Fashionable Watches

The History of the Rolex Day-Date President | Bob’s Watches

The History of the Rolex Day-Date President | Bob’s Watches


Hello everyone! Today we’re looking at one of the most recognizable
watches in the Rolex catalog: the Day-Date President. First unveiled in 1956, its instantly recognizable
positioning of the day of the week at the 12 o’clock mark and date at 3 o’clock has
since been copied by many other brands over the years. Its fluted bezel, general case design and
proportions mirror the aesthetics of the equally iconic Datejust. However, since its early it was often fitted
with the Rolex President bracelet which in many ways melds the designs of the Oyster
and Jubilee bracelets in the best way possible. Its links are larger and heavier semi-circular
links that mimic portions of the Jubilee, appearing in the same staggered setup as you
get from an Oyster. First launching as the reference 6510 and
6511 in ’56, measuring 36mm across, the same as it is offered today, early models suffered
from some teething issues that led Rolex to redesign the model into the reference 1803
and other 18XX references that lasted in variations of production through the 1970s. The 1807 “Bark” model is an especially charming
example of the weirdness from this era, as it features a uniquely textured bezel and
matching bracelet center links that do, in all fairness, resemble tree bark. It was somewhere in this early period, though
not this 1807 in particular, that ended up earning this watch its presidential nickname
in the first place. Lyndon B. Johnson famously wore the Day Date
a fair amount during his term from ’63 to ’69, as did several other noteworthy leaders
over the years. Though it never saw light of day on his wrist,
there was a Rolex President that Marilyn Monroe bought and had inscribed for JFK that made
it to auction back in 2005, fetching a healthy $120,000. Fast forwarding to the late 70’s, Rolex decided
to drop a new movement into the Day-Date. The caliber 3055 upped its run rate to four
hertz, or 28,800 vibrations per hour, and added a quickset date function that meant
you were no longer to roll its hands around to move the day or date indication. A sibling to the reference 1807 bark model
arrived in the reference 18248, whereas the more common gold on gold model evolved into
the reference 18038. Interestingly the Oysterquartz Day Date President
also made an appearance in the late 70s, specifically 1977. Though its case shape is similar to other
Oysterquartz models, and it also uses an integrated bracelet, said bracelet has a style very similar
to the traditional President bracelet. That last noteworthy addition to the line
from the late 70’s is the appearance of a sapphire crystal that was slowly phased in
to replace the more delicate acrylic seen previously. Rolex further updated the Day Date caliber
to the 3155 in 1988, where both day and date functions moved to quick-set capability. These appeared in references of the 182xx
series, running through until 2000 when Rolex revealed the Day-Date 36 with the six-digit
118xxx. By this point the vast range of references
had officially exploded, with Rolex offering the Day Date President in yellow gold, rose
gold, white gold, and platinum, as well as with a huge assortment of dials, and either
smooth or fluted bezels. Things like a white dialed 118238 with a yellow
gold case and bracelet is hands down the more classic take on the model. Much like the Datejust, Rolex also rolled
out a Day-Date 2 model for a brief period from 2008 to 2015 where they introduced a
41mm example of the model as the reference 218xxx, though this was discontinued only
to make room for the 40mm cased version that remains in the current collection as the 228
series Day-Date. The 40mm version was fitted with the upgraded
caliber 3255 self-winding movement that upped its power reserve to a healthy 72 hours and
achieved Rolex’s increasingly stringent +2/-2 seconds per day accuracy rating. Given the depth of archives, there are countless
examples of Rolex President out there to choose from, and even to this day they’re just as
much of a timeless classic as ever.


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