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Watch Review

Bob’s Spotlight: The Rolex Datejust 116139

Shop Rolex Datejust 116139
Paul Altieri

There are few watchmakers as iconic as Rolex, and few models as beloved as the Datejust. The mid-20th century classic defined the modern watch we know today, making features like a three-hand dial and the date standard. Over the years, the Rolex Datejust has been remodeled and refined – along the way, being worn by presidents and the rich and famous alike. And while collectors might scramble over certain models, you’re also bound to find them wearing their very own Datejust 116139.

This 18k white gold Datejust is a modern take on this timeless classic – outfitted with striking features like the trademark crystal Cyclops date and a 36mm waterproof Oyster case. It’s these dignified features alongside modern additions that make this watch almost as iconic as its manufacturer.

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Datejust.

Rolex Datejust 116139 White Gold 36mm

The Modern Classic

The Datejust changed what we expect from a watch forever; yet, we seem to forget how revolutionary this stunning watch was. Back in 1945, Rolex revealed the first Datejust in celebration of its 40th anniversary – the date-changing mechanism inside making it the first automatic wristwatch of its kind. Of course, it also utilizes two other already-established Rolex innovations, the waterproof Oyster case and the Perpetual movement with self-winding technology. Today, we take these features for granted. But upon looking at a modern Datejust 116139, it’s impossible to lose sight of this watch’s timeless allure.

Since the 1940’s, there have been many variations of the Datejust watch. However, the Datejust 116139 pays special homage to the 1950’s and 1960’s Datejust with its 36mm size and classic features like the dial layout, a crystal scratch-resistant Cyclops date, automatic winding, iconic fluted bezel, the signature waterproof Oyster case and a satin-smooth 31-jewel movement.

The smaller face gives the watch a vintage appeal, yet the shoulders of the case are much broader than the design it was inspired from. It’s this delicate juxtaposition of substantial design and classical features that make this an everyday watch that still turns heads. It is a Rolex, after all.

Rolex Datejust 116139 26mm 18k White Gold

The Datejust 116139 Details

The collection is available in several dial colors, metal finishes, bezels, and bracelet types – including the Jubilee, which was launched with the original Datejust and is named after the Jubilee anniversary celebration. Over the years, it’s the innate versatility and elegance of this watch that has made it the choice of the rich and famous both in the boardroom and out on the golf course.

Turning our attention back to the ref. 116139, what makes it so exceptional is that this model opts for a genuine leather bracelet paired with lug hoods that extend from the case to fill the gap between the strap and bezel, instead of a metal bracelet with end-links in white gold to match the case. This design element gives the watch a refined yet more understated aesthetic than full gold Rolex watches. It’s a bit more effortless while still offering the wearer the exclusivity of a white gold Rolex watch. Of course, there’s also the slightly more attractive price tag that the leather bracelet affords ref. 116139. 

Ref. 116139 is always outfitted with Rolex’s iconic fluted bezel, a tell-tale sign that the watch uses gold. The bezel is sloped, allowing it to slide effortlessly under a tight dress sleeve. Dial options range from the rather sporty silver dial decorated with lilac Arabic hour markers to traditional batons filled with lume. However, the calendar display is always located at the 3-hour marker and the famous Rolex logo at 12 o’clock. As a contemporary Datejust, ref. 116139 also features a Twinlock waterproof screw-down crown with a 100-meter depth rating, 18k white gold forged in Rolex’s foundry, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

While the DJ 116139 might be modeled off of some of the classics, the inside of this watch is completely modern with a 3135 caliber movement that’s COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) approved with a 48-hour power reserve and 31 jewels. The modern Datejust 116139 is also fitted with a proprietary, state of the art antimagnetic hairspring which allows for greater resistance to shocks and extreme temperature changes.

Rolex Datejust 116139 18k White Gold Leather Strap

A Rare Rolex Datejust

The Rolex Datejust 116139 has since been discontinued. Currently, the mid-size Datejust 31 and the Lady-Datejust 28 are the only solid white gold Datejust models in production. Oystersteel – aka 904L stainless steel – and Rolex’s patented “Rolesor” two-tone finishes are the only metal choices in the men’s category, including the Datejust 36 and the Datejust 41. Additionally, Rolex no longer produces the men’s Datejust on a leather strap. 

When you think about it, the ref. 116139 is unique because no other Datejust in the modern Rolex catalog has both a white gold case and a leather bracelet. The next closest option would be the white gold Day-Date or Sky-Dweller and even still, neither of these two models in currently in-production, meaning that you will need to turn to the secondary market in order to get a white gold Rolex watch on a leather strap.

Rolex Datejust Ref. 116139 Price

Used, the Datejust 116139 trades hands for between $15k and $16k, depending on the condition of the watch and whether or not it still has its original box and papers . That’s a very reasonable price for any luxury watch enthusiast interested in investing in an affordable solid gold Rolex watch, especially one as seldom-seen as the 36mm reference 116139 in solid 18k white gold. 

Rolex Datejust 116139 Blue Dial 18k White Gold Leather Strap

The Ultimate Everyday Luxury Watch

If you’re looking for an everyday watch that still oozes with luxury, a Datejust 116139 should be your top choice. This modern classic is the ultimate combination of performance and style, effortlessly bringing together world-class design with cutting-edge mechanisms.

The Datejust 116139 is the kind of watch that can easily transition from daytime to date night or from the office to an evening dinner. And whether you have a hefty collection of luxury watches or you’re looking to make a first-time investment, we can guarantee this watch will feel so good on your wrist you might never take it off – you certainly won’t need to.

Paul Altieri
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