The new-ish Day-Date 36 somehow felt “less” for me, when I held it in my hand and tried it on. It might just be unusual, and over time it will grow on me, sure. But the proportions between the width of the bracelet, the girth of the lugs and the bulk of the case profile have all changed, somehow. It looks like a wider bracelet and a more filigree lug and case profile — and, to me, this makes them look like a small watch that wants to pose as large. Simultaneously — and rather controversially, I know — I couldn’t pick any of these new dialed versions, apart from the classic (and quite stale) champagne dial version, that I could find to be as masculine as previous iterations.
The Day-Date 36 now is powered by the Manufacture Rolex Caliber 3255, a new-generation movement developed and manufactured entirely by Rolex — and protected by 14 patents. This extends power reserve by an entire day, to over 70 hours, thanks to a new barrel architecture and going train, as well as a more efficient Chronergy escapement — an optimized version of the Swiss lever escapement. Over 90% of the components have been replaced and updated over the previous generation 3155. The Perpetual self-winding system has been “accelerated” for yet more efficient winding of the enlarged mainspring.
Our first hands-on time with the new Day-Date 36 has left me indifferent. The latest generation 3255 movement is an absolute peach that is both impressive from a watch nerd’s viewpoint and enticing from an everyday functionality aspect. The new dials have far from won me over — the “ombré” dials will be a fad, which is fine, as Rolex has had those before and many of them make for coveted pieces today. I just don’t find it to be a good match for the 36mm presentation. The slightly weird case profile and lug-to-bracelet proportions may just be a mirage, but I feel something might have actually been lost with the overall presence, as far as the (positive) bulkiness of the case and overall proportions are concerned.
I will find a way to spend some extended time with these new pieces to discover whether these changes — or their related concerns — are validated, or not. Minute changes to great watches — that’s a lot of what makes Rolex so great. I just liked the previous generation Day-Date 36 so much that I fear these most recent updates don’t add much at all to the equation — outside of the movement, of course.
Prices for the Day-Date 36 in yellow gold start from €30,600 with the most “basic” champagne dial; the “ombré” dial versions with diamond indices cost €33,550; and the turquoise dial costs €41,400. There can be slight price differences depending on the type of gold is used, and a diamond-set bezel can add a five-figure sum to the full price. There is a high-jewelry version that we will take a look at in a separate article.
If you are interested in the new Day-Date 36, I recommend you play around with the configurator on Rolex.com.