The President – The Day-Date Through the Decades

The President – The Day-Date Through the Decades

Rolex Day Date

And here we are again – another well-known Rolex model with a nickname. The Rolex Day-Date is also known as “The President.” More on that in a minute.

Rolex introduced the Day-Date in 1956 after their other complicated watches pretty much failed in the marketplace. Although they’re coveted today, Moon phase and big date chronographs often quietly sat on jewelers’ shelves while their less complicated brethren paraded past them and out the door.

But the Day-Date was a hit. Maybe it was the unique display, with the day of the week arching across the dial just under 12 o’clock. Maybe it was just complicated enough (day and date) without being pretentious.

Rolex president

The President was upgraded to a hacking movement in 1972, and received quick-set capabilities in late 1970s. A sapphire crystal came along for the ride at the same time. That upgrade gave the watch 100 meters of water resistance (not that you’re going to go snorkeling with the thing, but you could).

Rolex further upgraded the watch with a double-quick-set movement in 1990. This solved the last of owners’ frustrations over resetting date and day after the watch spent a few days in the drawer.

The interesting fact is that Rolex didn’t name the watch the “President.” That name (applied to the watch) doesn’t appear anywhere in their literature, except for a single magazine ad. That ad ran in 1986, and featured super sports agent, Mark McCormack. And you may know, the Day-Date bracelet is called the President bracelet. Oddly confusing, I know.

man whose life is an event

The name is warranted, however. Heads of state, famously including Lyndon B. Johnson, have worn the watch.

If you watch “The Voice” singing talent contest on NBC, your sharp eyes may notice Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine sporting a Rolex. Usually it’s a vintage Paul Newman Daytona, but other times it’s a high-visibility “Stella,” one of those vintage watches with the candy color dials.

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Jackie Stewart, Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods (probably shouldn’t name those two next to each other), Roger Federer, and a raft of other sports figures are brand ambassadors. Nicklaus famously has been wearing the same yellow gold President for decades. And check Vonn’s Facebook feed. You’ll see her constantly wearing her yellow gold President.

Lindsey Vonn

The President is also one of the most customized timepieces in all of watchdom. Dials and bezels, even cases and bracelets have been set encrusted with diamonds… all in the name of bling and ostentatious display. Rappers and gangstas love the timepiece for that reason alone. In fact, an industry has grown up around the production of custom bezels and dials.

date just day date

And of course, because Rolex is such a recognized luxury brand and therefore, prestigious, the President is the most counterfeited watch in the world. While counterfeiting is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in vintage watch circles, the President is copied simply for its image value. If you’re wearing a Rolex President, you’ve made it.

Lamentably, those who haven’t made it yet are faking it with fake Presidents.


The post The President – The Day-Date Through the Decades appeared first on Bezel & Barrel written by Ed Estlow.

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