Rolex Day-Date 36 Delights With Decorative Stone Dials
Lauded for their vibrant colours and unique natural patterns, Oyster Perpetual Day-Date models with ornamental stone dials have been sought after by collectors since the 1970s.
The Oyster Perpetual Day-Date holds a unique and enduring position in Rolex’s stable, preserving its iconic design to this day. Chief of its features are the two distinct windows on the dial that made it the first self-winding, waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the day of the week spelt out in full as well as the date when it was introduced in 1956. It has only been crafted in precious metals since, from yellow gold to platinum, and comes with a unique semi-circular link bracelet specially designed for the collection. A stately watch for statesmen, the Day-Date would earn its moniker as “the presidents’ watch” in 1965, when President Lyndon B Johnson was photographed wearing it. The watch’s prestige and value steadily grew with its association with eminent figures, and its bracelet became iconised as the President bracelet.
Unique Stone Dials
In the 1960s, the Day-Date became the choice of the wealthy elite, and authorised Rolex distributors and retailers began receiving requests for customisations, such as gems and Eastern Arabic numerals on the dials. By the 1970s, customisation options expanded to include decorative stone dials, and retailers could order from a list that outlined the available options and their associated costs. The selection ranged from lapis lazuli to onyx, malachite, tiger eye, and more.
As Rolex incorporated new movements with innovative features into the watch, it continued to produce Day-Dates with ornamental stone dials, which collectors cherished for their vibrant colours and unique natural patterns. Second-generation models were fitted with the calibre 1556, which featured a stop-seconds feature for precise time-setting and a higher beat rate. In 1977, the calibre 3055 was introduced with a 4Hz frequency and a quickset date function.
Stone Dials Today
This year, three Day-Date 36 models in precious metals introduce three new decorative stone dials. Each timepiece features a gem-set bezel adorned with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds and applied gold Roman numeral indexes, also set with diamonds. These watches exude opulence and elegance, with their polished cases enhancing the radiance of their decorative dials.
The Ref. 128345RBR, housed in Rolex’s 18K Everose gold, showcases a green aventurine dial with a highly crystallised surface. This is the first time Rolex has used green aventurine, and it is inspired by the Mediterranean coast, with the natural colour of the stone reflecting the lush greenery of the region’s forests. A second model in 18K yellow gold features a carnelian dial, a stone with varying hues of orange and distinctive wavy lines. The warm tones of the Ref. 128348RBR complement the brilliance of its yellow gold case and evoke the colours of a sunset on the horizon. Finally, the 18K white gold Ref. 128349RBR has a turquoise dial with natural veining, reminiscent of the cool blues of the ocean.
The new Day-Date 36 models are equipped with Rolex’s calibre 3255, which incorporates Rolex’s Chronergy escapement. The nickel-phosphorous escapement is anti-magnetic and highly efficient, providing the watch with a substantial power reserve of up to 70 hours. The movement also features a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers and delivers instantaneous day and date jumps precisely at midnight. These exquisite timepieces elevate the gem-set Oyster Perpetual Day-Dates to new heights of sophistication.
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