Watch & Clock Planet Barcelona, more than 30 years of experience in pre-owned luxury and vintage watches, accessories and parts.
Select by brand


A short history of the Rolex Datejust


Rolex is probably the best known watch brand in the world and the Rolex Datejust might be understated when compared to other Rolex family members. The Datejust is an early Rolex model launched in 1945 and still alive and kicking after 73 years. It was presented  in the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva by Hans Wilsdorf himself, the founder of Rolex, as the very first automatic wristwatch with an automatically changing date window. This is a feature that we take for granted today, but in the 40s it was a remarkable change.


The Datejust was also housed in an Oyster case, another Rolex invention,  making it the very first waterproof wristwatch case to be produced serially.  The Datejust launch was an ode to the 40th anniversary of Rolex and came with a new bracelet, called Jubilee.  Originally, Jubilee was considered for the name of the watch itself, but it ended up just on the fine-linked bracelet that we still have today.


The first Datejust reference was 4467 in yellow gold with the corresponding yellow gold Jubilee bracelet. It came with an open creamy white dial with applied gold markers for the hours and a "roulette" date window that showed even days in red and odd days in black. There was no cyclops magnifier in the crystal at this time – that would be another Rolex first, introduced on the Datejust in 1955. You'll notice that the name Datejust doesn't actually appear on the dial anywhere; instead we have a "Rolex / Oyster Perpetual" signature at 12 o'clock and the "Chronometre" indication at 6 o'clock. The bezel was lightly fluted, a feature that became more emphasized in the 1960s.


Over the following years, countless variations of the Datejust emerged from two-tone steel and pink gold varations to entirely steel models.  and watches featuring everything from stone dials to diamond bezels. The name Datejust began to appear sporadically on the ref. 5030 and 5031 but the branding only became permanent on the later 6074 and 6075 models. To detail every variation of the Datejust is almost an impossible task but some very serious collectors are on it! 

Return to the list