A quick chronicle on the Day-Date 1800 watches
The Rolex Day-Date watch is an integral part of the brand’s heritage and history, representing a groundbreaking world first with its introduction in 1956, When it was launched, the Day-Date was the first wristwatch ever to show both the day of the week written in full inside a window at 12 o’clock, together with the date window at 3 o’clock.
A Vintage Rolex President 1803
Also during its launch, was the introduction of the “President” bracelet – a semi-circular three-piece links bracelet, created specifically for the new Oyster Perpetual Day-Date. Because of the name of the bracelet, together with the fact that several US presidents and other heads-of-states chose to wear the Day-Date throughout history, the watch picked up the name the “President” along the way. This nickname became so associated with the Day-Date, that even Rolex themselves officially use the “President” label when referring to the iconic watch.
The first reference of the Day-Date was the ref. 6511, quickly followed by the ref. 6611. The Day-Date 6611 was the first Rolex ever to have the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” label on the dial that we are so accustomed to seeing today.
In 1959, four years after the unveiling of the original Day-Date, Rolex launched the 1800 (180x) references where the last number in the reference represented the type of bezel found on the watch. For instance, the 1802 sported smooth bezels, the Rolex 1803 featured fluted bezels and the 1804 carried diamond bezels. When the first generation of the 1800 Day-Date models was released, they were powered by Rolex Caliber 1555, updated to the Caliber 1556 in 1965, and finally, the “hacking” feature was introduced in 1972. “Hacking” means that the seconds hand stops when adjusting the time on a Rolex to be able to set it more accurately. The Day-Date President 1800 watches remained in production until 1977 where it was eventually replaced by the 18000 series.
Characteristic to the collection, the Day-Day 1800 models were exclusively produced in either 18k yellow, white and pink gold or platinum. The case retained its understated 36mm size and an abundance of dial colors were now offered, while the day disc was available in several languages. The ability to choose from a selection of materials, colors, languages, hands and hour-marker varieties, thus creating a perfect combination to reflect one’s style, is characteristic of the Day-Date even today. This particular Day-Day 1803 exquisitely captured in these photos is an 18k yellow gold model topped with a gold fluted bezel, and equipped with a gold dial accented with gold hands and gold applied baton hour markers with lume plots. It is the most classic configuration and most recognizable look for a Rolex President.
Strapping a Rolex President on a wrist is a statement. It speaks to one’s success and is the ultimate symbol of prestige. Although the current Day-Date models are also spectacular, there’s something about the allure of a vintage President that captures the nostalgia of a bygone era.