30/10/2011 Icons of watchmaking history no.17: Rolex Datejust
In our Icons of Watchmaking series, timepiece historian Gisbert L. Brunner presents classic watches with a cult status. This week, we look at one of the jewels of the Rolex crown: the legendary Datejust.
The date display is clearly one of the most significant additions to the wristwatch so far; until the mid-40s, the date was only revealed by the stars. The birth of this innovation came in 1945, when ingenious Rolex founder Hans Walsdorf celebrated the company’s 40th anniversary by launching the Datejust. The timepiece not only lay the foundations for a unprecedentedly successful watch, it also became a role model for generations of later watches that Wilsdorf could not have imagined in his wildest dreams.
The Datejust was the first gentlemen’s watch with a rotor lift, a sweeping seconds hand and a date window at the three o’clock position. Many years later, the Datejust – also now available for women – has become a very popular model and is available in many different designs.
Next week we present the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster.