The Oyster Perpetual Datejust is, arguably, one of the most iconic watches in the Rolex catalog. Even if you aren’t very familiar with the Rolex brand in general, you’ve probably found yourself admiring the Datejust on someone else’s wrist at some point or another. First released in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary, the Datejust collection has steadily grown over the years and is now among the brand’s most varied. Between all the different metal combinations, bezel and bracelet styles, and dial options to chose from, there are countless different configurations available. There are also even several different case sizes, including 28mm, 31mm, 36mm, and 41mm; however, the most popular remains the classic Datejust 36. This buying guide will explore a few of the most popular 36mm Rolex Datejust options to help you find the model that suits you best.
What are the most popular Rolex Datejust 36 watches?
Rolex Datejust ref. 116233 Yellow Rolesor
Yellow Rolesor is Rolex’s term for the combination of stainless steel and yellow gold. For decades, the two-tone range has been among the brand’s most successful for its versatile and timeless style. If you’re in the market for a gold Rolex that doesn’t command the top-tier price of an all-gold watch, then the Yellow Rolesor Datejust is the way to go
The ref. 116233 replaced the long-running ref. 16233. Among its many upgrades are an engraved rehaut, polished and slightly thicker lugs, and a new-style bracelet featuring solid links. Overall, this feature set offers the wearer a substantial and visually impressive presence on the wrist without appearing too flashy.
Rolex Datejust ref. 116238 Solid Gold
The Datejust debuted in yellow gold. At the time of its release, the model was the only wristwatch in the Rolex catalog to feature an automatically changing date mechanism on its dial. As the very first model was presented in gold, it doesn’t get any more classic than the ref. 116238. Of course, this edition of the solid gold Datejust is much more contemporary in design, with a sharply fluted bezel, new dial options, and a new-style case with thicker lugs, and a solid-link bracelet.
With water-resistance up to 100 meters and a chronometer-rated Caliber 3135 automatic movement, the ref. 116238 is also singularly reliable and can go almost anywhere you can go without skipping a beat. It should also hold its value well as the case and bracelet are crafted entirely from Rolex’s proprietary 18k yellow gold. Rolex gold is forged in-house and is touted by the brand for its impeccable, high-quality finish. In short, if you have the means to invest in a solid gold Rolex watch, you can’t go wrong with the ref. 116238.
Rolex Datejust ref. 116234 White Rolesor
Another popular edition of the steel and gold Datejust is the “White Rolesor” ref. 116234, which pairs stainless steel with 18k white gold. White Rolesor is luxurious yet very wearable, offering a similar overall aesthetic to stainless steel, but with the added luxury of a solid white gold bezel. Part of its immense success lies in the ref. 116234’s versatile white metal finish, which is just as suited for daily wear as it is for business attire or black-tie affairs. The ref. 116234 runs on the tried-and-true 31 jewel Caliber 3135 movement and offers the standard Datejust depth rating of 100 meters. Many examples also boast the classic Datejust style with a fluted bezel in white gold and a five-link Jubilee bracelet.
Rolex Datejust ref. 116200 Stainless Steel
If you’re in the market for a Datejust 36 that can fly under the radar, then the ref. 116200 might be the perfect watch for you. This edition of the iconic dress watch is presented in Rolex’s patented 904L-grade Oystersteel, which is widely celebrated for its resilient and lustrous finish. Despite not featuring any precious metal on the case or bracelet, the ref. 116200 still makes for a bold presence on the wrist with sleek polished accents on the bezel, lugs, and center links.
Most modern Rolex Datejust watches are equipped with screw-down Twinlock crowns that screw into the Monobloc middle case to promise water resistance up to 100 meters. Together with the sapphire crystal over the dial and the durable all-steel finish, the ref. 116200 has all the makings of a reliable, everyday watch. When it comes to value, it doesn’t get much better than the Datejust 36 in steel, as these models represent the point of entry into Rolex’s iconic Datejust collection.
Rolex Datejust ref. 116231 Everose Rolesor
Everose Rolesor is a newer addition to the Rolex catalog. Some might even argue that it is one of the most contemporary as it pairs Rolex’s proprietary 18k rose gold with Oystersteel. Similar to the other Rolex watches listed in this buying guide, the ref. 116231 collection is varied, with several dial options available, ranging from fully-lumed baton hour markers to brilliant-cut diamonds. The reference 116231 also runs on the same Cal. 3135 movement as the other watches featured on this list and maintains the same 100-meter depth rating, making the Everose Rolesor Datejust a reliable, all-occasion timepiece that will appeal to both men and women alike. It’s also an excellent chance to add a lustrous 18 karat rose gold Rolex to your watch box for significantly less than a solid Everose gold model.