A legendary timepiece with iconic history, the Rolex Day-Date has earned the title of the "Watch of Prestige" for a very good reason. Unveiled in 1956, it swiftly became the preferred choice for athletes, visionaries, and global leaders, leading to its enduring moniker 'the President.' This nickname persists even today, as the watch continues to serve as Rolex's flagship offering.
Released in 1977, the Rolex Day-Date Ref. 18038 introduced several upgrades that positioned it ahead of the competition. Among these enhancements were a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a notable improvement over the previous plastic acrylic, and the "single quick" date set function. This innovation allowed the watch to rapidly cycle through the date without the need to backtrack, a step forward enabled by Rolex's new self-winding movement, the Rolex Cal. 3055.
Crafted from 18-carat yellow gold, this Ref. 18038 features the signature three-piece link "Presidential" bracelet and the classic 36mm case adorned with a fluted yellow gold bezel. While these aspects are expected of a Rolex Day-Date, its strikingly vivid 'burl wood' dial is anything but ordinary. It possesses a nice touch of rich brown tones which beautifully complements its warm yellow gold case, also distinguishing this Day-Date as one of the most stunning examples of the Ref. 18038 available.
Notably, there was a period in time between 1980 and 1990 during which Rolex conducted extensive experiments with an array of dials crafted from natural materials. Prominently, natural stones like lapis lazuli, malachite, and onyx gained recognition and collector's desire due to their limited production numbers. However, Rolex's exploration extended beyond stones to encompass other organic elements such as African mahogany and birch. The latter is showcased in this current variant and is colloquially termed 'burl wood' by collectors.
Furthermore, what makes this particular example so special is the fact that it comes in amazing condition and with everything it originally came with. With its outer box even retaining its ‘18038’ sticker to the original unused Rolex notebook, when we say this comes as full set, we really mean it.
When it comes to a piece like this, words can hardly capture the depth and beauty of the dial, so I'll allow the images to speak for themselves.