Thinking about buying a Rolex Day-Date? Before you pull the trigger on that purchase, read this in-depth article where we get into all of the different versions of the Rolex Day-Date and what the current market pricing is.
The Day-Date is a legendary Oyster Perpetual model manufactured by Rolex as it is readily understandable by its name. It differs from the Datejust because it is equipped with the date and day of week indication through two separate windows.
But this peculiar model has developed its own cult following. It has accompanied the history of a few US Presidents: one of its variations, the yellow gold one featuring a specific three-row bracelet, is indeed called “Rolex President.”
The signature design of the Rolex Day-Date, with its two windows, the day window at twelve o’clock, and the date window at three o’clock, was reputedly made to improve the readability of the watch when worn under the cuff of the shirt, and only half-exposed.
During the years, the day indication has been translated into as much as 26 different languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Arabic, German, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Danish, Basque, Catalan, Ethiopian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Moroccan, Norwegian, Farsi, Swedish and Turkish.
Like many iconic watches, the Day-Date has changed very little from its introduction in 1956 and has continuously been refined to suit its customers’ desires. It has grown in size from its original 36 mm up to 41 mm and has mounted several types of movements (a few quartz-based) and combinations of materials, dials, and bezels — between which the typical ribbed one is the best-known.
TECHNICAL DETAILS OF THE ROLEX DAY-DATE
The original reference of 1956, the 6510, had a 36 mm Oyster case and a screw-in crown, ensuring a 100-meter water resistance to the watch.
From 2008, Rolex introduced a 41 mm version of the same watch, the Day-Date II, but added a somewhat smaller size of 40 mm after 2015. The current Rolex Day-Date production offers these three sizes.
Another key difference is that the Day-Date is almost only available in precious metals, like gold and platinum. This fact explains its rarity and its high price point.
As in most Rolex timepieces, these watches are complemented by matching bracelets of different kinds, between which the classic Oyster bracelet and the unique President bracelet are the best-known.
Rolex has mounted several different movements inside the Day-Date, from the original caliber 1055 onwards to the most recent 3255. It has also included the caliber 5355 Oysterquartz.
All the mechanical calibers used by Rolex in this model were very traditional Rolex Perpetual automatic calibers with a central rotor. The 1055 caliber, introduced in 1954, mounted 25 jewels and had an 18,000 bph rate and a 40-hour power reserve. The modern movements are much more performing: the current 3255 has 31 jewels, beats at 28,800 bph, and offers a 70-hour power reserve.
REFERENCES AND PRICES OF THE ROLEX DAY-DATE
What follows is an almost complete list of the different versions of the Rolex Day-Date watch, accompanied by introductory notes about the various references.
The current prices (as of the last quarter of 2020) are approximate and based on asking price for second-wrist models derived from popular online watch marketplaces and auction houses. The final selling price can vary by much from the stated figures.
This estimation can also vary widely, as some timepieces have been personalized by their owners with aftermarket modifications (which generally have the effect of lessening their value).
Rolex Day-Date — 36 mm case
1956–1957 — Ref. 6510 (Ref. 6511 with fluted bezel) — Yellow, white, and rose gold or platinum
These two references are the oldest and among the rarest of the Rolex Day-Date lineup, as they have been in production for only a little more than one year.
You can usually find them in the classic combination of yellow gold for the case, dial, and bracelet.
There really isn’t a market value for an uncommon watch like this, as it crops up sometimes in rare watch auctions. It has been scooped by a lucky buyer for as low as $5,000 but has also reached over $200,000.
1957–1959 — Ref. 6611 (Also Ref. 6612 and Ref. 6613) — Cal. 1055
The Rolex Day-Date 6611 is somewhat more common. It has a yellow gold case, a ribbed bezel, and a silver, black or gold dial. It mounts the 1055 or the improved 1055B caliber, with a Microstella regulation. The basic reference in yellow gold with a leather wristband starts from around $8,000, upwards to $14,000 for the models with a bracelet.
The 6612 differs from the 6611 for the smooth bezel but has similar evaluations.
The reference 6613 is instead more precious and expensive. It is made in platinum, with a silver dial adorned with diamond indices, and often a diamond-lined bezel.
These models start from around $15,000 for the basic models, to reach the $25,000 for the models complete with bracelets.
1959–1978 — Ref. 1800 (Also Ref. 1802, 1803, 1804, 1806, 1807, 1811) — Cal. 1555 or 1556
The reference 1800 mounted an improved movement, the caliber 1555, with a higher 19,800 bph rate. The case, dial, and bezel are similar to the previous lineup.
Prices start from around $5,500 and rise to $12,000 for the models with a bracelet.
