Importance Of Day-Dates
Undoubtedly, the Day-Date belongs to the most stunning models of Rolex’s current and past product lines. What initially made the Day-Date stand out from other Rolex models like Daytona, Datejust, and Submariner was the integration of a day weekday indicator displayed entirely at the top of the face. This feature was initially included for executives who wanted an add-on to the standard numeric date indicator. They found it useful to be reminded of the day of the week.
The Day-Date has accompanied Rolex for over 60 years now. The Geneva watch brand used the model to feature some of the most unusual dial configurations ever seen on a Rolex watch. My favorite version of all Day-Dates ever made is the 36mm Rolex Day-Date Onyx Dial, as seen in our stunning pictures. Due to its smooth and glossy luster, Onyx is an excellent stone to set with gold accents.
Known as the traditional black gemstone, onyx has been used in jewelry and as a protective stone since ancient times. However, in the watch industry, it is barely seen on modern models. Natural black onyx is incredibly difficult to come by, making it a scarce material for the watch industry. Furthermore, as a stone, the material is much more fragile than metal dials, making it more challenging to process for watchmakers.
Thanks to the absence of indexes or numeral indices for the hours, the might black dial appears very clear in its design. The lacquer effect and the dark hue of the onyx stone are the perfect contrast to the warm gold case, hands, date, and day indicator. Of course, this Day-Date is accompanied by the famous 18K gold Rolex President bracelet with folding clasp and manufacturer logo.
Inside this Rolex Day-Date Onyx Dial sits the fifth generation Rolex Day-Date movement, called caliber 3055. It is a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex and was introduced around 1978 by the Geneva watch brand.
It features a day and date calendar disc mechanism. The date is visible via the cyclops lens at 3 o’clock. Like all Rolex Day-Date movements, the 3055 is a certified Swiss chronometer. The latter is a designation reserved for high-precision watches that successfully pass the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests. Rolex movements are well known among watch collectors for their reliability and longevity.
Price & Collectability
The measurements of vintage Day-Dates make the watches collectible for both the male and the female wrist. The case diameter of this beauty (36 mm) and case height (12.6 mm) are the same as the first Day-Date introduced in 1956.
Rolex has no official limitation on their stone dials. But because Onyx is an extremely valuable gemstone and is limited by Mother Nature, it is exclusive. Nowadays, we barely see a well-perceived original Day-Date with a black Onyx dial. Most are either polished and in non-collectible conditions, or the dials have been swapped to the more valuable Onyx dial sometime after its first commission.
The price range for this beauty varies from around CHF 25,000 up to CHF 40,000, depending on the conditions of the watch and if it has its original box and papers. However, collectors who had the chance to hold one of these masterpieces in their hand will mostly agree with me if I say: “The Rolex Day-Date Onyx Dial is one of the most beautiful creations ever to leave the Maison Rolex.”
Day-Date Onyx Dial (reference 18038)
Current market price is around CHF 25,000 – 40,000
No official limitation
Diameter: 36 mm; height: 12.6 mm
When to wear:
The dark black shade of the Onyx dial and the warm gold of the case and bracelet make the watch a beautiful choice for summer days
What we love about the watch:
Onyx Day-Dates are not only limited by Mother Nature; they are also some of the most beautiful creations to leave the Maison Rolex and are thus highly collectible.