Rolex Datejust Buying Guide

Image of a gold Rolex next to a cup of coffee

Even though the Rolex Datejust was released back in 1945, it has been a staple collection for modern gentlemen for almost seven decades. With a plethora of simple and statement designs being released over the years, it is now one of Rolex’s most iconic watches. 

It continues to be exceptionally popular among all types of buyers. The Rolex Datejust collection is one of the brand’s most varied and is favoured by elite celebrities, politicians and leaders worldwide.

The Rolex Datejust was the first to set the standard for how the calendar display on a wristwatch should function. This is just one example of the many features that the timepiece offers the wearer, making it a sought-after accessory for many. There have been so many variations of the Datejust over the years, which can often make it difficult for buyers to decide on the right model. 

At Miltons Diamonds, we aim to match our customers with wristwatches that fit their requirements, so we have created a complete buying guide to help you find the perfect option. From the watch’s key features to its history, our guide has everything you need to know about choosing a Rolex Datejust.


  1. Key features of a Rolex Datejust
  2. History of the Datejust
  3. Rolex Datejust Sizes
  4. Which Datejust is most popular?

Key features of a Rolex Datejust

  • Round waterproof Oyster case with screw-down Twinlock winding crown
  • Solid screw-down caseback
  • A date window on the dial at three o’clock location with a Cyclops magnification lens
  • Instantaneous date mechanism that changes at midnight each night
  • Three centrally-mounted hands for displaying hours, minutes and seconds
  • Automatic movement (excludes Oyster Quartz versions)
Image of a woman wearing a gold Rolex watch

History of the Datejust

The first Rolex Datejust watch was created to celebrate the brand’s 40th anniversary in 1945 and became the first-ever timepiece to display the date and time. Rolex achieved this by adding a small window at the 3 o’clock position on the dial. This revolutionary approach quickly set the standard for date complications across most of Rolex’s watches, with competing brands also taking inspiration for their own designs. 

The first Datejust timepiece was crafted in yellow gold, featuring a striking 36mm case and a coin-edge fluted bezel. The design combined the waterproof Oyster casing with the precise self-winding Perpetual movement to achieve a flawless, high-performing watch. 

Over the years, Rolex has modified the Datejust many times to become the iconic watch it is today. The Cyclops magnification was added to the design in 1953, making the date window easier to read. 

Rolex also incorporated their innovative Turn-O-Graph bezel, which features a rotating mechanism graduated to 60 minutes so that wearers can monitor elapsed time. The Lady-Datejust was introduced in 1957, making the model accessible to a whole new audience. Modifications continue to be made to the Rolex Datejust, with many notable changes as recently as 2019. 

Rolex Datejust sizes

While it promises a distinctive design, the Rolex Datejust has many variations to choose from. Rolex has continued to build a collection of styles as part of the Rolex Datejust collection to suit a range of tastes. Not all of them are in production today but are likely to be available for those shopping in the pre-owned market. 

Lady-Datejust 26mm

The Lady-Datejust was originally released featuring a delicate 26mm case. In 2015, it was replaced with a slightly larger 28mm to answer the rising trend among women for larger watches. With a dainty, understated design, it is one of the few Rolex watches to offer the option of a President bracelet, which features semi-circular three-piece links. Key models include the Bi-Colour Datejust 69173 Champagne Diamond Dial Ladies Watch and the Bi-Colour Datejust 179173 Black Diamond Dial Ladies Watch. Many Lady-Datejust 26mm watches are still available in the secondary market.

Image of a silver Lady Datejust Rolex watch among an arrangement of white roses

Lady-Datejust 28mm

The current measurement of the Lady-Datejust offers a more striking look than its original. A more popular choice among women due to its larger case, it aligns with today’s jewellery trends perfectly. The Lady-Datejust is unique because it offers the option to have beautiful diamond embellishments, often featured in the bezel, dial, case or bracelet. They can be purchased new or second-hand based on your preferences.

Image of a person's wrist wearing a silver Rolex Lady Datejust watch with a pink face

Rolex Datejust 31mm

Considered the ‘mid-size’ watch of the Rolex Datejust collection, the 31mm variety is widely targeted toward women looking for a timepiece with a larger case; however, there are plenty of designs suitable for men. This watch has the option of the President bracelet as well as Rolex’s other bracelet varieties. Key models include the Datejust 68273 Midsize Watch with Silver Dial.

Image of a woman wrist wearing a gold Rolex Datejust 31mm

Rolex Datejust 36mm

The Datejust 36 is one of the most iconic watches created by Rolex, as it never goes out of style. It has undergone many changes over the years, such as the addition of the Cyclops lens and a quickset date. The current Datejust 36 features a stunning sapphire crystal, a Chromalight luminescence that glows in the dark and an Easylink clasp. Key models include the Datejust 116234 Blue Diamond Dial Watch and the Datejust 16233 Diamond Dial Watch.

Image of a man wearing a gold Rolex Datejust 36mm watch holding a mug

Rolex Datejust 41mm

In 2009, Rolex introduced the Datejust II – a gent’s timepiece with a 41mm case. This watch was the largest in the Datejust collection, sitting alongside the classic Datejust 36. While it was discontinued in 2016, it was replaced by the Datejust 41, an updated version with a slightly slimmer design. The Datejust 41 debuted the new generation time and date movement, the Caliber 3235, which improves precision, accuracy, durability and power reserve. Key models of the Datejust 41 include the Datejust 126233 Champagne Dial Watch.

Image of a man playing tennis and wearing a silver Rolex Datejust 36mm

Which Datejust is most popular?

In today’s market, the Datejust 41 continues to be a popular choice gentlemen opt for. With its statement design and pick of materials, there are plenty of options available to suit any buyer’s taste. When deciding which Rolex Datejust to buy, it’s important to consider which features you require in a watch, whether it’s a specific size or case material. 

We offer an exquisite selection of pre-owned Rolex watches for men and women in excellent condition. From Datejust and Daytona to Submariner and Pearlmaster, our collection allows you to experience the ultimate luxury. Browse our range today to see what we have to offer. 

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