The reference 1802, with a rounded or diamond-studded bezel, was available in various metals (yellow or white gold and platinum), and a dial of different colors, sometimes diamond-studded as well.
The price range goes from around $7,000 for the basic yellow gold model with a wristband to $12,000 for the models bearing a matching bracelet.
The white gold models are rarer and usually sell for a premium vs. the yellow gold models. Expect a range from $12,000 and $18,000 respectively.
The platinum models are even more rare and expensive and start from around $35,000 to reach $150,000 for some exceptional, limited edition models.
The reference 1803 had a ribbed bezel and was available in yellow, pink, or white gold.
The basic yellow gold models start from around $8,000. In comparison, the white gold ones usually sell at about $10,000 and the pink gold at approximately $13,000. Plan to add around $6,000 for the models with a matching bracelet.
A very rare version of the reference 1803, known as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, has a yellow gold case, a President bracelet, and a delicate light green dial (named Stella). It can reach well over $50,000.
The reference 1804 has a diamond-studded bezel and is available in yellow or white gold and platinum with matching bracelets and dials adorned with diamond indices.
These watches start from around $15,000 for the base yellow gold versions to reach the $20,000 for the white gold and the $30,000 for the platinum versions.
Select models, like a series made for the Oman Sultanate, with a blue dial emblazoned with the Oman national emblem, have reached $350,000. Another precious model, the “Octopussy” displays a diamond and sapphire-studded bracelet and usually sells from $125,000 upwards.
The reference 1806 instead displays a rounded bezel over its yellow, or rarely, pink gold case. It was fitted with a leather wristband or a bracelet of different shapes. The “basic” yellow gold version sells for around $7,000, while the ones featuring a matching bracelet usually sell for about $15,000.
The rare pink gold versions can fetch as high as $40,000.
The main characteristic of the 1807 is its textured bezel, displaying an array of almost uneven incisions on the surface. Still, there are models with rounded and ribbed bezels as well.
These watches are made in yellow gold or, rarely, in white gold.
The dials are either plain, with baton indices, or diamond-studded.
The yellow gold versions with wristband start from around $7,000 and can reach $10,000 for the models with unusual dials.
The versions with a matching bracelet usually fare higher, starting from $15,000.
The white gold versions start from around $25,000.
The 1811 is a relatively uncommon reference which also mounts a textured bezel. It is available in yellow gold with a wristband or bracelet.
The basic versions start from around $9,000, upwards. A rare reference with a “Cleopatra” dial, displaying unusual applied gold indices, has reached $170,000.
1977–2001 — Ref. 19000 — Cal. 5033 or 5355 Oysterquartz (Also Ref. 19018, 19019)
The 19XXX series represents one of the few quartz-based timepieces in the Rolex lineup.
The first edition, the 19000, is a relatively uncommon watch.
It is made in yellow gold, usually with an integrated Oysterquartz bracelet and a ribbed or diamond-studded bezel.
You can find it for around $9,000 to $10,000 for the diamond versions.
The 19018 is quite similar. It is made in yellow gold with a ribbed bezel and the integrated Oysterquartz bracelet, featuring different dials with baton or diamond indices.
Expect to spend from around $8,500 when buying one.
The 19019 is the white gold version of the 19018. It is rarer, though, and a bit more costly, starting at around $9,500.
1978–1988 — Ref. 18000 — Cal. 3055 (Also Ref. 18038, 18039)
The 180XX line marks the introduction of the 3055 caliber. It is a yellow gold watch, available in plain and jeweled versions. It features plain, textured, ribbed, or diamond-set bezels and plain and jeweled dials, fitted with a matching yellow gold bracelet.
The basic reference starts from around $6,500, going up to $8,000 for the diamond-studded versions.
Special jeweled versions with diamonds and rubies studded dials and bracelets have reached $45,000.
The reference 18038 is made in yellow gold with a ribbed bezel and comes with a wristband or a matching gold bracelet.
The prices start from around $7,000 for the models with a wristband and $11,500 for the models mounting a matching bracelet.
Models with the Stella dials in various colors usually are more expensive, starting from around $18,000 and reaching up to $50,000.
1988–2000 — Ref. 18200 — Cal. 3155 (Also Ref. 18300)
The series 182XX, with plain cases, and the series 183XX, with diamond-studded bezels, mark the debut of a new movement, the caliber 3155, with its double quickset functionality to set the date and the day independently.
The reference 18238 has a yellow gold case, a fluted bezel, and a matching yellow gold bracelet. These watches mount plain silver/gold dials with baton indices or numerals, or ornate dials, sometimes fitted with aftermarket natural stones dials and/or displaying diamond indices.
