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Sir Winston Churchill and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Beyond being men of achievement and distinction who led the Allies through the darkest years of the Second World War, these men had one thing in common that inextricably links them together.
They wore the same watch: the Rolex Datejust.
From its introduction in 1945, the Datejust has been the linchpin of the Oyster Perpetual collection. Though perhaps less sporty, less adventurous than the Submariner or the GMT, the Datejust nevertheless embodies Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf’s vision: to create robust Swiss mechanical watches that could withstand the rigors of daily wear. This was achieved by the inclusion of a date window at 3 o’clock—the first watch to have that feature.
It’s not that any manufacture—Rolex included—had never released a watch with a date before. Many had, but the dates were printed on a chapter at the outer edge of the dial and indicated with a pointer. By putting the date prominently at 3 o’clock, Rolex created a silhouette that was entirely unique.
More than that, the date—as the name suggests—was easily adjustable by turning the crown.
That feature, combined with the automatic movement and sturdy Oyster case, created a watch that was at once elegant and utilitarian, appealing to both the everyman and the statesman.
Rolex sought to drive that point home by approaching Winston Churchill, the most popular man in the United Kingdom. Churchill had led the nation with dogged determination throughout the war, and afterwards he—along with his counterparts in the U.S. and the Soviet Union—set about the laborious task of reconstructing a fragmented Europe. Cognizant of the role Churchill held during the war, and of the Herculean labors yet ahead of him, Rolex presented him with the 100,000th chronometer the brand produced—a Datejust.
Next was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had masterminded the invasion of Normandy and in the 1950s was settling into the role of elder statesman. Grateful to him for liberating Europe, Rolex presented him with a Datejust engraved with his initials and five stars, signifying his rank in the U.S. Army. Eisenhower would go on to wear the watch for the rest of his life, displaying it with pride on the cover of Life Magazine.
Since then, the Datejust has been worn by everyone from Nobel Prize Winners to Prime Ministers to your next-door neighbor, giving it an appeal that’s nothing short of universal.
This particular Datejust is a Reference 1600. With its smooth steel bezel, it is definitely a classic, related to but somewhat removed from the earlier versions that Eisenhower and Churchill wore. But that gorgeous black pie dial gives it a touch of class that makes it a watch that anyone—from presidents to the boy next door—would be proud to wear.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Reference 1600. Rolex Calibre 1570 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1971.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in very good condition overall showing signs of moderate use and wear. Black pie pan dial is in very good condition with even patina to the luminescent material of the hour plots. Luminescent material of the hands have been professionally repainted to match. Rolex crown. Rolex case back has some signs of age but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm 6251H/55 Jubilee bracelet. Bracelet shows some signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
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