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Watch Review

Watch Reviews Under $10k: The Rolex Datejust Reference 116200

Paul Altieri

For decades, the Datejust was Rolex’s most popular line of watches and made up the majority of their annual sales. Although much of the attention in recent years has been directed towards Rolex’s various sport watch lines, it is the Datejust that many would argue is the classic and iconic Rolex timepiece.

Originally introduced in 1945 to commemorate Rolex’s 40th anniversary, the Datejust has remained largely unchanged throughout the many decades that it has remained in continuous production. Unlike many of Rolex’s other watch lines, the Datejust is not designed specifically for one particular sport or lifestyle activity. Instead, the Datejust is simply a classic and reliable wristwatch, designed to be worn everyday.

Datejust Reference 116200
The Datejust Reference 116200 is an everyday watch, perfect for any occasion.

Details on the Datejust Reference 116200

No other line of Rolex watches is available from the factory with as many different dial, bezel, metal, and bracelet combinations, which guarantees that there will be a Datejust to suit every different style, budget, and personal preference. The most recent incarnation of Rolex’s simple and straightforward stainless steel Datejust, the reference 116200 retains all of the cornerstone DNA that defines the Rolex brand, while also providing owners with a fresh take on the classic Rolex wristwatch.

Like its predecessors, the reference 116200 Datejust is still 36 mm in diameter and still powered by Rolex’s venerable and entirely in-house, caliber 3135 movement.  As its 116200-reference number would suggest, the reference 116200 Datejust is craft entirely from stainless steel and fitted with a smooth bezel rather than a fluted one.

Datejust Reference 116200
There are many different variations with the Datejust Reference 116200.

Although it has retained its 36 mm case diameter, the lugs of the latest generation of  Datejust have been made thicker to give the watch a bolder and more rugged overall appearance. Additionally, the entire bracelet and clasp (on both the Oyster and Jubilee styles) have been redesigned to provide the watch with a more substantial and refined look and feel.

Despite the seemingly minor changes, the reference 116200 is a remarkably different watch than the reference 16200 that preceded it. The numerous small updates and design refinements do not slip by unnoticed; and instead, their collective result is a timepiece that truly becomes the logical progression of Rolex’s Datejust line of watches.

The Datejust in Gold

The reference 116200 is the latest iteration of Rolex’s entirely stainless steel Datejust; however it has been on the market for a number of years now, so it is available both brand-new from authorized dealers, as well as used on the pre-owned market. Secondhand prices will offer measurable savings over brand-new retail prices; however as the reference 116200 is made from stainless steel rather than gold or platinum, the savings will be less dramatic than what one would experience with a Rolex craft from precious metals.

Datejust Reference 116200
ThisDatejust Reference 116200 comes on a Jubilee bracelet.


Since the reference 116200 Datejust is made from stainless steel (rather than gold or platinum) and contains a regular time + date movement that lacks any specialized features/complications, it is far easier for counterfeiters to replicate than other Rolex watches. Although there are no dead-giveaways specific to the reference 116200 that help instantly identify a fake, all the normal rules for spotting a counterfeit Rolex watch still apply.

Datejust Reference 116200
The Datejust Reference 116200 can also come on an oyster bracelet.


When trying to ascertain the authenticity of a reference 116200, follow the usual guidelines of examining the print on the dial, the reference/serial number engravings, the bracelet (and its accompanying markings), the crystal’s Cyclops magnification lens, and (if possible) the movement. Counterfeiters are getting increasingly better at replicating the minute details of Rolex’s designs; however there will always be a difference between a high-end luxury timepiece and a cheap reproduction.

With a practical feature set, a classic design, and 100 meters of water resistance, the reference 116200 Datejust is a highly versatile watch that truly embodies the heart and soul of the Rolex brand. The Datejust is equally competent in a wide variety of different environments and situations, making it the perfect watch for everyday use. This versatility is part of the reason why the Datejust has remained in constant production since its initial release, and why many consider it to be the quintessential Rolex timepiece.

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Paul Altieri