The Rolex Day-Date, without a doubt, has to be one of the most iconic watches ever produced. Even to those who don’t know about watches, the Day-Date is something that is instantly recognizable. First released in 1956, it has evolved over many references and the 18038 you see here today sits somewhere in the middle.
Many would consider the Ref. 18038 as the perfect balance between vintage looks and modern usability. On one hand, you get the perfect vintage case style and size while the newly improved (at the time) Cal. 3155 provides you with a quickset function so you can easily set the day and date.
One rule that has stuck to the Day-Date since day one is that it was only to be produced in precious metals, with yellow gold being the preferred choice. Also, interestingly, the Day-Date was the first watch ever produced that showed the day in full on the dial.
Quickly, with Rolex’s iconic branding and reputation for high quality, it became one of the most revered luxury watches and became known as ‘the President’. While the Day-Date was certainly a luxury watch, it was also built like a tank as per Rolex’s standards, most notably being housed in an Oyster case.
Rolex made many Day-Dates in all sorts of configurations with different precious metals and dial variants, opening up a whole wormhole of collecting today. Although, there is something to be said about the purity of the basic, clean Day-Date. Sunburst dial, 18k yellow gold case- no diamonds, no fancy stone dials. It’s loud without shouting, it’s gold without the bling.