In the popular video series on Hodinkee, My Watch Story, where readers share a personal story about a watch in their collection, one recent story featured a handed down Rolex Date. Comments asked why what seemingly is a 34mm case Datejust model was simply called a Rolex Date without the “just” tacked onto the name.
Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Vintage Watches
So, of course, the Everest Journal team wanted to know why…
Rolex naming by collectors is very esoteric. Some folks can rattle off a reference number (“Oh, that’s a 6239.”). Others embrace the unofficial nicknames (“I’m wearing the Hulk today.”). And some just call Rolex watches by their official names.
We discovered that on Rolex’s official site, the Datejust configurator page has the 31mm, 36mm and 41mm versions named Datejusts. The 34mm case version has its own page and is labeled Oyster Perpetual Date.
Photo courtesy of Watchbox Reviews
According to Bob’s Watches, the 34mm Rolex Date was introduced in the mid-1950s and came after the original 36mm Rolex Datejust was introduced in 1945. Modern iterations of the Rolex Date are only available in stainless steel.
But why just Date? And where did the name Datejust come from? Is the “just” add-on Rolex slang for adjust? Internet folklore shows that the name either comes from the fact that the date on a Datejust changes just before midnight. Another theory is that the moniker means that the date is always just because it’s correctly displayed. The just before midnight explanation seems to make more sense, but like most things Rolex-related, who knows? It could have been a boardroom brainstorm joke that evolved into a term of sophisticated horological significance.
Anyway, we’ll just enjoy the fact that owners of the 34mm Rolex Date can actually have a conversation that goes something like this:
“Oh, wow, that's a beautiful blue dial Datejust you have,” compliments one watch hobbyist.
To which our watch nerd supreme can reply, “It’s actually a Date. Not a Datejust.”
Photo courtesy of The Modest Man
The current reference 115200 Date model is in no way different functionally from the modern Datejust models. Hodinkee called it “the Datejust’s younger (and slightly smaller) brother” and noted “it comes with the same waterproof Oyster case with screw-down crown that you can find on the celebrated Datejust; here it stands at only 34 mm, versus 36 mm for its cousin.”
The Date model is great for any man with smaller wrists or ones that prefer a vintage-inspired size. Our friend, the style blogger Brock McGoff of The Modest Man brought a Date model right after purchasing a vintage Datejust.
He wrote: “After wearing the somewhat dressy 36mm Datejust, I couldn't help but appreciate the OP's understated aesthetic and appealing 34mm size. My daily style is decidedly casual, and the 15000 is like a smaller, sportier version of the 16030.”