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Dear Rolex-Fans,
sometimes the question is asked, what the differences between Date and Datejust are. Following I will try to summarize the more or less complicated topic Date vs. Datejust.

The main difference of the Date compared to the Datejust is the diameter of 34 mm (Datejust: 36 mm), which is still counted to be a mens size. The medium size (also named boys size) amounts to 31 mm and the ladies size to 24 mm (no date up to 2007) resp. 26 mm (with date resp. from 2007 on also without date indicator). In contradiction to the medium and ladies size watches, the Rolex Date is equipped with the caliber 3135, which is also used in the Datejust.

Following please find a Rolex Date 15210 from my collection:

I have bought the Date in 2001, because I wanted to have an unobtrusive, unpretentious, but nevertheless classic Rolex in my collection.

But let us come back to the differences between Date and Datejust and for making the topic not to complicated, I want to discuss only the todays differences. As already mentioned, both models use the caliber 3135, but::

• The case diameter of the Date amounts to 34 mm (Datejust: 36 mm).
• The Date is only available with a 19 mm Oyster-bracelet (Datejust: Oyster 20 mm, Jubilee 20 mm).
• The choice of dials for the Date is less than for the Datejust.
• For the time being the Date ist only available in stainless steel with the following bezels: polished stainless steel bezel (115200), finely engine turned bezel with hour markers (115210) and for the first time in their history, the Date is also available as a white Rolesor model with fluted whitegold bezel (115234). In contradiction to the Date the Datejust is not available with a finely engine turned bezel. Let us wait and see, whether Rolex will also offer yellow Rolesor- and goldversions of the Date in the near future.
• Up to the introduction of the new 6-digits Date references in 2007, the Date was also available in yellow Rolesor- und goldversions with the following bezels: engine turned bezel only for the yellow Rolesor-version (15223), fluted bezel only for the yellow goldversion (15238), polished bezel only for the yellow Rolesorversion (15203). An engine turned bezel made out of yellow gold was never available on the Datejust.

The Date is a true classic within the Rolex program and offered since many decades, but the Date was always in the shade of her bigger sister Datejust. All changes made over the years on the Datejust also appeared on the Date, but sometimes with a delay:

Introduction of the caliber 3035: Datejust 1977/78, Date only 1982/83
Introduction of the calibers 3135 and the sapphire crystal: Datejust 1988/89, Date also 1988/89
Introduction of the new cases and the massive bracelets: Datejust 2003/04, Date only 2007

Sometimes it can be heard, that only the Datejust is provided with a quick or rapid change of the date indicator. Please let us clarify at first the terminology, because there are two different functions of the date indicator on a Rolex, which are mixed up sometimes:

1. the rapid change of the date
2. the quick change of the date.

Referring to 1: The date changes rapidly at midnight with the „speed of a camera shutter“ (Rolex own words) to the next digit. This rapid date change can be seen on all modern Rolex calibers, but there are also older calibers (e.g. caliber 2035 used in the medium and ladies models up to 1983) with a slow change of the date over a period of approx. 1.5 h in which the date wheel is turned very slowly to the next digit. Rolex designates the rapidly changing date as „instantaneous“ and the slowly changing date as „progressive“ date change.

Referring to 2: In 1978 Rolex has introduced firstly (leaving out the Beta 21 in the Ref. 5100) the quick change mechanism of the date, known also as “quickset”. This mechanism allows a comfortable adjusting of the date without setting the hands, which is very useful in months with less than 31 days for correcting the date at the end of the month. In addition the resetting of the watch after a longer lay-down period is much more easier, as the actual date can be set without the need of multiple turning the hands over midnight.

The quickset feature is completely independant from the name „Datejust“ or „Date“. There are both Date and Datejust models with and without quickset feature. The decisive criteria is only the caliber used and not the name of the model.

E.g.: A Datejust Ref. 1601 of 1974 does not have a quickset feature, but a Date Ref. 15000 of 1984 has. The other way round, a Datejust Ref. 16014 of 1984 has the quickset feature, but a Date Ref. 1500 of 1976 does not. But all these 4 models have an instantaneously changing date.

In principle all Date and Datejust models with 5- or 6-digits reference numbers includes the quickset feature, but all 4-digits references are without quickset.

An additional information for those who own a Rolex without quickset feature: The date can also be set backwards (!). If the hands are turned backwards over midnight, the date changes backwards to the number before. This makes the resetting of the watch after a lay-down period a bit more easier, as in extreme cases the hands “only” have to be turned some days backwards and not nearly a complete month forward.

On the todays models there are no technical differences between Date and Datejust, only the watchcases, the dials and the bracelets are different, but in both models the caliber 3135 is used.

Admittedly the Rolex Date is a complicated and less noticed topic and as you can see on the concluding photo from the Basel fair 2004, even Rolex has some „problems“ with the Date:

(Source: unfortunately unknown)

Best Regards
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