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Thread: Old Man Buys Datejust

  1. #1
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Old Man Buys Datejust


    You can't get away from Rolex. They're a reference for just about everything: history, technology, branding, and the Mad Hatter economics of the luxury business. Even detractors can't get away from Rolex, judging by the effort they put into their disapproval. Rolex comes close to being a self-sustaining phenomenon and its unique status is assured. If the phenomenon was entirely orchestrated by Rolex it would be the stuff of genius, but we've all played a part in creating Rolex.

    So you might as well have one, really - and be done with it.

    Old Man

    My prompt (or excuse) for splashing out is my sixtieth birthday. I don't make much of birthdays, but it's different, being sixty-something, just as it was different being twenty-something and no longer a teenager. It's the beginning of 'old', however you might like to frame it.

    I wanted a definitive watch and I wanted it to be a lifetime watch - one that required no introduction or explanation, and would still suit me in years to come. Four watches were in my mind and three of them were tightly grouped on grey market price lists.

    They were: Datejust, Explorer II, GO Senator Sixties, IWC Ingenieur. There were other watches that fitted the bill (some of them better), but I just didn't fancy them as much. The Datejust beat the Explorer (big, added complication, extrovert, most expensive). The GO beat the Ingenieur (Genta angularity might grate), leaving the Datejust and Senator Sixties. The prices were the same and they were equally desirable but different. The Datejust won. The GO is a finer watch in some ways, but the Datejust has fit-and-forget versatility, which is what I was after.

    One other thing struck me, looking down the price-lists. Compared to watches from other manufacturers in the same price-bracket (and considering that some of those were on leather and were available at bigger discounts), the steel Datejust is actually quite good value for money...


    It goes back to 1945, it provided the template for the modern wristwatch, and you only need one word to say what it is.

    "I want a standard watch, as good as they come."
    "You need a Datejust, sir."

    I like standard watches. Before I developed a watch habit, standard watches were what I wore. My unleashed enthusiasm then took me down all kinds of avenues, but now, after a couple of decades, I'm back where I began. I could have missed out most of the watches in-between... but the journey was good, and it was an education.

    Definitive but various

    Is there a watch that comes in so many varieties? And how come they all look like Datejusts? Two bracelets, two bezels, four types of metal, twenty-eight dials...

    Fortunately, I knew what I wanted - steel, plain bezel, white dial, baton markers, oyster bracelet. It's a fresh and contemporary look, compared with the fluted fancies on jubilee bracelets.

    I wasn't interested in the Datejust II, but it's good that it exists. If it didn't, Rolex might have over-inflated the classic model. There's a surprising gulf between the two sizes, as if Rolex might have overreacted to the fad for bigger watches - and it allows other manufacturers to drop a model into the gap.

    The Watch

    It doesn't disappoint. It's 'all of a piece' - a compact package of practicality and discreet glamour. You ask yourself how much of that glamour comes from the name and the coronet, and then dismiss the question as irrelevant. Judged purely as a watch, the Datejust is a terrific thing, and it's worth the money. The aura comes free.

    Price and aura aside, it's a simple, carefree watch you can wear every day of your life. You can forget about it or take pleasure in it, depending on your mood. If you're the sort that hankers after the 'exquisite', then look elsewhere because the Datejust isn't that sort of watch. It doesn't show off, but it has the confidence of an enduring classic.

    The dial and hands are a model of unaffected elegance and simplicity. I can read the date in low light. It looks like something that has been refined over generations, which it has. The 'Superlative Chronometer' text (which marked the introduction of the improved 1055 caliber in the year of my birth), just makes me smile. The watch feels like it's been waiting for me to come along and claim it.

    The bracelet is excellent and the Easylink comfort adjustment is a useful feature. Yes, I might not have chosen polished centre-links, but they look appropriate. I don't mind signs of wear, so won't fret if the links don't look pristine after a few months.

    It's a good fit for my 7.5" wrist, and it may be more comfortable than any watch I've worn on a bracelet. You're hardly conscious of wearing it.

    When I bought an Aqua Terra, I said it made a Datejust look like your Auntie Nora. Well, now I'm not so sure. The Aqua Terra is 21st century and is the more visually arresting of the two, but compared with the Datejust it seems to be working at it a little. It doesn't have the Datejust's relaxed maturity. Perhaps they shouldn't be compared at all because they feel quite different. I'll run them side by side and see what happens.


    It's a cliché to say that the Datejust is an old man's watch, but it's not entirely without foundation. Maybe watch enthusiasts come to the Datejust after sampling many other watches, and that's likelier to occur in later life. Non-enthusiasts might get there quicker...

    It suits me very well, and I think it always will. It also makes me wonder whether I haven't finally arrived at a destination. I'm not immune to the power of the coronet, so that may be a factor. But it doesn't really matter. Rolex, real and imagined, can't be denied.

    I think I might now concentrate on reducing my collection. Five is a good number...

  2. #2
    Seems like you've justified it to yourself

    I think I might now concentrate on reducing my collection. Five is a good number...
    I'm ready , old-ish padawan

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  4. #3
    Sixty is not old, not at all by today's standards. That said, if I can have that watch on my sixtieth birthday, I'm already looking forward to it.

  5. #4
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabfrank View Post
    Sixty is not old, not at all by today's standards.

    You wait...

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  7. #6
    Moderator scottjc's Avatar
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    Excellent explanation behind the thought process although you really don't have to justify yourself to us lot.
    To be honest, the Datejust is the only Rolex I would ever consider owning, I like its understated simplicity and classical styling. I know that many of you that have seen my collection will find that hard to believe,but there is it.
    Congratulations, enjoy and wear it for many, many years in good health.
    Sent from my Nokia Lumia 1020 using Tapatalk
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  9. #7
    You'll be needing one of these?..................

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  11. #8
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottjc View Post
    I know that many of you that have seen my collection will find that hard to believe.

    Yes, having seen your watches that did surprise me...

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  13. #9
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    West Sussex, UK
    What a cracker Alan - I'm jealous. As is the aqua terra! I won't wish you happy birthday until the day (naughty - you're early).

    Care to post some movements specs, or not?!
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  14. #10
    Member Teeritz's Avatar
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    Great write-up! Now that I've gotten the Submariner out of my system, the DateJust, or more precisely, a nice old 6694 Date model, is next on my hit-list. Congrats on a beautiful watch!


    (IWL Member No. 72)
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