The Shiniest Rolexes You Can Buy In 2021

Put on your shades for the formidably bejewelled Rolex Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust.

We are not sure if you noticed, but Rolex is drawing a great deal of attention to its savoir faire in ornamentation this year. Save for the new Explorer and Explorer II watches, which are adventure-inspired, the rest of Rolex’s creations have been full of visual drama. From new Datejust 36 models featuring laser-etched palm fronds and an artful interpretation of its famous fluted bezel on the dials, to one-of-a-kind Cosmograph Daytona models flaunting rare and beautiful meteorite stones, we have been treated to an intriguing show of Rolex’s decorative prowess.

Away from captivating dials, another important pillar of Rolex’s aesthetic finesse is its proficiency in precious metals and gemstones. This is demonstrated to full effect with the new Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust models – two offerings that are as unabashed in their ostentation, as they are in expressing Rolex’s in-house expertise in gemmology and concocting unique gold alloys.

Day-Date 36

Rolex calls the Day-Date its ‘ultimate watch of prestige’, and the new Day-Date 36 lives up to this accolade with aplomb. As the name suggests, a Rolex Day-Date displays the day written in full via a window at 12 o’clock, and the date at three o’clock, magnified by the iconic Cyclops lens. These distinctive and practical displays are not only ever-present on the new watches, they have been lavished with the red-carpet treatment, thanks to a stupendous pairing of diamonds and gold.

For those who are unaware, Day-Date models are crafted only in precious metals. The new additions are no exception. A radiant and colourful trio, the new Day-Date 36 comes in yellow, white and Everose gold cases complemented by orange, turquoise and burgundy indices and alligator straps, respectively.

Even more impressively, all the gold that is used on Rolex’s watches are forged in the company’s own in-house foundry. Set up in the early 2000s, the in-house gold foundry allows Rolex to set exceedingly stringent standards, in order to produce precious metals that exude unmistakable shine and lustre.

Rolex’s fastidious process of crafting of its own gold involves smelting highly guarded blends of alloys in an extremely high temperature of 1000°C, cooling and re-heating them in a multi-step process to get solid rods of 18K gold, and then finally shaping and finishing them to be used as various watch parts. While it is certainly unusual for a watch company to concoct and cast its own gold, it really isn’t that surprising for a company of Rolex’s stature and standards.

Likewise, the shower of diamonds that pave the Day-Date 36's case, lugs, dial and clasp are hewn from an exacting in-house process. Every single stone on the new Day-Date 36 – there are 812 diamonds on each model – are carefully procured, verified, cut and set by Rolex’s own gemological and gem-setting departments. Rolex even goes so far as to set tolerance standards of no more than two hundredths of a millimetre – between each stone setting, which explains the unbridled glitter you see on the new Day-Date 36 watches.

Lady-Datejust

Though diminutive, the diamond-encrusted Lady-Datejust is a watch that will not go unnoticed. Introduced in 1957 as the feminine companion to Rolex’s iconic Datejust, the Lady-Datejust is recognised by its petite 28mm case and refined profile that is made specially for slender wrists. Over the decades, the Lady-Datejust collection has grown to include models that come in a giddy array of materials and styles, but this latest bejewelled version ranks among the most resplendent of them all.

Available in yellow or white gold case with matching three piece-link President bracelet, the new Lady-Datejust is a true heavyweight. Almost every available space on the case, bracelet and dial is set with IF (internally flawless) grade brilliant-cut diamonds that have been carefully selected by Rolex’s gemmologists.

The entire case, including the case sides and lugs, is covered with 158 brilliant-cut diamonds. Elsewhere, the bezel is set with 44 brilliant-cut diamonds, while the President bracelet is festooned with 596 brilliant-cut diamonds. To complete the show of sparkle, the dial is paved with 291 diamonds. An online check for its price tag turned up a ‘price on request’ status. This means that you’d really have to be a baller and be absolutely serious about securing one if you are thinking about making an enquiry.

 

As breathtaking as the diamonds and gold are, the new Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust models are no mere showstoppers, they are also excellent timekeepers that deliver top-notch performance and precision – a prerequisite for any Rolex watch, really.

The Day-Date 36 is driven by the Calibre 3255, Rolex’s new-generation in-house automatic movement with patented and energy-efficient Chronergy escapement, anti-magnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, and patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers. The Lady-Datejust, on the other hand, features the automatic Calibre 2236 with patented Syloxi hairspring in silicon and a paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus escape wheel. Both models are certified as Superlative Chronometers that are precise to -2/+2 seconds per day – far exceeding the -4/+6 daily accuracy demanded by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

Rolex Lady-Datejust

It is not often for one to get her proverbial horological cake and eat it. Mechanical watches for women tend to be really pretty but lack technical muscle, or may be technically competent but are actually poorly disguised versions of men’s watches. Loaded with forthright femininity, in-your-face glamour and mechanical sophistication, the new Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust are made for queens who want it all.

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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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