THE ULTIMATE STATUS WATCH
THE OYSTER PERPETUAL DAY-DATE, ROLEX’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS MODEL, IS A WATCH LIKE NO OTHER. A TRUE WATCHMAKING ICON WITH A FORMIDABLE DESTINY, THIS IS A SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER IN EVERY WAY AND HAS BEEN WORN BY MORE HEADS OF STATE, LEADERS AND VISIONARIES THAN ANY OTHER WATCH. CREATED IN 1956, AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY IN GOLD OR PLATINUM, THE DAY-DATE IS UNIVERSALLY KNOWN AS THE “PRESIDENTS’ WATCH”, THE ULTIMATE STATUS WATCH CHOSEN BY THE WORLD’S GREAT NAMES FOR ITS PERFORMANCE AND EXCEPTIONAL PRESENCE.
AT THE SUMMIT OF WATCHMAKING
The Day-Date owes its reputation and prestige first and foremost to its exceptional horological qualities. It benefits from all the innovations that have given Rolex watches their place at the summit of the contemporary art of watchmaking. Its principal characteristics are, in fact, summed up on the dial: Oyster Perpetual, Day-Date, and Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified. Each of these markings highlights one of the features that make this a truly exceptional timepiece.The Day-Date is an Oyster, a worthy heir of the first wristwatch in the world with a waterproof case, which was created by Rolex 30 years earlier in 1926. Thanks to an ingenious patented system consisting of a hermetically screwed-down case back and winding crown, the Oyster brought the definitive response to one of the great challenges for the wristwatch: how to efficiently protect the mechanical movement from the hazards of dust, humidity and other outside elements. The Day-Date is also an Oyster Perpetual, which means that it is equipped with the “Perpetual” self-winding system with a free rotor patented by Rolex as of 1931 – a system later adopted by the whole watchmaking industry. The winding mechanism makes use of a half-moon-shaped oscillating weight hat turns freely through 360° to transform every movement of the wrist into a source of energy to automat-ically wind the watch. An ideal complement to the Oyster case, it eliminated the need to unscrew the crown every day to manually wind the watch, thereby avoiding any risk of compromising the water proof ness of the case. The Perpetual system furthermore provides a constant supply of energy to the movement, for signifi cantly greater regularity and precision. With the Oyster Perpetual, Rolex laid the foundations of the modern waterproof and self-winding wristwatch. The Day-Date, when it was launched, brought the modern wristwatch to its apogee.
The Day-Date also carries on its dial the calendar functions that inspired its name. This calendar display, prompted by the founder of Rolex himself, was unique at the time for a wristwatch. With the Day-Date, Hans Wilsdorf designed a high-prestige Oyster Perpetual that offered a particularly useful function for people in positions of responsibility: a clear and legible indication of the day and date at a glance. Essential information required for scheduling, arranging meetings, or signing and dating contracts, which made the Day-Date the perfect watch for decision-makers. Its calendar was quite different from the standard calendars of the day. Like the first “tool watches” created by Rolex from 1953 on the basis of the Oyster Perpetual – such as the Explorer, or the Submariner – the Day-Date stood out for the eminently practical and legible presentation of its functions. Until then, wristwatches displayed the date by means of a hand which pointed to a date marking at the edge of the dial. More sophisticated calendars, known as “complete calendars”, added the month and day shortened to three letters in small windows at 10 and 2 o’clock on the dial, together with a large moon phase at 6 o’clock. In 1945, Rolex revolutionized calendar legibility with its Datejust, the first wristwatch chronometer to indicate the date in a window at 3 o’clock. The famous Cyclops lens, invented by Rolex, would be added in 1953 to further facilitate reading of the date. In 1956, with the Day-Date, Hans Wilsdorf perfected his modern calendar by adding the day of the week spelt out in full in a window at 12 o’clock on the dial. A carefully considered decision. In a letter a few years earlier, Hans Wilsdorf spoke about the classic calendar and explained that in his view the date and the day were the two most useful displays, because they change daily. So Rolex focused on the layout of this essential information, freeing up space on the dial to give them prominence.
This allowed the day to be shown in full for the first time on a wristwatch alongside the date – a conside rable advantage in terms of legibility, since it is well-known that the brain deciphers whole words better than abbreviations.
A MIRACLE AT MIDNIGHT IN 26 LANGUAGES
Numbers are a relatively universal language for indicating dates, but people of different cultures want to read the day of the week in their own script.
The Day-Date’s calendar is available in a choice of 26 languages, from European languages to Chinese and Arabic, and including, for example, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Japanese, Indonesian, Scandi navian languages, and even Latin – still used today in the Vatican. In 1956, the Day-Date became the first wristwatch to speak to heads of state, dignitaries and leaders from all over the world in their own languages.By displaying the day and date in windows, calendar reading is made easier: the eye does not need to search for the information around the edge of the dial. And thanks to a Rolex-patented mechanism, the discs bearing this information move forward one position at midnight, in the space of a few
milli seconds, to show the new date and day. An instantaneous show that, when it was launched, was called a miracle at midnight.
The last marking on the Day-Date’s dial – the celebrated Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified – is probably the most emblematic and is present today on every Rolex Oyster. It is particularly symbolic in the case of the Day-Date because it underlines the exceptional precision of its movement. If a chronometer, by definition, is an officially tested high-precision watch that does not deviate from the exact time by more than a few seconds per day, a Superlative Chronometer must perform even better. The notion of Superlative Chronometer was introduced by Rolex in the late 1950s to mark the elite status of its chronometers, which were required by Hans Wilsdorf to obtain the citation “particularly good results” at the official tests. As the standard-bearer of Rolex excellence, the Day-Date launched in 1956 was one of the first models to satisfy the demands and carry the new denomination, Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified, on its dial. Official chronometer testing certificates with the citation disappeared in 1973 with the creation of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), a consolidation of the various Official Watch Rating Centres and which established new, stricter criteria. But the wording formulated by Rolex remains a proud reminder of the pioneering role of the brand and its quest for excellence in the field of chrono -metric precision for wristwatches ever since 1910.Now in 2015, Rolex has redefined the status of Superlative Chronometer with calibre 3255, its new-generation mechanical movement that equips the new Day-Date. Rolex has established a level of chronometric precision that surpasses the level defined by COSC criteria. The new Day-Date’s precision on the wrist satisfies criteria twice as exacting as those for an officially certified chrono-meter, reconnecting with the brand’s heritage and restoring full weight to the notion of Superlative Chronometer.Symbolically, “superlative” remains an emblematic qualifier for the Day-Date, over and above the notion of precision. The Day-Date is the last flagship model created by the founder of Rolex and can be considered Hans Wilsdorf’s ultimate achievement in his pursuit of excellence. And also as the watch that, more than any other, embodies the achieve-ments, prestige and success of the brand – and of those who wear it.