The basic models start from around $11,000, while the most ornate ones from about $15,000.
The reference 18239 introduced stainless steel in the Day-Date production. So, this watch is also available in the typical bimetal model that was extremely popular in the period, with a stainless steel case and yellow gold accents in the fluted bezel and bracelet. Another version was in total white gold.
In both cases, the dial was fitted with baton or diamond indices.
These references start from around $11,000 for both models, upwards.
The reference 18338 is the factory-made yellow gold, diamond-set version of the 18238, and it is relatively uncommon.
It featured diamonds fitted in various parts of the case, bezel, and bracelet. Expect to find this rare bird starting at around $25,000.
The reference 18339 is similar to the 18339, but the basic metal used is white gold. It is even more esoteric than the latter, and more expensive as well.
2000-today — Ref. 118000 — Cal. 3155
From 2000, Rolex fitted a new model of Oyster bracelet on the Day-Date 18000 series. It introduced some new wristbands with different clasps and end-pieces. The result was that the bracelet’s weight increased significantly, so the watches mounting them ended being more valuable as well.
The 11820X line has a rounded bezel, and is available in yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, or platinum, with a matching bracelet.
The yellow gold versions start from around $10,000, the rose or the white gold from about $15,000, and the platinum version from approximately $25,000.
The 11823X features a fluted bezel and is available in pink gold, yellow gold, and white gold, with a matching bracelet. As usual, the yellow gold model is the most common, starting at $14,000, with the other versions at around $18,000.
The 118348 is the yellow gold version with a diamond-studded bezel and dial. It is quite rare and starts at around $30,000.
2019-present — Ref. 128000 — Cal. 3255
The 128XXX is the current edition of this iconic timepiece. It features the new caliber 3255 movement with the Chronergy escapement and Parachrom hairspring. The power-reserve is now of 70 hours.
These timepieces are available in yellow, pink (Everose), and white gold, with a fluted or diamond-studded bezel. As a note, the Everose is a unique alloy of pink gold patented by Rolex.
The 128235 in Everose gold, dial with baton or diamond indices, and fluted bezel starts from around $32,000. The 128345, with a diamond-studded bezel, from $45,000.
The 128238 in yellow gold, dial with baton or diamond indices, and fluted bezel starts from around $32,000. The 128348, in yellow gold and diamond-studded bezel, from $43,000.
The 128239 in white gold, dial with baton or diamond indices, and fluted bezel starts from around $34,000. The 128349, in white gold and diamond-studded bezel, from $45,000.
Rolex Day-Date II — 41 mm case
2008-today — Ref. 218000 — Cal. 3156
In 2008, Rolex introduced a new model, the Day-Date II, in a 41 mm size, much bigger than the traditional 36mm.
This new line, which is still in production, is available in yellow, pink (Everose), and white gold, or platinum, with some models offering the diamond-studded bezels and is usually fitted with a matching bracelet.
The most precious of this line is the reference 218206, in platinum, with a smooth bezel. It starts at around $45,000.
The reference 218235 is in pink (Everose) gold, with a fluted bezel. It starts at around $41,000.
The reference 218238 is the most common, in yellow gold and a fluted bezel. It starts at $34,000. The reference 218348 features a diamond-studded bezel instead, and you can find it at around $40,000.
The reference 218239 is in white gold and mounts a fluted bezel. It starts from around $30,000, with the reference 218349, which mounts a diamond-studded bezel, starting at about $40,000.
Rolex Day-Date 40–40 mm case
2015-present — Ref. 228000 — Cal. 3255
The Day-Date 40 was introduced by Rolex in 2015.
It was re-designed because the Day-Date II looked a bit out of proportion on many wrists. This new line also mounts the new caliber 3255, which Rolex claims to be twice more precise than a certified chronometer.
The Day-Date 40 mm line, which is still in production, is available in yellow, pink (Everose), and white gold, or platinum, with some models offering the diamond-studded bezels, and is usually fitted with a matching bracelet.
The reference 228206 is in platinum with a smooth bezel. It starts at around $48,000. The reference 228396 is fitted with a diamond-studded bezel and starts from $85,000.
The reference 228235 is in pink (Everose) gold and has a fluted bezel. It starts at around $35,000. The reference 228345 mounts a diamond-studded bezel and starts from $45,000.
The reference 228238 is in yellow gold and has a fluted bezel. It starts at around $34,000. The reference 228348 adds a diamond-studded bezel for a price of about $49,000. In contrast, the reference 228398 has a bezel set with more precious baguette diamonds and starts from $70,000.
The reference 228239 is in white gold and has a fluted bezel. It starts from around $40,000, while the reference 228349, mounting a diamond-studded bezel, starts from $46,000.