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For years, Rolex’s commitment to excellence has given their watches a uniform look that’s wholly unto themselves.
However, that’s not always been the case—at least, not exactly.
True, a Rolex looks like a Rolex. Whether from 1916 or 1960, 1955 or 2015, each watch that Rolex produces has been meticulously designed and machined according to “the Rolex way.” But throughout Rolex’s century of existence, the manufacture has experimented with color, material, and texture, resulting in a dizzying array of products that’s quite impressive to the eye.
Take the Datejust, for example. First released in yellow gold in 1945, its trademark Oyster case (bedrock of all Rolex watches since the 1920s) has been cast in stainless steel, gold, or steel-and-gold. The dials fitted have been anything from silver, blue, or black; matte, gloss, or in textures like linen or even floral motifs.
And the look of the Day-Date, the Datejust’s more refined cousin, hasn’t been static either.
One thing about the Day-Date has remained the same throughout its five decades of production, and that’s the metal: 18k gold, whether in yellow, white, or rose. But regardless of the metal, Rolex has used a stunning variety of finishes on the Day-Date, on the bezel, case, or bracelet.
The finish on this particular Day-Date (a Reference 1803) is certainly one of our favorites. The top of the case and the outer links of the bracelet have been hand engraved with a deeply textured finish known amongst collectors as a "bark finish". This is achieved by etching the gold to make it look like—you guessed it—tree bark.
First appearing in the 1970s, this finish is perhaps most commonly seen on the center link of the President bracelet (so-called because of its association with President Lyndon B. Johnson). This Day-Date, however, has it in spades - both on the outer links of the bracelet and all over the top portions of the case. Combined with the black dial, it gives the watch an extra depth that’s absolutely breathtaking on the wrist.
A favorite of world leaders for decades, the Day-Date is a refined and elegant choice—but when you add a finish like this, the result is a distinctive watch that's positively regal.
18k yellow gold Oyster case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 1803. Circa early 1970s.
Overall Condition: case is in very good condition, with light signs of use and wear in keeping with age. Bark texture finishing is deep and shows no signs of heavy wear or over-polishing. Black dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour plots and hands. Rolex signed crown. Case back has been engraved "Boone" (removable if so desired).
Includes one 20mm 18k gold hidden clasp President bracelet with matching bark finish. Bracelet is in very good condition with minimal signs of age and wear.