I am no expert in gemology, but I will say that I spent a few hours (I did take my time) taking pictures and checking out hands-on the Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald, and no matter the lighting (ambient, artificial, or natural light), the emeralds of the bezel as well as the substantially sized 6 and 9 o’clock indices looked perfectly alike in color, cut, and overall execution. Even when checking my images I can only wonder at how the light of my camera’s flash entered the tight row of green emeralds and bounced around countless times to seemingly illuminate the bezel from the inside.


Once the stones have been sorted by clarity and color, they are handed over to Rolex’s master gem-setters, skilled in the various techniques of their profession: bead (or pavé) setting as seen here in this full pavé diamond dial, or channel setting, bezel setting, and prong or claw setting. Getting the colors right is just the beginning to making a high-jewelry piece stand out: the precise alignment of the height of the gems, their orientation and position, the robustness, regularity, and aesthetics of the setting, as well as the finishing of the beads.

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These technical details all make perfect sense in the abstract, but – again, unless you are a gemologist or professional gem-setter – I feel safe in saying that the exceptional overall quality and look is what will amaze you, so much so that for long after the first look, you will fail to focus on such small details as the height of the stones or their remarkable uniformity of color and hue. Simply holding it in one’s hand (or better still, wearing it on the wrist – more on that in a bit) shows how an item produced with such accuracy and attention to detail remains largely incomparable to 99.99999 (add more nines) percent of other man-made objects.


As for the watch itself, here’s something interesting about Rolex’s approach to a high-six-figure-priced watch: the Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald is based on the Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum Reference 228396, so much so that it even shares the same reference number, simply adding TEM to the six-digit number to indicate the full pavé diamond dial and green emerald bezel.


Details are spot on, including the subtly curved Rolex crown and the rare, green date and day discs.

Consequently, the watch itself is largely like a platinum Rolex Day-Date 40, no way around it. And accordingly, the movement inside is also Rolex’s new 3255 caliber (that we debuted last year here). The 3255 was introduced with the Day-Date 40 at Baselworld 2015, and it is the first movement Rolex submitted to its completely overhauled and more stringent in-house tests. Rolex takes each 3255 that they have COSC chronometer certified to -4/+6 seconds of daily precision, cases it up, and tests it for a much more stringent -2/+2 seconds of daily accuracy (more details here about the new in-house tests concerning power reserve, water resistance, and accuracy).

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The Rolex President bracelet in platinum, now with ceramic inserts inside the links to eliminate stretch and wear inside the bracelet. (Protective plastic still in place, finishing is spot on, of course.)

Sure, platinum Rolex Day-Date 40 watches are already a rare breed among Rolex watches produced today, but the complexity, refinement, as well as the high rarity-factor of the bezel and dial combination help this Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald take things to the next level – pricing included, of course. Enough scrutiny, let’s see how the 228396TEM looks on the wrist.


It is almost uncanny how different the Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald looks off and on the wrist – and equally annoying how difficult it is to capture in still photography. Off the wrist, it appears visually front heavy – understandably so – while, on the wrist, the 40-millimeter-wide case (reduced from 41 when the Day-Date 40 replaced the Day-Date II in early 2015), super complex dial, and proportionate bezel look perfectly at home.


If you don’t like heavily bejeweled timepieces, this dripping-with-diamonds Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald 228396TEM is not likely to change your mind. But if you have allowed high-jewelry watches to grow on you (as I have), then it will hit pretty much all the sweet spots: the weight of platinum is accompanied by such visual mass that you don’t even notice the heft (in fact, you may actually be expecting and demanding it), while the proportions and the modern – though by today’s standards rather conservative – 40-millimeter-wide case and excellent President bracelet make for a complete package we have grown to like so much in the new Rolex DD40.


On a most personal note, I will say that those who know me would likely not describe me as the target audience for high-jewelry watches… and yet, I’d still totally wear the Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald, just to simply enjoy the primordial joy that beautifully crafted, rare, shiny objects bring – and there are very few watches that can top Rolex when it comes to those.

Crafted and made available for those who are used to being treated to every fine thing the world can offer, the Rolex Day-Date 40 Green Emerald Reference 228396TEM is priced at €430,000.

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