A cornerstone of the Rolex collection from its very origins, the Rolex Datejust is a name that speaks for itself. Introduced in 1945, it not only celebrated the brand's 40th anniversary but also introduced the revolutionary concept of an automatic date-change mechanism. Undoubtedly, the Datejust holds the distinction of being the most recognizable and favoured timepiece around the world. This reputation is largely owed to its exceptional quality, craftsmanship, and reasonable price point, consistently affirming the Datejust as a prudent and compelling selection.
Over the decades, Rolex has made numerous dial and case variations for the Datejust. While many are commonly found, there exist rare dial versions, and even beyond those are the highly coveted and elusive editions often regarded as the "holy grails". The Datejust Ref. 1601/8 we have on offer here today belongs to the latter category simply because it comes with one of the most sought-after stone dials to have ever graced Rolex’s catalogue – the red jasper.
For context, jasper is a composite gemstone known for its glossy lustre and opaque exterior, usually formed from a combination of quartz and chalcedony. Among the array of precious gemstone dials used by Rolex, there is a prevailing preference leaning towards the use of green jasper. However, a far less common variant emerges in the form of this vibrant red jasper iteration, distinguished by its enticing reddish-Bordeaux undertones. Let me explain.
Historically, the Day-Date serves as Rolex's creative canvas for exploring and experimenting with the use of precious stone dials. Encasing such dials in a precious metal Datejust, as seen in this particular example, is a relatively uncommon occurrence. The design approach taken here is gracefully straightforward: customary hour markers typically found on a Datejust have been deliberately omitted, creating ample negative space that allows the red jasper stone dial to take centre stage. To complete the set, the vivid red jasper dial on this example here finds harmony with an 18-carat yellow gold case, fitted with a fluted bezel and a Presidential bracelet – a truly impeccable combination, if I may say so myself.
Notably, while green jasper dials have found their way into both Day-Dates and Datejusts, I have only seen red jasper dials showing up in the market on Datejusts.
When it comes to a piece like this, words cannot describe the depth and beauty of the dial, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.