Released in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary, the Datejust has become one of the Geneva-based watchmaker’s most iconic watches. One of the primary innovations present in the Datejust was the fact that the date was on display in a window and that it was always ‘just’ – hence how the name was created. This was a big step forward at the time as the Datejust was the first watch to have an automatically changing date function that wasn’t another hand pointing to the date along the dial periphery.
What we have on offer here today is a super rare variant of the iconic Datejust – the Ref. 16000 in stainless steel with a rare blue ‘Buckley’ dial. For context, the dial was actually named after a renowned vintage watch dealer “John Buckley” who was based in New York at the time and famously loved this particular rare dial before collectors and enthusiasts eventually picked up on it.
This beautiful dial is characterized by its signature printed Roman numerals in white which beautifully offsets the blue dial, coupled with a set of white hour and minute hands, and some nicely aged “bleeding” tritium luminous plots just sitting right above the Roman numerals. For those who do not know, the “Swiss T” marking at 6 o ‘clock here signifies the usage of tritium as the energy source for luminescence on wristwatches at the time. The dial also showcases a second hand, an outer minute track on its periphery, and an anti-reflective cyclops lens hovering just over the date window for magnification purposes.
As far as movement goes, housed within its conservative 36mm stainless-steel case is the famous self-winding, in-house Rolex Cal. 3035, which was also the first Datejust movement to feature a quick date change mechanism. With everything considered, the Datejust Buckley is an absolute treat and prize today to Rolex collectors.
Even though it wasn’t designed for any specific use like the Daytona was for car racing or the Submariner for diving, the Datejust was an instant success due to its dressy yet everyday wear design. The utility offered by its date function, the clarity of its dial, and the ability for the watch to take daily wear and tear made it a fan-favorite.
Today the Datejust has become one of Rolex’s most recognizable watches. With this particular example, you get the wearability of a Datejust with the added rarity of its Buckley layout.