The Many Faces of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust

Luxury
Image: Rolex

Since its introduction in 1945, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust range has come to define the brand’s technical performance married to distinctive styles. It is a watch designed for everyday life, perfect for every occasion and built to last a lifetime. After more than 75 years, the Oyster Perpetual Datejust remains the epitome of the classic Rolex watch.

In 1957, the introduction of the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust was a groundbreaking technical achievement, putting a smaller but equally accurate and robust movement into a case measuring only 28 mm in diameter. Offering the best of both worlds, it is a tiny watch with an accurate movement. A landmark in watchmaking, the Lady-Datejust remains the watch of choice for discerning and successful women in the 21st century.

Part of the appeal of the Lady-Datejust no doubt comes from the wealth of options available for each watch. A fluted, domed or gem-set bezel? Exclusive, shimmering dials paved with diamonds or the fascinating hues of mother-of-pearl? Simple or gem-set hour markers, or even Roman numerals? The many faces of the Lady-Datejust make this model one of the most varied in the Oyster Perpetual collection.

The Ring of Time: Bezels

Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust
Image: Rolex

At Rolex, form and function are closely intertwined. This is particularly true of the bezel, an essential component in the strong visual identity of Oyster watches. Its intended purpose is to screw down the crystal to the case, ensuring a watertight seal. Over the years, a wide variety of forms, fixed or rotatable, have been introduced, offering new functions according to watch type: diving time, second time-zone, 24-hour display, tachymeter scale, etc.

On the Lady-Datejust, three different bezel options are available: domed, fluted, or gem-set, each conferring its own distinctive aesthetic.

The fluted bezel, a Rolex signature, sports equally sized grooves and ridges radiating outward on the entire ring. These are the ‘flutes’, serving to increase the flat polished surface area and giving the watch an extra amount of shine. Rolex was the first to introduce this aesthetic feature and it has since become a symbol of the brand’s formality and elegance and only offered in 18 ct gold.

For those who want something understated, the domed bezel is the perfect choice. Its polished surface displays a clean aesthetic, imbuing the watch with versatility.

On the contrary, the brilliance of the diamonds in the gem-set bezel is the most visually arresting option. These bezels are adorned with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, or rubies, carefully set in place by Rolex’s team of in-house gem-setters. Using precision tools, the gem-setter ensures each gem’s topmost facet is perfectly aligned with its neighbour. Rolex tolerates variances of no more than 2 hundredths of a millimetre, which is around a quarter of the diameter of a human hair. It takes the gem-setter’s entire range of skill and know-how to ensure the diamonds, or other gems, on each bezel of the Lady-Datejust sit in perfect uniformity.

The Face of Time: Dials

The selection of coloured dials includes the iconic hues: white, silver, dark grey, and pink, marking the watch as a distinctively Rolex watch, and the dial in mother-of-pearl stands out for its singularity.  Depending on its origin, it can be pink, white, black or yellow and differs in intensity and structure, according to the part of the shell from which it is extracted. Best of all, as all mother-of-pearl dials are unique pieces, an identical dial will never be found on another wrist.

The diamond-paved dial is the most eye-catching of all. These dials are a sparkling symphony that enhance the watches and enchant the wearers.

Rolex uses only the highest quality gemstones of natural origin, which the brand itself verifies. Whether it be diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds, the stones must always be the finest. This includes the cut of the stone in particular, as well as its clarity, colour and exact dimensions. Rolex’s know-how comes into play from the initial quality control of the gemstones, for example ensuring perfectly uniform hues when sorting the stones by colour, to the gem-setting process itself.

One unique Rolex offering featured in this year’s Lady-Datejust is the pink opal dial. Requiring painstaking care to cut the natural gemstone into a wafer-thin sheet, the result is a beautiful pink shade dial that lends a stronger feminine presence to the timepiece.

Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust with pink opal dial
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust with pink opal dial. Image: Rolex

Giving personality to these dials are the appliques. A selection of Arabic or Roman numerals or geometric shapes are available as hour markers, and they are always in 18 ct yellow, white or pink gold, sometimes filled with luminescent material called Chromalight, or in a colour that subtly complements the dial. Alternatively, the discerning buyer could opt for gemstones set as hour markers. The variety of appliques allows for customisation that can truly reflect its wearer’s personality.

Featuring thousands of unique variations in colour, texture and motifs exclusive to Rolex, the dials are designed and manufactured in-house, largely by hand, to ensure perfection. As a result, an unrivalled dedication to the craft is always on full display.

Aesthetics: The Materials

Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust
Image: Rolex

The Lady-Datejust is available in several metal alloys: Oystersteel, 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold, and in Rolesor versions that combine Oystersteel and one of three varieties of gold (white, yellow and Everose).

Oystersteel is specific to the brand and it belongs to the 904L steel family, a type of steel commonly used in high-technology and in the aerospace and chemical industries. In addition to possessing anti-corrosion properties that are comparable to those of precious metals, it acquires an exceptional sheen when polished.

Everose gold is an exclusive 18 ct pink gold alloy, created and cast by Rolex in its foundry (see sidebar) featuring a pink hue unlike any other. Its formula ensures that it has exceptional durability, can be polished, and an extraordinary sheen that lasts for generations.

Rolesor is a term patented by Rolex in 1933 to reflect a combination of gold and steel on a single watch. A true Rolex signature and a simple concept, it sees the bezel, the winding crown and the centre bracelet links made of precious metals, with the middle case and the outer links made of Oystersteel. The contrasting colours of Rolesor provide radiance and a subtly balanced harmony.

Wearing the Lady Datejust: Bracelets

Oyster bracelet. Image: Rolex

It would be remiss not to mention the bracelets available for the Lady-Datejust. Options here include the three-piece link Oyster bracelet, expandable up to 5 mm courtesy of Rolex’s Easylink system, secured by a folding Oysterclasp; a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet with Crownclasp; or a three-piece link President bracelet with Crownclasp, available only on the Lady-Datejust and the Datejust 31.

The Lady-Datejust is Rolex’s definition of time, with a perpetual movement and a timeless style, heir to the Datejust born in the 1930s. The appeal of the Lady-Datejust is certain with the variety of options available, making it one of Rolex’s most varied lines, yet staying true to the brand’s aesthetic codes. It is undoubtedly, the classic timepiece.

The Rolex Foundery

In the early 2000s, Rolex set up its own foundry to cast gold. This unprecedented step for a watchmaker was to ensure the quality of its gold alloys, using only the purest raw materials.

The foundry produces Rolex’s exclusive 18 ct yellow, white and Everose gold alloys. From casting to the shaping and polishing of the gold, everything is carried out by experienced foundrymen according to carefully guarded formulas, with meticulous care to ensure the uncompromising quality of Rolex gold watches.


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