April 21, 2018
by Ariel Adams
At Baselworld 2018, Rolex introduced a new meteorite dial option for the 18ct white gold version of the Day-Date 40 (reference 228239). Rolex currently sells a version of the Cosmograph Daytona chronograph with a meteorite dial, but the natural material is otherwise uncommon in today’s collection of Rolex watches. Given its organic and metallic crystalline aesthetic, meteorite has been appreciated as a dial material for decades—that it comes from outer space adds another dimension of value as well.
Rolex pairs this meteorite dial with baguette-cut diamond hour markers, making this a ritzy yet classy timepiece. Adding decorative elements, like diamonds, makes it challenging to retain the masculine identity of a watch, but the subtlety of the diamond hour markers makes it work. Of course, the dial has windows for the day of the week at 12 o’clock and for the date at 3 o’clock. In fact, when the Rolex Day-Date watch was originally introduced in 1956, it was the first wristwatch that had a dial which indicated both the date and the day of the week.
The Day-Date 40 is available only in gold or platinum, and it has what some consider to be Rolex’s most enduringly classic design. Yes, some watch enthusiasts might argue that their most iconic design is the Submariner—but given that mainstream audiences tend to recognize the Day-Date and Datejust more readily, that honor should be given to the “Rolex President.”
A few years ago, Rolex updated the Day-Date II model to the Day-Date 40. It was a major upgrade, as it was the first Rolex watch to feature the company’s new 32XX family of in-house movements. The Day-Date 40 contains the Rolex calibre 3255 automatic movement, which is in-house certified as a “Superlative Chronometer.” The meteorite dial Day-Date 40 is the first Rolex to display the miniature Rolex crown placed between “Swiss Made” under the 6 o’clock hour marker, which is a visual indicator that the watch houses this modern movement.
The calibre 3255 automatic movement operates at 4Hz with 70 hours of power reserve and features the time, date, and day of the week indicator. The movement also promises accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day. In my own experience ,the 3255 and other 32XX family movements perform really well, with high levels of accuracy and dependability. The 18ct white gold Rolex Oyster case is water resistant to 100 meters and has a screw-down crown along with a sapphire crystal. Of course, the “Cyclops lens” over the date helps one read it more easily.
I found the meteorite dial to be a beautiful and compelling addition to the Rolex Day-Date 40 theme. Rolex uses only top quality materials, especially for its higher-end collections, so you get a fantastic piece of natural material that is both legible and useful. One of the appeals of this watch is the accumulation of rare materials in one product, as it combines 18ct white gold, diamonds, and meteorite, all of which are considered precious materials. While the actual market scarcity of these materials can be debated, one of the purposes of integrating these materials together is to enhance the inherent worth of the watch.
At 40mm wide and not particularly thick, the Day-Date 40 ref. 228239 wears very nicely. One of the reasons that the watch is visually smaller than it is in reality is because the width of the bracelet seems to shrink the size of the case, which is in accordance with Rolex’s desire to emphasize the President bracelet. Very comfortable on the wrist, the rounded three-link-style bracelet benefits from having a “hidden” deployant clasp for a uniform look from end to end.
White gold is a very luxurious material, but it often doesn’t appear to be more than steel. The added weight of white gold means that it wears differently from steel, but unless you happen to be around a watch enthusiast who knows that the Day-Date 40 only comes in gold and platinum, the watch could easily be mistaken for stainless steel. With diamonds on the eye-catching meteorite dial, this particular Rolex President toes the line between extravagance and subtlety, further adding to its personality and character. Available soon, the Rolex Day-Date 40 reference 228239 in 18ct white gold with the meteorite dial and diamond hour markers has a retail price of $46,750 USD. rolex.com