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The linchpin of Rolex's collection since the mid-1940s, the Datejust--sturdy, stalwart, dependable--has never elicited as much passion as some of the manufacture's sports models. Unlike the Submariner, a Datejust has never appeared on the wrist of James Bond, nor has it ever been military issue (although the Thunderbird, its sporty cousin, was presented to the Thunderbird air squadron of the U.S. Air Force). And no one ever scaled Mount Everest or plunged to the deepest depths of the ocean wearing one.
But over the decades there has perhaps been more variation in style, color, and texture to the Datejust's dials than any other watch made by Rolex, making it Rolex's most versatile watch.
Rolex has always experimented with the Datejust. It's been in stainless steel, yellow gold (as with that first Reference of Datejust in 1945), white gold, or steel-and-gold (a combination which Rolex patented as Rolesor). And as far as the dials are concerned, they came in a veritable kaleidoscope of colors.
This variety of color is due to the fact that Rolex has utilized dials produced by many different manufacturers. Over the years, Beyeler, Stern, and Singer (who was responsible for the legendary Daytona worn by Paul Newman) have produced dials for Rolex. Since each manufacturer had its own particular style of dial, each Rolex has its own character and distinctive look.
Perhaps the most visually-arresting of all are the textured dials, with special preference for the linen dial featured here.
There's just something about the subtle texture and silky tone of a linen dial that just does it for us. Any kind of fine finishing such as that found on a textured dial (whether linen or honeycomb) telegraphs an appreciation for the old days, when it was done by hand. But the way a linen dial catches the light is nothing short of stunning.
This particular Datejust is a Reference 1601 circa 1972. The gorgeous texture of the linen dial is set off by the engine-turned steel bezel (most likely a service replacement). For a solid, every day watch with a distinctive flair, we can think of no better fit.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Datejust Reference 1601. Rolex Calibre 1570 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1972.
Overall Condition: Stainless Oyster case is in very good condition with on the slightest signs of use and wear, including some faint scratches on the side of the case. Engine-turned steel bezel is possibly a service replacement. Silver linen dial is in very good condition overall with some signs of age. Luminescent hour plots show some deterioration at 12:00, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 11:00, and 12:00. However, luminescent elements of the hands are intact and show fine even patina. Rolex screw-down crown. Rolex case back has some signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm light brown leather strap with tan contrast stitching.