The President’s watch: Rolex Day-Date

The prestigious Day-Date is a superlative showcase of Rolex's precision timekeeping, available at David M Robinson

Watches & Jewellery 1 May 2020

Rolex Day-Date

The name Rolex has long been synonymous with the very highest levels of watchmaking. So much so that the company even has its own rigorous standards for its timepieces that go above and beyond that of the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute), widely considered a gold standard of precision timekeeping. While every Rolex timepiece is certified by COSC, Rolex also tests it a second time after being cased to enable it to be classed as a Superlative Chronometer, a designation given by the brand that is symbolised by the green seal that comes with every watch and carries a five-year guarantee. To get the green light, the movement must operate within a tolerance of -2/+2 seconds per day, as well as undergo a number of tests evaluating the waterproofness, winding capacity and power reserve of the watch.

Even within Rolex’s wide stable of superlative timepieces, there’s one collection that stands out as particularly prestigious. Launched in 1956, the Day-Date has come to be known as the “Presidents’ watch”, thanks not only to its distinctive President bracelet but also its popularity over the decades with some of the world’s most preeminent leaders and political figures. This revolutionary watch was the first to spell out the date and the day of the week in full via a window on its dial, a technical feat of its time. That the watch has only ever been made from precious materials – yellow, white or Everose gold, or 950 platinum – only adds to its reputation.

The modern-day Day-Date draws inspiration from its past but incorporates the cutting-edge watchmaking for which Rolex continues to be renowned for. They come equipped with the calibre 3255, an exceptionally precise movement designed and developed in house. It incorporates many innovations, including an optimised version of the blue Parachrom hairspring, which is 10-times more precise than a standard hairspring due to its resistance to magnetic fields and variations in temperature. Meanwhile, the movement’s oscillator is fitted on high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers that have been patented by Rolex, further improving the shock resistance of the watch. Another patented Rolex innovation is the Chronergy escapement; made of nickel-phosphorus, it is insensitive to magnetic fields and, combined with the barrel architecture, enables the power reserve of the watch to extend to an impressive 70 hours.

This high-end watchmaking is protected by the Day-Date’s distinctive Oyster case, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres. Crafted from a solid block of either 18ct gold or 950 platinum, the case is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that ensures only certified Rolex watchmakers are able to access the movement. Meanwhile the winding crown is fitted with the Twinlock double waterproof system, further enhancing the protection of the watch.

The bezel of the Day-Date can be fluted, smooth or set with diamonds, while the classic look of the handsome timepiece is completed with the signature President bracelet. This recognisable feature is constructed from three semi-circular links that provide unparalleled comfort on the wrist, while the elegant finishing touch is the concealed folding clasp, which is hidden under a small lever in the shape of a Rolex crown, making it completely invisible on the bracelet.


‘Commonly known as “the Presidents watch”, the Day-Date epitomises classic Rolex style and elegance. For many collectors, this family of timepieces is an iconic aspirational wristwatch, and as the first wristwatch chronometer to display both the day and date in windows on the dial, its release continued Rolex’s reputation for technical mastery.’

Sandy Madhvani for DMR London