with its early lightly fluted bezel, which is much easier on the eye and has much subtler lines than the later, more heavily fluted bezels. This gives the watch a more refined appearance and defines this watch as a vintage Rolex Day-Date. As can be seen, the bezel is free from any marks, which is unusual as the bezel is the most prone part of the watch case to damage and scratches.
The screw-down case-back is of full-thickness and has never been inscribed. The inside of the case-back carries the Rolex model number 1803 with 18ct Swiss Geneva hallmarks and is signed: ‘Montres Rolex SA Geneva Switzerland’. Very importantly, the case also carries its clearly defined serial number 1981758 between the lugs at ‘6’. This confirms the date of manufacture of the watch, which is 1966. The Rolex model reference number 1803 is also shown again, between the lugs at ’12’.
Please note, although the waterproof seals have been replaced and this watch was originally specified as waterproof when new, this has not been tested and it is not guaranteed. As always, our standard advice applies: vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
A new, genuine light brown Ostrich leather strap has been fitted along with a gold-plated 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 20mm straps.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on the watch are correct, dating the watch to 1966.
Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included in the sale, along with our detailed receipt and 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale, along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If at any time, 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 shown in the photographs will be included with this watch.
To summarise, this is the iconic top of the range dress watch from horology’s most famous name. it is a highly practical vintage watch and will provide an excellent financial investment as well as be something to wear, treasure and enjoy! It will make the perfect evening wear dress watch as well as a practical, accurate and reliable timepiece to use on an everyday basis.
Although this is one of our more expensive watches, its quality will be remembered for long after its purchase price will be forgotten.
Vintage gold Rolex ‘Day-Date’ watches are highly collectable and the rarity of this watch means the value will always remain strong, making this an excellent investment and family heirloom piece. Even though vintage Rolex prices have risen markedly in recent years, we still feel first-class examples such as this remain undervalued. Each year as the world market for vintage watches grows and availability becomes more limited, prices are inevitably destined to to climb ever higher.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer them for sale at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore feel 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 wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Fully Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, we welcome your call at 020 7727 7095. If calling from overseas at +44 207 727 7095.
We are ready, and available, and await your call. We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting vintage watches, we will also be happy to hear from you.
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches.