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Rolex Two-Tone Datejust Ultimate Buying Guide

Shop Rolex Datejust Two Tone
Paul Altieri

While Rolex produces many iconic models, one of the most recognizable among them is the popular two-tone Rolex Datejust collection. Two-tone of course, in Rolex world, refers to the use of both gold and steel on one watch. And in Rolex-speak, this is officially known as Rolesor. Since the combination of steel and gold is a hallmark of Rolex watches and the flagship model of the brand is the Datejust, bringing these two signatures to produce the two-tone Datejust will inevitably lead to a super successful model.

Rolex Two-Tone Datejust Watches

Two-Tone Rolex Datejust

Two-tone Datejust watches have been a part of the company’s catalog since the early 1930s and the name “Rolesor” was trademarked in 1933. The mix of precious gold and robust stainless steel brings the wearer the best of both worlds.

Although the most classic choice for Rolesor is yellow gold and steel, it’s also available with Everose and white gold. A common two-tone configuration is where the predominately steel Rolex features a gold bezel, bracelet links, and crown. However, there are some two-tone Rolexes where gold is on the bezel and nowhere else.

Rolex Two-Tone Datejust Buying Guide Jubilee Bracelet

Two-Tone Datejust

There are two-tone versions of every Datejust model, whether the traditional 36mm Datejust, the Datejust II, the Turn-O-Graph Thunderbird Datejust, the Lady Datejust, and the new Datejust 41. The key to the success of the Datejust model is its versatility, and the two-tone Datejust watches are no exception.

In some cases, the Datejust II will be very large in case size. The Datejust is often available as part of the full Rolex catalog collection with a choice between the dressier Jubilee bracelet or the sportier Oyster bracelet. The bracelet of a two-tone Datejust is normally where the contrast between the gold and steel is most highlighted. The gold center links flanked by the steel outer links gives the watch its famous Rolesor look. The contrast is of course much more noticeable when yellow gold and steel combine, in comparison to the more understated choice of white gold and steel.

While on some Rolesor models the bracelet does not necessarily sport any gold, the bezel is always in gold on two-tone Datejust watches. The gold bezels are available in either white, yellow or Everose pink gold. Furthermore, bezels can be of the classic fluted variety or the sleeker domed version. This particular Rolesor Datejust II pictured here is almost entirely crafted in stainless steel, except for the addition of the 18k white gold fluted bezel.

Rolex Two-Tone Lady Datejust Mother of Pearl Dial

Rolesor Lady-Datejust

The most popular two-tone Datejust is the Lady-Datejust version, rumored to consistently outsell every other Rolex collection. This isn’t surprising, as the two-tone Lady-Datejust offers women a wonderfully versatile luxury watch. A two-tone steel and gold construction means that it’s easier to match both silver and gold jewelry, in addition to hardware on handbags, belts, and shoes. Although the popularity of ladies wearing a men’s Rolex sports watch is on the rise, there will always be a place for the two-tone Lady-Datejust for chic women everywhere.

Our Favorite Two-Tone Datejust Models – Vintage Datejust 1601

Vintage Datejust models are an excellent gateway into two-tone Rolex ownership.  They’re often among the most affordable options on the secondary market. They boast a distinctive and desirable retro aesthetic with older-style design elements such as an acrylic crystal and a Pie Pan dial.  A popular vintage Datejust is ref. 1601.  While Rolex produced this model in several metal finishes, steel and yellow gold is one of the most recognizable.  Prices start as low as $4k for watches on leather and average around $5,500 for those on matching metal bracelets.

Rolex Two-Tone Datejust Vintage 1601 Jubilee Bracelet

Rolex 16013 Datejust

The Datejust ref. 16013 is also considered vintage because it sports an older-style case and bracelet and an acrylic crystal.  However, since it was produced between the late 1970s and 1980s, it also takes advantage of slightly more “modern” upgrades, such as the higher-beat caliber 3035 Perpetual movement with a quickset function for the date mechanism.  For about $1k more, you can opt for the “newer” vintage steel and yellow gold Datejust with the convenience of an improved movement.

Rolex Datejust 16234

The 162XX Datejust replaced the Datejust 16013, featuring an even better movement – the caliber 3135.  While the newer Datejust movement boasts the same 28,800 frequency and the convenient Quickset function, it now offers a longer 48-hour power reserve, up from 42 hours, and a handful of other fine-tuned upgrades, including a new balance spring.  It also looks more polished and modern because the 162XX generation features the then-new scratch-resistant sapphire crystal instead of the boxier acrylic crystal.  Reference 16234, featuring steel and white gold, is arguably one of the most versatile two-tone Datejusts because of the timeless white metal finish.  It typically resells for about the same price as the previous 5-digit Datejust series, but with the added luxury of more durable sapphire and a newer movement.

Rolex 116231 Datejust

Rolex started producing pink gold, aka Everose, watches in 2005, followed by Everoser Rolesor.  The remarkable steel and rose gold finish has since become a popular two-tone Datejust option because it’s fashion-forward and versatile.  One of the first 6-digit Datejusts to feature the popular two-tone finish is ref. 116231.  Like the 5-digit series, the trusty caliber 3135 still beats inside the case, only now the watch wears a bit heavier on the wrist with solid links and solid end links, compared to 5-digit Datejusts with hollow bracelet links.  The 6-digit series also features a new-style case with broader, more rounded lugs with a high-polished finish instead of the tapered lugs seen on the 5-digit series.  This watch looks and feels more modern.  It also commands a higher price on the pre-owned market than the 5-digit series of around $10k.

Rolex Two-Tone Datejust 126233 Steel and Gold

Rolex Datejust 36 References 126203 & 126233

The current-production Yellow Rolesor Datejust 36 references 126203 (smooth bezel) and 126233 (fluted bezel) still adhere to the same design codes as the first two-tone model, featuring a gold bezel, crown, and center links.  The most significant upgrade was integrating the brand-new caliber 3235 Perpetual movement into the Datejust collection.  With this movement, the Datejust boasts a longer 70-hour power reserve, better resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, and improved skeletonized Chronergy escapement.  It’s even more dependable and efficient than its predecessors.  Of course, this Datejust still keeps the classic 36mm diameter and the option for either a 5-link Jubilee or 3-link Oyster bracelet.  It’s the same two-tone Datejust 36 we all know and love, but even more refined and perfected than ever.

At retail, the smooth bezel model will set you back $11,900, while the fluted bezel model costs $12,000.

Rolex Datejust II & Datejust 41

Rolex introduced the first larger model Datejust in 2009 via the now-discontinued Datejust II, followed by the Datejust 41 in 2016.  Both models feature the same 41mm case but use different movements and slightly different designs.  The Datejust II features boxier lugs and a thicker bezel, while the Datejust 41 is more refined and stays more faithful to the proportions seen on the classic Datejust 36, giving each model its own unique look and feel.  They’re also both available in two-tone.  One of the watches we see the most here at Bob’s Watches is the Datejust II ref. 116333 in Yellow Rolesor.  The Everose Rolesor Datejust 41 ref. 126331 is also a big seller in warm rose gold and cool stainless steel hues.

Rolex Two-Tone Datejust II Roman Dial

The Two-Tone Lady-Datejust 79174

The Lady-Datejust has been in production for decades, including those in popular steel and gold.  For decades, the case measured 26mm.  However, Rolex recently upgraded the Lady-Datejust to 28mm.  And just like the men’s collection, the Lady-Datejust is available with a smooth or fluted yellow gold bezel and the Jubilee or Oyster bracelet.  Reference 79174 is a classic example of the two-tone Lady-Datejust, featuring an elegant white gold fluted bezel and 26mm case.  It’s a hot seller because it’s affordable and looks good dressed up or down.

The Mid-Size Datejust 278273

The two-tone Datejust is also available in a mid-size 31mm case size.  It features the same iconic Datejust style many die-hard Rolex fans adore but in a smaller 31mm unisex case.  Reference 278273 is the current-production fluted bezel Datejust 31, featuring the same caliber 2236 movement as the Lady-Datejust model, Chromalight, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and Twinlock waterproof screw-down crown.  It’s perfect for anyone in the market for an understated, all-occasion Rolex that is easy to dress up or down.  It currently retails for $10,700.

In short, the two-tone Rolex Datejust is the quintessential luxury dress watch. Around for well over 65 years with no sign of slowing down, it’s an essential timepiece for any wrist.

Paul Altieri