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Watch Review

Rolex Day-Date 6611 – Vintage Watch of the Week

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Paul Altieri

The Rolex President was an instant icon in horology and fashion — representing top-tier innovative watchmaking featuring the time and date, as well as classic, regal elegance with the world’s best materials. Instantly, the President became the brand’s most prestigious dress watch, and six decades later, it remains so. Worn by United States presidents, world leaders and celebrities, the Rolex President is ubiquitous with power and success.

Here, we’re going to explore one of the most important early models of the Rolex President, the reference 6611. Often overlooked, this second generation watch included an important update that changed the trajectory of this new, unprecedented timepiece. Let us explain.

The Day-Date 6611 Was The Second Generation Of The Rolex President

Day-Date 6611
The Day-Date 6611 is a watch with historical significance.

To get to the 6611, we have to back up a little first. We were first introduced to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in 1956 with the references 6510 which had a domed bezel, and the 6511 which had a fluted bezel. This watch was special for a few reasons — firstly, it was the world’s first waterproof watch to indicate both the date at 3 o’clock and the full day of the week at 12 o’clock. It was also Rolex’s first watch to be forged exclusively out of 18k gold (white, yellow and rose) as well as platinum. Finally, the Rolex Day-Date was given its very own bracelet, the President. In fact, many think the nickname for the watch came from the famously elegant bracelet name itself.

But, while the Rolex President was the first watch of its kind, it also had some mishaps that could have undermined its otherwise impressive technical innovation. You see, the very first models suffered from some technical mishaps in the movement. Luckily, Rolex caught the problem pretty quickly and the first generation of wonky Day-Date watches were only in production for a year. What came next was the President 6611 — the same watch now outfitted with a newly updated caliber that would back the integrity of this instantly iconic timepiece.

The First Rolex To Include SCOC On The Dial

Day-Date 6611
This reference has both the COSC with a Day and Date function.

After the mishaps of the Rolex Day-Date 6511, Rolex released the 6611 featuring an improved COSC-certified Caliber 1055 housing a new balance wheel. This new COSC-caliber was actually the only distinguishable difference from the previous model — although, an important one. Notably, the automatic day and date movement also included 25 jewels and a frequency rate of 18,000 beats per hour.

Due to the mechanical improvements, the text on the dial graduated from “Officially Certified Chronometer” to “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified.” This makes the President ref. 6611 the first Rolex to include the now-famous SCOC label on the dial — a detail that can be found on the majority of Rolex watches today.

Also new to the dial of the ref. 6611 were the Alpha-style hands rather than the preceding Dauphine-style hands. This particular model of the vintage Day-Date 6611 includes a beautiful pie pan style dial, named so for its resemblance to the sloping of an upside-down pie pan. The champagne color of the dial complements the gold shade of the watch perfectly.

This President Was Made In Three Shades Of Gold

Day-Date 6611
A Pie-Pan Dial is a dial where the outer edge slightly descends.

This early model of the Rolex President was offered in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.

This particular Day-Date President ref. 6611 is a yellow gold version with the signature 36mm Oyster case and fluted bezel. Furthermore, the watch is outfitted with a characteristic yellow gold President bracelet known for its five the semi-circular links. The President bracelet was made specifically for the Day-Date, and it’s the only metal band to ever be offered on this timepiece. However, there are variations besides the alloy — for example, this version of the President bracelet is distinct for its “bark” accents. The center links include a special type of texture that resembles the bark of a tree trunk.

Only In Production For A Short Period Of Time

Day-Date 6611
What are your thoughts on the Day-Date 6611? Comment below.

Similar to the model before it, the Rolex Day-Date ref. 6611 was only in production for a short time. In fact, by 1959/1960 it had been totally replaced by the ref. 1800 series. This specific model’s serial number dates it to about 1959/1960, meaning that it was one of the last reference 6611 models to come out of the Rolex factory.

An impressive vintage Rolex watch that is an important part of the brand’s history, the Day-Date ref. 6611 is a fantastic addition to any watch collection.

What do you think about this vintage Day-Date? Do you like the pie-pan dial, alpha hands, and bark style bracelet? Leave us your thoughts below.

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Paul Altieri