Rolex Day-Date 36 Ref. 128238: Singapore Price And ReviewWritten by Melissa Kong
The new Rolex Day-Date is for the boss that you truly are.
Few brands can send pulses racing into overdrive like Rolex does with every nuanced update to its collections. Stainless steel Daytona? Too hot. New ‘Batman’ GMT? Take a number. It’s kind of like the Hermès of the watch world where, just because you can afford a Birkin, it doesn’t mean you’ll land one.
We acknowledge, though, that this level of hype is usually reserved for Rolex’s sports models. That means your Explorers, Submariners, Daytonas, Sea-Dwellers and the like. For its classic models, the fanfare, while still palpable, is slightly more reserved. Except when it comes to the Day-Date.
Since its debut in 1956, the Day-Date has evolved to be the unofficial mark of a successful person. A ‘boss’ watch, if you will. Movie buffs will remember the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, which saw Alec Baldwin as a motivational sales coach emphasising how his Rolex Day-Date cost more than a car (read about it here). In recent times, the model has also been seen on wrists of celebrities like Jay-Z, Eric Clapton, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and comedian Aziz Ansari who, himself, is a discerning collector.
But what exactly is the appeal of the Day-Date? Well, apart from being one of the most elegant models in Rolex’s stable of timepieces, the Day-Date made history as the first watch to have the day of the week spelt out in full in an arc at 12 o’clock (did you know the day is available in a choice of 26 languages?).
It also comes in the 'President' bracelet, designed exclusively for this model when it was launched in 1956. Till today, the bracelet is reserved only for the Day-Date and selected Datejust models. Coincidentally, the Day-Date is also known as the ‘President’s Watch’, but more likely because heads of state like former US President Lyndon B. Johnson have been known to favour it.
While Rolex watches come in a variety of case and bracelet materials, the Day-Date is only available in precious metals like gold and 950 platinum. Interestingly, the company did produce six stainless steel models around 1959. Apparently, these were given to the top students at the Geneva School of Horology (Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève) for their outstanding work. But because market research back then suggested gold was more well-received, Rolex subsequently stopped production of the steel version.
This year, the brand unveiled a selection of Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 models but we’ll focus on the one we think really steals the show—the Ref. 128238. Endowed with a glossy green ombre dial and eight diamond markers, this version is paired with an 18K yellow gold case, fluted bezel and bracelet. At 36mm, it leans towards the feminine side but we think it wouldn’t look out of place on men with small wrists. Also, bling is quite universal these days, so no worries about that at all.
Inside the Ref. 128238 is the Calibre 3255 (above), debuting in a Day-Date 36 for the first time (it was previously used in the Day-Date 40). It’s packed with features like the patented Chronergy escapement with Parachrom hairspring, and Paraflex shock absorbers, and offers a power reserve of 70 hours.
Of course, there are more understated versions of the Day-Date, which come sans diamonds or coloured ombre dial, but this one’s more likely to make you stand out from the crowd. And that’s what sets you apart as the boss, no?
|36mm in 18K yellow gold|
|Green ombre with sunray finish and 10 diamond markers|
Self-winding Calibre 3255
|18K yellow gold President bracelet with concealed Crownclasp|
|Hours, minutes, seconds, instantaneous day and date, secure rapid-setting and stop-seconds for exact time setting|
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".