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Oyster, President, or Leather for the Rolex Day-Date?

Paul Altieri

The President bracelet is part and parcel of the design of the Rolex Day-Date watch. In fact, not only was this specific bracelet style created for the debut of the Day-Date, the watch itself is simply known (informally) as the Rolex President. However, Rolex does indeed make their Rolex Day-Date watch available with other bracelet styles too.

Let’s find out more!

Rolex Day-Date
Although the President bracelet is often the go-to option for the Day-Date, Rolex offers their flagship watch with a variety of different strap/bracelet options.

Rolex Day-Date with President Bracelet

Rolex Day-Date
This Rolex Day-Date ref. 228238 is fitted with a President bracelet and full-baguette diamond dial.

Characterized by its semi-circular three-piece links, the President bracelet is an absolute Rolex design icon. Aside from a few precious metal Lady-Datejust models, the President bracelet is exclusive to the Day-Date collection and has been since its introduction in 1956.

While the President bracelet is only ever made in either 18k gold (yellow, white, or pink) or platinum, Rolex has offered some interesting design variations over the years including President bracelets with bark-like texture, diamond details, and even pyramid accents. And we can’t forget the Tridor President bracelets that marry all three shades of gold.

A big change to the President bracelet came in the 2000s with the introduction of the then-new Day-Date 1182xx family. Not only did the enhanced bracelet now include solid center links (instead of hollow center links), but the clasp was noticeably thicker and heftier than previous versions. A Day-Date with a President bracelet is the classic pairing, and one that most think of as the quintessential ‘Rolex President’ watch.  


Rolex Day-Date with Oyster Bracelet

Rolex Day-Date
This ref. 118205 Rolex Day-Date is fitted with an Oyster bracelet, smooth bezel, and a diamond-set dial.

The opposite of the formal and curvy President bracelet is the sporty and flat Oyster bracelet. Typically associated with sport/professional models such as the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master, or casual Rolex watches like the Oyster Perpetual, Date, and Air-King, the Oyster bracelet is actually the brand’s most versatile bracelet – available in every metal Rolex uses and found across most Rolex collections.

Despite the Oyster bracelet’s ubiquity in the Rolex catalog, it was still somewhat of a surprise when it became available on the Day-Date 36 collection in the 2000s. Whether in yellow gold, white gold, Everose gold, or platinum, the Oyster bracelet is now a standard option with the 36mm Day-Date watch.

There’s no doubt that wearing the Day-Date on an Oyster bracelet takes away some of the formality normally associated with Rolex’s famed status watch – but some prefer it that way. Pairing the Day-Date with an Oyster bracelet is a more contemporary approach to wearing one of Rolex’s most classical watches.


Rolex Day-Date with Leather Strap

Rolex Day-Date
Rolex Day-Date ref. 118138 is fitted with a green dial and matching leather strap.

To accompany the President bracelet and the Oyster bracelet, Rolex released a batch of new Day-Date watches in 2013 with, for the first time, colorful leather straps. Clearly inspired by the vintage “Stella” Day-Date watches with vibrant enamel dials from the 1970s, the leather strap Day-Date models come equipped with matching colorful dials.

Each of the alligator leather straps (in colors ranging from muted black and brown to bright Bordeaux, green, and blue) is fitted with an 18k gold Oysterclasp buckle, which is a single folding clasp that also permits easy adjusting of the strap length. Although part of the contemporary collection, the Day-Date 36 watches with leather straps successfully capture an appealing vintage vibe.


Between the Oyster bracelet, the President bracelet, and the leather strap, which is your favorite band for the Rolex Day-Date watch? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Paul Altieri
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