The Rolex Day-Date is the watch that speaks to the imagination more than any other model from their collection. It is the watch worn by Presidents, CEOs, actors, sports people and so on.
By owning a Rolex Day-Date yourself (if you don’t fall into one of the categories above), you might be able to think (or fantasize) that you are in a great company. Besides everything that relates to the image of the Rolex Day-Date, it is just one heck of a watch. Wonderful design, only available in precious metals (yeah yeah, they did a few protos in steel) and with a wide variation of dial configurations. Although Rolex also introduced it in 41mm – discontinued in the meantime – and in 40mm, the Day-Date was and still is always available in 36mm as well. This year, Rolex introduces a number new Day-Date 36 variations. Perhaps for me, besides the new Datejust 36 (covered here), the best from Rolex in Baselworld.
In this ‘Hot Take’ we take a quick look at some of the new Rolex Day-Date 36 models and show you what has changed with this new version. Besides the new dial variations, the biggest news is perhaps the little change of design in the case and the new movement (caliber 3255).
Compared to the previous Day-Date watches in 36mm, the new reference(s) have a case profile that’s more subtle and elegant. We were unable to compare it live to a previous Day-Date reference ourselves but we will definitely do so when we get the opportunity. The new caliber 3255 is just like the new caliber for the Datejust (3235) and GMT-Master II (3285) a movement that has a more strict regulation (-2/+2 seconds per day on average). It seems Rolex is upgrading all of their caliber 31xx movements now. It has the Chronergy escapement, Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers to ensure more precise timekeeping, and being less vulnerable for magnetism and shocks. Furthermore, Rolex increases the power reserve to 70 hours for these caliber 32xx movements.
Although I wonder whether most of the Rolex Day-Date 36 clients really care about the movement that is inside, it is one of the most important changes to me. Rolex movements are very reliable and I like the fact that they (still) put so much energy into continuous development of them. For many clients though, the novelty is the new case design and the new dial combinations.
I selected a few Rolex Day-Date 36 models in white gold, yellow gold and pink (Everose) gold to show to you. All models have the famous ‘President’ bracelet.
The first new Rolex Day-Date 36 in my small overview is reference 128238 and also my favourite of the bunch. A yellow gold Rolex Day-Date 36 with a super nice green dial which is referred to by Rolex as their Green ombré dial. Ombré is French for ‘shaded’ and by looking at the dial you will immediately see what they mean. The dial of the green Day-Date 36 is set with 10 diamonds.
The retail price of this Rolex Day-Date 36 ref.128238 is CHF33,000.- Swiss Francs.
Close to my prefered reference above in yellow gold is this Day-Date 36 with reference 128235 in Everose gold. Rolex’s own alloy for pink gold that ensures a longer lasting pink colour. It was introduced to the market in 2005 and have been applied to many Rolex models, including sports models (one of my favourites being the GMT-Master in Everose gold). Here we find the dial to be in a brown ombré set with 10 diamonds. A stunning combination, but I happen to like the specific green colour of the reference 128238. I’ve been looking on the Rolex website to see if I could configure this Everose version with the green ombré dial, but I quickly realised that it doesn’t work out (or is being offered), as the diamond settings are in matching colour of the gold case.
The retail price of this Rolex Day-Date 36 ref.128235 is CHF35,600.- Swiss Francs.
Two versions of the Rolex Day-Date 36 in white gold are the references 128349RBR and 128349RBR. The first one has a pink opal dial and has been set with diamond hour markers. Hour markers in 18 carat gold set with 32 diamonds, Roman VI and IX in 18 carat gold set with 24 diamonds. The Opal dial is unique to each watch, as every cut from opal will look different. The second one, with reference 128349RBR, is completely paved with diamonds. Besides the diamond-paved dial, the hour markers are set with rainbow coloured sapphires. This ‘Rainbow’ version also comes with a diamond set President bracelet.
The prices of both these references are on request, meaning ‘if you have to ask…’.
More information on these new Rolex Day-Date 36 models can be found on the official Rolex website.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more