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Rolex President Showdown: Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

October 8, 2017

BY Paul Altieri


For over fifty years, the Rolex President was exclusively available with a 36mm case. For some, this was too small for a men’s watch, even for a dress timepiece. So in 2008, the Swiss watchmaker unveiled a much larger Rolex President with the Day-Date II. Then, seven short years later, Rolex introduced yet another version of the Presidential watch with the Day-Date 40, which in fact replaced the President II. Today we explore the differences and similarities between the Day-Date II and the Day-Date 40 so you can determine which Rolex President is the right fit for you.

Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

Here are the similarities and differences between the Day-Date II and the Day-Date 40.

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Size Differences: Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

On paper, the Oyster case of the Day-Date II watch measures 41mm while the Day-Date 40 measures 40mm (Who would have guessed?). Although on the outset the 1mm difference may seem trivial, wearing the watch is a different story. Due to its thicker lugs, chunkier build, and wider bezel, the Day-Date II fits much larger than the 1mm variance suggests.

On the other hand, the newer Day-Date 40 is leaner and more elegant than sporty. So, it essentially comes down to personal taste. The Day-Date II is a sporty Rolex President whilst the Day-Date 40 is a more classic, albeit larger, Rolex President.

Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

By examining a few specific aspects, you can begin to see the differences add up.

Bracelet Modifications: Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

Whereas the Day-Date 36 is available with other bracelet options such as a leather strap and Oyster bracelet, to stay true to the famous nickname, a Rolex President really looks best on the iconic President bracelet.

Though both the Day-Date II and Day-Date 40 do indeed have the President bracelet with the instantly recognizable semi-circular links, the newer model features a key enhancement. The President bracelet of the Day-Date 40 includes ceramic inserts to prevent the bracelet stretching that can occur with frequent and longtime wear.

Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

There are also differences within the watch.

Caliber Change: Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

The biggest difference between the Day-Date II and the Day-Date 40 is one that isn’t seen on the outside, but rather, encased within the Oyster case. Powering the Day-Date II is the very reliable Cal. 3156 with time, day, and date functions, as well as a power reserve of about 48 hours.

But in 2015, Rolex debuted the new Caliber 3255. Boasting 14 patents, a power reserve of about 70 hours, Rolex has achieved improvements in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks, anti-magnetism, and reliability with their newest generation movement.

Day-Date II vs Day-Date 40

Which watch do you prefer? The Day-Date 40 or the Day-Date II?

Which Rolex President Will It Be?

Both collections offer a range of precious materials including yellow, white, and Everose gold, along with platinum. Furthermore, there are several diamond bezel and diamond dial options too. And as is characteristic of Rolex, there are plenty of dial colors and patterns to choose from as well.

Both spectacular larger versions of the quintessential Rolex status watch, choosing between the Day-Date II and the Day-Date 40 is a matter of which one fits you better. Do you prefer a sportier or more elegant Rolex President? Try them on for size!





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