I’m a big fan of stainless steel watches with integrated bracelets. The Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust with reference 17000 belongs to these watches.
The usual suspects in this field are of course the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, the Vacheron Constantin 222, the original IWC Ingenieur (SL1832) and lately the Girard-Perregaux Laureato. However the Rolex Oysterquartz Datejust certainly fits in as well.
After a model with an outsourced quartz movement in 1970, Rolex began supplying the Oysterquartz watches with in-house movements at the end of the seventies. Two models became available, the Oysterquartz Datejust and Day-Date, with respectively the Rolex calibers 5035 and 5055.
During a time span of approximately 25 years Rolex produced three different Datejust models (all steel, 17000 – steel and yellow gold, 17013 – and steel and white gold, 17014). Two DayDate models were produced simultaneously, the yellow gold reference 19018 and the white gold 19019. In the first years of 2000 all Oysterquartz models disappeared from the Rolex catalogues.
As said, the Oysterquartz models have an integrated bracelet. Not all of these bracelets had the same design though. The watch I’m wearing this week, an Oysterquartz Datejust with reference 17000 (thus completely in stainless steel) has a bracelet which remembers slightly of a regular Oyster bracelet. The most sporty bracelet of them all.
The steel and gold models (17013 and 17014) have a bracelet with smaller inner links; they remember more of the Jubilee bracelets. Then, the DayDate models had a bracelet more in the style of a President bracelet.
As well, only the bezel of the stainless steel watch is a plain one. All other bezels were fluted. Spread over all models, 7 different dial colours were available: silver, black, blue, white, champagne and brown. Another nice thing to know is that, different to other Rolex Datejust and DayDate models, the reference and serial numbers of the watch are engraved in the back side of the watch casing. The first few Oysterquartz Datejust models (from 1977) are also known as single dials, as they did not have the Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified text on there (just ‘Rolex OysterQuartz Datejust’).
The Rolex Oysterquartz movements are amongst the most beautiful quartz calibers ever made. Not only do they have 11 bearing jewels, the regulation is in fact done by a pallet fork and wheel. The technical design of the 5035 and 5055 calibers clearly shows that Rolex intended this movement to be as serviceable, and last as long, as their mechanical movements.
Rolex Oysterquartz watches are not often seen worn in the wild. Which I think is a pity because they’re very wearable, convenient and reliable. And they’re quite easily found for sale; you should be able to find a fine one even below € 3.000,=. You should not turn your head away like it’s just a simple quartz watch. Because it isn’t..
Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more