March 16, 2016
by Ariel Adams
For Baselworld 2016, Rolex has some interesting new watch introductions including the crowd-pleasing new Rolex Daytona with the black ceramic bezel as well as my favorite, the new Rolex Datejust 41. Rolex offers some very classic renditions for what is actually its most advanced Rolex Datejust model to date, thereby bringing a classic back to the modern age in a watch that bears the “Green Seal.” What is the Green Seal, you ask? It is Rolex’s unofficial official title for its new in-house certification that most people will simply read as “Superlative Chronometer.”
Let me spend a little bit of time talking about the Rolex Green Seal and the new in-house-made caliber 3235 automatic movement inside of the Rolex Datejust 41 collection. Back in February aBlogtoWatch debuted Rolex’s official announcement that it was going to set forth a new -2/+2 accuracy rating threshold as well as a five-year warranty for its entire collection of movements. Rolex is more or less making its historic term “Superlative Chronometer” mean more, and the in-house certification process yields watches that have the Rolex Green Seal. Make sense?
The caliber 3235 is very similar to last year’s new Rolex caliber the 3255 which was introduced into the Rolex Day-Date 40 (hands-on here). In fact, the Rolex Datejust 41’s slew of updates and refinements are very similar to those that went into the updated Rolex Day-Date 40 “President” watch. However, if you want a Rolex Day-Date 40 you are currently restricted to watches exclusively offered in precious metal cases, while the Rolex Datejust 41 is launched as a two-tone model at around one-third the price of a Rolex Day-Date 40, and it is a killer timepiece.
The Rolex caliber 3235 movement contains Rolex’s new Chronergy escapement as part of the regulation system which operates at 4Hz, while the movement has a power reserve of 70 hours and is extremely accurate. The 3255 and 3235 are easily among the finest movements Rolex has ever produced. Functionally, the real difference between the Rolex Day-Date 40’s 3255 movement and the Rolex Datejust 41’s 3235 movement is the day of the week indicator in the latter.
At 41mm wide the Rolex Datejust 41 has the same width dimensions as the generation of Rolex Datejust II models it will begin to replace. Introduced several years ago, the Rolex Datejust II was to be the “modern sized” big brother of the original Rolex Datejust which was only 36mm wide. Consumers loved the larger size of the Rolex Datejust II, but some critics complained about certain design refinement issues such as the too-small crown and other matters related to aesthetic proportions. Just as the Rolex Day-Date 40 fixed those issues with the Rolex Day-Date II, the Rolex Datejust 41 gracefully refines the Rolex Datejust II into being the modern-sized Rolex Datejust we deserve from Rolex.
While all the Rolex Datejust 41 watches for 2016 are two-tone, (we expect all-steel models to come in the future), there is a healthy variety of models that include steel and 18k yellow gold as well as steel and 18k Everose gold. Further, there are both smooth polished and fluted bezel options, as well as a three-link Rolex Oyster bracelet and a new Rolex Jubilee bracelet which I’ve been missing for modern-sized men’s Rolex models for a while. Also, don’t forget that these are all “Rolesor,” watches which is the term Rolex uses for its two-tone steel and gold watches.
Rolex designates the the Rolex Datejust 41 models as a variety of reference numbers including the yellow gold and steel Ref. 126333 and the Everose gold and steel Ref. 126301. Personally, I am a yellow gold guy, so my favorite model is the Rolex Datejust 41 Ref. 126333 on the Jubilee bracelet with the baton-hour markers and champagne-toned dial. Its just a stunningly classic rendition of everything a non-sports Rolex watch should be for men. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m quite in love with this model that is priced about the same as the all-steel Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.
What also makes me happy is that even though the changes are subtle, Rolex is increasingly offering more variety in their models when it comes to sizes and style. For the longest time, there were far too many Rolex watches sized at 40mm wide. Today you can get modern-sized Rolex models sized at 39, 40, 41, 42, and 44mm wide. The refined lugs on the Rolex Datejust 41 make the watch comfortable and integrate beautifully with the bracelets.
Watch collectors tend to look mostly at Rolex sport watches but the Rolex Datejust isn’t just a timepiece for aspirational types who simply want “the Rolex” and leave it at that. The highly versatile looks of the Datejust are distinctively Rolex but able to fit in with a range of clothing styles, ages, and personalities. It is, nevertheless, a “status watch,” which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your style. If you are comfortable showing off a timepiece that has certain connotations that go with it (again, good or bad, depending on the context) the Rolex Datejust 41 should be on a very short list of models. In the scheme of “status watches,” the Rolex Datejust 41 is rather conservative, and it isn’t a choice you need to justify to anyone – be they watch lover or merely someone familiar with the Rolex brand.
Rolex offers both baton-style hour markers and diamond hour marker options for the Rolex Datejust 41, which adds to the variety these models require in order to appeal to the greatest number of consumers around the world. In some places, it would be unthinkable to get a Rolex Datejust 41 with diamonds, and in other places it would be a shame to get such a watch without diamond hour markers.
Rolex continues to surprise us with their new models each year, even though there is an obvious theme and trend to their new release decisions. The Rolex Datejust 41 is about refining something already great, rather than trying to offering something new. Rolex here asserts the validity of one of their most timeless designs while also making improvements – no matter how subtle they might be. Prices for the Rolex Datejust 41 start at 9,150 euros for the smooth gold bezel on the Oyster bracelet, and 9,200 euros for the same model with a fluted bezel. My favorite Rolex Datejust 41 Rolesor with the champagne dial and Jubilee bracelet is priced at 9,700 euros, and the collection goes up to 11,200 euros with diamond hour markers. Look for the Rolex Datejust 41 watches in time for Summer 2016. rolex.com