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Reign Of The Lady-Datejust

We pay homage to the varied and statement-making fabulosity of Rolex’s quintessential women’s collection this International Women’s Day.

Lady-Datejust in 28mm Oystersteel and Everose gold case with diamonds, and chocolate dial set with diamonds 

For sure, we will never allow ourselves to be caught in a bind trying to nominate the best women’s watches from Rolex. There have been far less arduous undertakings in horology than arbitrarily proclaiming ‘the best’ watch (in any category, to be fair) from the world’s most famous watch brand.

But to discern a women’s watch collection that is THE most historic and varied in Rolex’s catalogue – facts alone that would lend the watches requisite gravitas – is far less challenging. Surely, the title goes to the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust, a collection that began life way back in 1957 and is among one of the most varied lines in the Oyster Perpetual collection today.

Dubbed by Rolex as “a classic feminine watch par excellence”, the Lady-Datejust was created at a time when women were starting to chip away at male hegemony and garnering their due recognition in fields spanning showbusiness to science. It was a watch that was ostensibly made then, as it is today, for the modern woman.

Rolex Lady-DatejustThe first Lady-Datejust model from 1957

And what does that mean in watchmaking terms? As the name suggests, the Lady-Datejust is a sweet spot that combines beauty and performance; a balance that is easier said than done, evinced, even today, by numerous brands that struggle to marry the two.

Rolex was able to crack the code early, thanks to the work that had been put in decades earlier. In the case of the Lady-Datejust, the company took reference from the Datejust that it introduced in 1945. At the time of its launch, the Datejust was the world’s first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch with a date window at three o’clock on the dial (the feature that gave the collection its name). Rolex’s watchmakers then had the task of combining the Datejust’s three key features – chronometric precision, self-winding function, and waterproofness – in a woman’s watch that would complement the mechanical muscle with elegance and style.

Fast forward to today. Despite holding sway as the Rolex women’s watch line offering among the most number of references, the Lady-Datejust has stayed singularly distinctive and distinguished in both looks and performance. The carefully calibrated blend of the two is always in force and on show, regardless of the Lady-Datejust model.

Rolex Lady-DatejustLady-Datejust in 28mm yellow gold case with diamonds, and mother-of-pearl dial set with diamonds

Since the beginning, the Lady-Datejust watches have been housed in 28mm cases – a classic dimension that is perfectly suited for smaller wrists. Other features like the watches’ waterproofness (up to 100m in the modern version) and date display at three o’clock via Rolex’s iconic Cyclops lens have been a mainstay since the collection’s conception.

As for chronometric performance, it is delivered by way of Rolex’s self-winding Calibre 2236. An in-house movement developed and manufactured by Rolex, the Calibre 2236 features a host of patented innovations including Paraflex shock absorbers and Syloxi silicon hairspring. Since 2015, Lady-Datejusts have been certified Super Chronometers, promising +/-2 seconds daily accuracy, along with optimum robustness, reliability and magnetic resistance.

Rolex Calibre 2236Rolex in-house automatic Calibre 2236

The collection’s uncompromising performance and indelible presence ensure a strong foundation for the Lady-Datejust’s chameleonic allure to flourish, while the rich array of options available will leave one spoilt for choice. Even so, she can be certain there will be that one watch that’s tailor-made to suit her style or the occasion.

The watches are housed in an array of materials from classy Oystersteel to the full gamut of white, yellow and Everose gold, as well as combinations of Oystersteel and gold. Depending on the version, they are paired with a three-piece link Oyster bracelet, five-piece link Jubilee bracelet (created in 1945 especially for the Datejust), or a three-piece link President bracelet. And still, there’s more. You can really go to town with the range of gem-set models to satiate your personal appetite for bling, as well as the giddy assortment of dials spanning a range of evocative colours to mother-of-pearl options – with or without diamonds.

Rolex Lady-DatejustLady-Datejust in 28mm Oystersteel and white gold with dark grey dial set with diamonds

Whether you are flamboyant fashionista or simply looking for a watch that is elegant yet office-appropriate, the Lady-Datejust is one of those ports of call that promise a haven that is just right for you. Because there’s no such thing as just a Lady-Datejust.


Ex Editor-In Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.

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