Rolex Datejust

Rolex Datejust

We might often wonder at the secret of Rolex’s success. During the Quartz Crisis, so many brands were forced to close their doors, or merge with competitors simply to stay afloat. And yet Rolex remained independent and privately-owned.

The Crown has weathered two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Quartz Crisis—and even now, when the Swiss watch industry is undergoing a fallow period, Rolex has never been stronger.

Theirs is a story of survival, of adaptation to meet the changing demands of customers, and above all tenacity. When faced with the Japanese quartz technology, many Swiss brands—including Rolex—dabbled with it, either implementing it into their collections or switching over to Quartz entirely, often to disastrous results. True, Rolex released a Quartz version of the Datejust (the Oysterquartz).

But that was only ancillary to what Rolex had made its speciality ever since founder Hans Wilsdorf went into business with his brother-in-law in the 1900s: robust Swiss mechanical watches that could withstand the rigors of daily wear.

It’s in the Datejust that one sees the purity of Hans Wilsdorf’s vision. Since its inception in the mid-1940s, the Datejust has been the bedrock of the Oyster Perpetual collection. More than the Submariner or the GMT Master—which, whatever they may look like now, had their genesis as tool watches—the Datejust is versatile.

Simply put, there’s a Datejust for every environment, professional or casual. It’s been cast in steel, gold, or steel-and-gold (a combination Rolex calls Rolesor), with a bracelet that even has a name—the Jubilee. Yet it looks good on leather paired with a tailored blazer, or on a nylon strap and a pair of chinos.

This particular Datejust is a Reference 1603 with a serial that puts it in the mid-1970s—right when the watch industry was in a state of flux. Yet if you didn’t know that bit of information, you wouldn’t be able to tell when it was produced just by looking at it. A Datejust looks like a Datejust, whether from the 1960s or today.

The 1603, with its engine-turned steel bezel and Oyster bracelet, is definitely one of the sportier iterations; but that glorious grey pie pan dial gives it a touch of class.


SKU: AS01915

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Datejust Reference 1603. Circa mid-1970s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in very good condition with minimal signs of wear, particularly to the sides of the case. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and fine even patina to the luminescent hour plots and hands. Rolex crown. Rolex case back has some signs of use and wear consistent with age.

Includes one 20mm 7386 Oyster bracelet with 358 end links. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

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