Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Ref.1601 1974 Steel & Yellow Gold
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Beautiful Well Cared For and Lightly Used Example
Immaculate Lightly Polished Case in Excellent Condition
Incredible Mixed Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold Rolex Case
Officially Certified Cal.1570, 26 Jewel Highly Accurate Chronometer Movement
Original, Unrestored and Untouched White Dial with 1 – 12 Roman Numerals
Oversize 36mm Case, Excluding the Correct Screw-Down Crown
High Quality Brown Leather Strap with Rolex Gold Plated Buckle
Rolex Oyster Presentation Box Included, as Shown
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*
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.
Launched in 1945, the Rolex Datejust broke new ground by being the world’s first automatic wristwatch with a date function. The fact that this watch was also waterproof and accurate and reliable enough to be Chronometer rated, was nothing short of sensational in 1945!
The Datejust was also one of the first popular watches to possess a central seconds hand, moving away from the more usual subsidiary seconds (small seconds dial) of the time. It was launched in the very large size for the time, of 36mm in diameter, excluding the Rolex screw-down crown. This classic design soon became an icon of style and quality, remaining in continuous production and continuous development, but changing little in design in over 70 years.
The Rolex Day-Date joined the Datejust in 1956 and both have remained Rolex’s range-topping gentlemen’s dress watches ever since. However, early Rolex Datejusts are rarer and more sought after and therefore command higher prices than the Day-Date. Incidentally, the ‘just’ in Datejust, stands for “just in time”, referring to the way the movement advances the date, exactly at midnight without any delay.
The watch seen here is a beautiful unrestored example of a Rolex Datejust in stainless steel with a yellow gold fluted bezel, screw down crown and truly remarkable dial which carries Roman numerals. This is Rolex model reference 1601, which has the Rolex Chronometer grade Cal.1570, 26 jewel movement. It was not until around 1953 that Rolex began to promote the Datejust line by using the name ‘Datejust’ on the dial.
The full original, unrestored and untouched white dial simply exudes quality. It is furnished with the original, applied gilt ‘stick’ hands which sweep bold 1 – 12 Roman numerals. We think the wonderful features of the dial contrast absolutely beautifully with the stainless steel and yellow gold case. This wonderful watch has a cyclops date window at the position of three.
The dial is signed ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual’ and ‘Datejust’ at the top below 12, with ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ just above the 6 and ‘T Swiss T’ at the very bottom.
As this dial is in original, unrestored condition, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
The watch carries its original, very high grade ‘Superlative Chronometer’ Calibre 1570, 26 jewel automatic movement which is in sparkling clean condition. The movement has been completely overhauled and serviced which involves fully dismantling, ultrasonic cleaning, inspection under high magnification and replacement new original Rolex parts where required. Then careful reassembly and oiling ready for testing and calibration. The watch is therefore now running perfectly, having been calibrated and timed within +6 seconds per day. This is truly outstanding for any watch of this age and has been confirmed by our electronic timegrapher, making it now ready for many more years of faithful service.
The movement is all correctly signed ‘MONTRES ROLEX SA GENEVA SWISS’, and ‘TWENTY SIX JEWELS’ with the Calibre number 1570 and the reference number D704572. These movements are very strong, very accurate and very reliable making this watch particularly suited to everyday use should you so wish. This particular movement is in superb A1 condition and with regular servicing, say every 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come. We are therefore pleased to offer 12 months warranty on this watch movement*.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The outstanding stainless steel and yellow gold case measures a large 36mm, excluding the yellow gold Rolex Oyster screw-down crown. This wonderful Rolex Datejust carries a rare and distinctive yellow gold fluted bezel which is totally original to the watch. As can be seen, the bezel remains in excellent condition and is free from any marks, which is unusual as the bezel is the most prone part of the watch case and most easily damaged through nicks and scratches.
The case has been carefully inspected inside and out and then restored to ‘as new’ condition by very gentle cleaning and hand-polishing by our professional watch case restorer. Even though this is an early example, no definition has been lost and all the lines, including the bezel, remain well defined. It is therefore in superb condition with no scratches, dings or similar marks visible to the naked eye.
The screw-down case-back is of full-thickness, having never been inscribed. The inside of the case-back is signed ‘Montres Rolex SA Geneva Switzerland’, ‘Geneve Switzerland Patented’, ‘Stainless Steel’ along with the model reference number 1601. Very importantly, the case also carries its clearly defined serial number, 3860404, between the lugs at ‘6’, along with the Rolex model reference number 1601 at ’12’. The case serial number confirms the date of manufacture of the watch, which is 1974.
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
This watch currently has a brown leather strap fitted and has also been fitted with a matching stainless 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.
Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1974.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. 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 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
This watch comes complete with a Rolex Oyster presentation box included as shown.
Payment and Delivery
If you would like to pay by 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.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and, unfortunately, out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges; however, attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those wwho happen to visit London on occasion, we are, of course, more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and hand your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no-quibble sale or return policy.
This is a truly first class example of a vintage Rolex Datejust which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. If treated with care, it will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece. Even though vintage gold Rolex prices have risen markedly recently, we still feel good examples such as this are still undervalued and as each year goes by and the world market for vintage gold Rolex watches continues to expand, prices will continue 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 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.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.