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 with an 18-carat yellow gold case, this beautiful example of a Ref. 18038 showcases the iconic three-piece link "Presidential" bracelet and a classic 36mm case with a fluted yellow gold bezel. While these features are anticipated for a Day-Date, what makes this one truly exceptional is its captivating deep black onyx dial in such well-preserved condition. In addition to that, our example also comes fitted with a Spanish day wheel.
Notably, there was a period in time between 1980 (thereabouts) and 1990 during which Rolex conducted extensive experiments with an array of dials crafted from natural materials. Natural stones like lapis lazuli, malachite, and onyx gained recognition within collector circles due to their overall rarity. Renowned for their minimalistic and profound black appearance, these onyx dials have emerged as one of the most coveted Day Date variants ever created by Rolex.
Gazing at the dial of this Ref. 18038 is akin to staring into the abyss- there is a certain hypnotic quality to it that adds a lot of complexity to such a simple dial design. Additionally, I must highlight that there is also a certain charm that accompanies wearing an 18-carat yellow gold Rolex Day-Date adorned with a deep black onyx dial. This tasteful fusion epitomizes timelessness and elegance — black paired with yellow gold is the epitome of enduring style, at least in my opinion.
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.