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The Rolex Datejust vs. the Rolex President

Rolex Datejust

The two most popular models of Rolex wristwatches are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust and the Rolex Day Date President (also known as the Rolex Day Date Presidential). The Datejust was introduced in 1945, while the Day Date President was first showcased in 1956 at the Basel Fair. Over time these models became Rolex's flagship watches and, due to their immense popularity, are still made today. Discerning customers have appreciated these models for their appearance and unique functionality over the years; a comprehensive review and comparison of these models will help you understand the basic commonalities and differences between them.

How are the Rolex Datejust and the Rolex Day Date President Different?

Basic Difference: The basic difference between the two, evident in their names, is while the Datejust model displays only the date, the Rolex Day Date President model comes with both date and day displays--both seen through separate apertures in the watch dial. In both the Datejust and President, the date is displayed at the 3 o'clock position, while in presidential models the day is spelled out (in 26 languages) at the 12 o'clock position.

Metal Used: The Oyster Perpetual Datejust is available in stainless steel, 18-karat yellow/white gold, and Rolesor (steel and any one form of gold). The Ladies' Datejust is also available in pink (rose) gold and platinum. Of all prevaling models, the stainless steel and two-tone versions of Datejust have been extremely popular.

On the other hand, the Day Date models are not available in stainless steel. These are made exclusively in platinum or 18k yellow, white, or pink gold.

Size of the Case: All Rolex Day Date models are available with a case size of 36mm for men as well as women. In the Datejust, however, the case size is different for men and women: for men the standard case size is 36mm while for women it is either 26mm or 29mm. Rolex also offers a mid-sized version of the Datejust, featuring a case size of 31mm. Recently, Rolex also launched a special edition Datejust at the Basel Fair in 2008 that featured a case size of 34mm.

The early Datejust models featured a domed back similar to that found in the Rolex Bubbleback, while newer model of the Datejust are a little thinner. Although the early President case was larger, it never had a domed back. If planning to buy a vintage variety of either the Datejust or President be cognizant of this model difference.

Bracelet: The style of bracelet in these two popular Rolex models has always been one of the key identifying factors. The Datejust models initially flaunted the Jubilee Bracelet, which gives the watch a unique look with three central links perfectly complimented by broader links on either edge. On the other hand, in 1956, when the Rolex Day Date model was launched, it featured a new bracelet known as the "President" bracelet. This bracelet has become popular for its powerful appearance featuring broad central links offset by narrower links on the sides. In many popular models, the President bracelet flaunts sparkling diamonds on the center links. Additionally, a standard feature that can be found in most Day Date models is the concealed clasp in the bracelet.

By 1957 (one year after the Day Date model was launched), Rolex offered three types of bracelets for its Datejust line, namely: the usual Jubilee bracelet, the Oyster bracelet, and a leather strap. The Oyster bracelet features a central link flanked by narrower links on its sides. Some Datejust models are also available with the President bracelet options.

In 2000, Rolex released the Day Date watch with an Oyster bracelet option, which was available in 18k yellow gold, white gold, and pink (rose) gold.

The "Jubilee" bracelet is also available in a "steel-only" version in Stainless Steel Datejust models. President models, however, are not available with steel cases and there is likewise not a steel bracelet option for them. However, Presidents are available with a "Super Jubilee" karat bracelet in 18k yellow gold.

How are the Rolex Datejust and the Rolex Day Date President Similar?

Rolex Day Date President

Although there are some clearly distinguishing features between the Datejust and the Day Date President, these two popular watch models also have some common technical and cosmetic attributes. These are described below:

Cyclops Lens: Both these models feature the Cyclops lens, which helps in magnifying the date two-and-a-half times.

Synthetic Sapphire Crystal: You will find scratch resistant synthetic sapphire crystals in both the Datejust and Day Date models. This feature also makes these watches completely waterproof.

31 Jewel Chronometer Movement: Both these models flaunt 31-jeweled movement wherein precious stones such as synthetic sapphires or rubies are placed on the movement at key pivot points. This helps in reducing friction and hence causes less wear and tear.

Hacking Feature: In the early 1970s, the hacking feature was introduced in these Rolex models. This feature simplifies the time setting procedure by stopping the second hand completely once the winding crown is pulled out.

Quick Set Feature: By the late 1970s, both the Datejust and Day Date models were outfitted with this feature, which allowed the date to be set rapidly by using the winding step without having the hour hand pass over the "midnight position." Currently, the Day Date models feature the Double Quick Set feature, which allows both the date and the day to be set quickly via the winding stem.

Chronometer Markings: Currently, the chronometer marking that can be found in both Rolex models is "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified." It is important to note that the Day Date model 6611 was the first Rolex watch to display this certification.

Dial: Cosmetically, the dials in the current versions of Rolex Datejust and Rolex Day Date have quite similar features and are available with many common options. For instance, 18k "Pave" diamond dial, 18k gold "Pave Extra Large" diamond dial, Mother of Pearl dial set with 10 sapphires/emeralds, and many other dial options are available in both the Datejust and Day Date.

Bezel: Some of the common bezel styles that can be found in both Datejust and President models include the polished bezel, fluted bezel, channel set bezel, and beadset bezel. Sparkling diamonds are fitted into both the channel set and beadset bezels. In ladies' Oyster Perpetual Datejusts, the bezel can also be set with sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. Domed bezels exist only in President models. Likewise, special 18k yellow or white gold turn-o-graph bezels can be found only in some Datejust models.

Case Reference Numbers: All current Datejust and President models (since 2000) bear a 6-digit case reference number. This is true for other Rolex models as well.

In spite of these commonalities, the Rolex Datejust and the Rolex President are two distinctly identifiable models in terms of their movement and basic functionality, and the overall differences in their style and appearance make them clearly distinguishable from each other. There is no question, however, that in their own striking ways, they represent the very best of Rolex quality and precision.