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Article: A journey through the evolution of the Date Just

Rolex Date Just Serpico y Laino
date just

A journey through the evolution of the Date Just

As you all know since the early 1950s, Rolex began to capitalize on the extraordinary Oyster Perpetual patent by adding to the automatic winding and water resistance, even the indication of the date with the famous Date Just.

On the one hand, a proposal for real work tools designed to meet the needs of the new professions born after the war, such as pilots, divers and extreme explorers, and on the other, the huge international audience resulting from the new well-being created by reconstruction. This became the reference market of the Maison, for which Rolex associated itself with the success and dynamism of those years. Even today, this well-deserved perception makes it one of the most valued brands in the world.

If you think about it, the "Datejust" has had an extraordinary evolution more than any iconic Rolex model, while maintaining its essence: a solid object, which distinguishes you, automatic, waterproof, which marks time and dates. Basic!

Let's observe them in their evolution ... from the very first "Ovettoni" to the current 39 mm ... they have been a faithful mirror of the social metamorphosis of the last 70 years.

Until the early 1960s, production was rather limited, although it offered a large variant of different cases and dial configurations. Surely, this is the most interesting era for the collector who recognizes the exceptional.

We offer you a quick journey through time on the “Datejust Express”!



We start from 1945 with the ref. 4467, the first "Ovettone" (big Bubbleback) recognized as such, because it inherits the same case structure as the famous younger brother, the “Ovetto” (Bubbleback). Very few are known of this first model. Firstly, very few were made and only in yellow and pink gold since it was a commemorative model for the 40th anniversary of the Geneva House, and second, even fewer have survived in good condition after seventy years!
On the wrist it has is a massive but discreet presence, and the dial has developed a creamy and uniform patina while still visible and luminous.
The case and back are in spectacular condition! We deliberately did not intervene in any type of restoration, leaving the history of the object visible, as can be seen from the perfectly intact hallmark. it features a typical feature of the time: the “Roulette” date window, with alternating red and black numbering, making the watch a decidedly significant piece in a Rolex collection.

Rolex Date Just Egg


We enter the opulent 1950’s, and as in architecture, cars, jewelry and design in general, even watches abandon the rational geometries of Deco to expand into the soft curves typical of this period.

In this reference 5030 we see the shapes become more compact, the technology more precise ... with the Date Just begins the era of Certified Chronometers that will characterize the brand for the years to come.

For some purists, this, together with its twin 5031, are the only Date Just that can truly be considered “Ovettone” (big Bubbleback). This nickname, coned like many others by Italian collectors in the 1980s, refers to the size significantly greater than that of the “Ovetto” (Bubbleback), but this model is the only one, which, like the Bubbleback, has a perfectly straight case between the lugs, unlike all subsequent evolutions that follow the curve of the dial.

This specimen is extraordinary from all points of view! First of all, the global state of conservation. The case is full-bodied and all the details are visible to the naked eye: back, punches, spheres and crown are consistent with the object and the era.

What takes this watch to another level are the immaculate dial absolutely relevant to the model, and the fantastic oyster bracelet specific to these unique lugs.

Overall, we are confident that we can define it as unrepeatable.


Rolex Date just ref.5030 yellow gold 1950


At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s, Rolex consolidated itself as a leading brand worldwide, but above all it was recognized as a Status-symbol and production began to become important, thanks to an international commercial network.

In these times, an innovation appears regarding the dials: the "soleil" fund. This particular silvering reflected light in such a way as to create an unmistakable sparkle.

This rare pink gold specimen of the ref. 1501 from 1962 is a perfect witness, despite being a Date, it has an important presence on the wrist. Indexes and hands stand out on the polished base, and the smooth bezel illuminates everything creating a fantastic contrast.

The general condition is excellent and the bracelet retains its extensibility.

What makes this unique object particularly desirable, apart from the excellent general conditions and its original extendable bracelet, are the accompanying documents. Warranty, letters, Chronometry Bulletin. We are rarely lucky enough to find a watch in this state and with such comprehensive documentation. 


Rolex date just ref. 1501 yellow gold 1962


In the same period, the maison presented the reference 6605 on the market, maintaining the characteristics of the Oyster case but with a particular graduated bezel. This model, fitted with a Jubilee bracelet, features an elegant sunray dial with indexes and hands in rose gold, a very special combination for this reference. Again with original Rolex documentation of the time. 

Rolex date just reference 6303


Continuing the history of the Date Just, we come to the iconic reference 1601 which remained in production for several years and became one of the most popular and appreciated automatic Rolex with date display. This particular object with a three-part case in 18 kt yellow gold, a engraved bezel and a very rare black gilt dial with gold graphics. 

Rolex datejust ref. 1601 yellow gold and black


We have therefore arrived in the 70s where the evolution of shapes becomes more streamlined, as happens with the reference 1501, always maintaining the waterproof case and diversity in the bezels. This particular object in excellent condition carries a particular graduated and engraved bezel, combined with an Oyster bracelet dated 1972. In these years it is also possible to appreciate the development of dials with different colors and graphics. In this case we have a very rare original dial with a "radial" blue background produced in very few examples.

Rolex datejust ref. 1501 blue dial


With the arrival of the 80s, we are moving towards the end of the use of "plastic glass". This happens for all the most important international watchmaking brands, since the mineral glass guarantees the best standards of waterproofing. Reference 16014 is one of the latest Oyster Perpetual Datejust models with a 36 mm case with white gold engraved bezel and Jubilee bracelet. Among the main changes we have the new caliber 3035 with quick date change. At the same time, new dial proposals arrive on the market, such as this special “tapisserie” with black graphics and binary for the small parts with Roman numerals. 

Rolex datejust ref. 16014 oyster perpetual

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