Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Contemporary Classic: A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust for Every Feminine Wrist

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust presents an exquisite collection of elegant timepieces for every occasion.

Dec 31, 2021 | By Ashok Soman
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust 28
The Oyster Perpetual Lady Datejust comes in an array of versions to perfectly reflect the different personalities of its wearers. Image: Rolex

The Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust offers just about every woman the perfect wristwatch, emblematic of both style and performance. The Datejust has been earning this reputation since its launch in 1945, and the Lady-Datejust quickly followed suit in 1957. In reality though, this connection between what looks and feels good, and unparalleled chronometric performance has been ongoing since 1926, thanks to the vision of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf.

In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel, was wearing a Rolex Oyster when she managed the arduous swim. After more than 10 hours in the chilly waters, the waterproof wristwatch emerged in perfect working condition. The Rolex Oyster represented Wilsdorf’s vision of waterproof wristwatches that are precise, robust and able to withstand all conditions. By equipping people who were record-breakers with Oyster watches, Wilsdorf saw the benefit in celebrating human achievement while putting his watches to the ultimate test.

Mercedes Gleitze, Rolex
Mercedes Gleitze takes to the water with a Rolex Oyster around her neck. Image: Rolex

The Lady-Datejust emerges today as a descendant from the very first Rolex Oyster. The petite 28 mm diameter of the 1957 Lady-Datejust was perfect for slender wrists, and so this iconic size has stood the test of time to define the collection as it is today. The Lady-Datejust is one of the most varied lines in the Oyster Perpetual collection, distinguished by its elegance and refinement, and remains only in 28 mm. All Lady-Datejust watches feature the signature instantaneous date changing system, along with the Cyclops lens to magnify the watch’s emblematic date display two and a half times for easy reading.

Available in Oystersteel, 18 ct yellow or Everose gold, or in Rolesor versions that combine both Oystersteel and gold, the Lady-Datejust comes in a wealth of versions to perfectly reflect the different personalities of its wearers, with a stunning range of bracelets, bezels and subtle dials that enhance its style.

Oyster Lady-Datejust, 28 mm, yellow gold and diamonds.
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in 18 ct yellow gold with diamonds. Image: Rolex
Oyster Lady-Datejust 28 mm, Oystersteel, Everose Gold and diamonds.
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in Everose Rolesor with diamonds. Image: Rolex
Oyster Lady-Datejust 28 mm, Oystersteel, White Gold.
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in white Rolesor with diamonds. Image: Rolex
Oyster Lady-Datejust 28 mm, Oystersteel, Yellow Gold.
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in yellow Rolesor. Image: Rolex
Oyster Lady-Datejust 28 mm, Oystersteel.
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in Oystersteel. Image: Rolex
Oyster Lady-Datejust 28 mm, Yellow Gold and diamonds
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in 18 ct yellow gold with diamonds. Image: Rolex

Similarly, since the time of Gleitze, Rolex has been associated with a diverse group of women with undeniable substance. From marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle and sitar-player Anoushka Shankar to pianist Yuja Wang and professional golfer Lexi Thompson, these inspiring Rolex Testimonees are trailblazers in their respective fields with impressive achievements. The list of exceptional women associated with Rolex and the Lady-Datejust goes beyond the aforementioned names, as the gallery below demonstrates. Despite their diverse personalities, you might use the same words to describe these women — graceful and precise, for example — as you would to describe any Lady-Datejust.

Slyvia Earle, Rolex
Dr Sylvia Earle, Marine Biologist. Image: Rolex
Anoushka Shankar, Rolex
Anoushka Shankar, Sitar Virtuoso. Image: Rolex
Yuja Wang, Rolex
Yuja Wang, Prodigious Pianist. Image: Rolex
Lexi Thompson, Rolex
Lexi Thompson, Golf Champion. Image: Rolex
Khoudia Tour, Hip-hop street dancer
Khoudia Tour, Hip-hop Street Dance Talent. Image: Rolex
Garbiñe Muguruza
Garbiñe Muguruza, Tennis Champion. Image: Rolex
Christine Janin, Explorer and doctor
Christine Janin, Explorer and Doctor. Image: Rolex

However, the qualities of the Lady-Datejust far surpass mere words. At its core, the Lady-Datejust shares the same unmatched reliability and precision as every Superlative Chronometer-certified Rolex timepiece that preceded it. All versions are guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), which is an unparalleled achievement for an elegant dress watch. The hermetically sealed screwed down case back and the patented Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, are responsible for this robustness.

Inside the watches, the self-winding mechanical calibre 2236 is just as impressive as the case, if not more so. Developed and built entirely in-house by Rolex, calibre 2236 offers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. The power reserve of approximately 55 hours is class-leading for watches of this size, and the motion of the wearer provides all the energy the watch needs to keep it ticking perpetually.

daily Mail, 1927
Rolex advertised Mercedes Gleitze’s successful Channel crossing while noting the robustness of the watch she wore. Image: Rolex

With regards to precision, calibre 2236 is officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Each movement is tested by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone.

Finally, in terms of bracelets, the Lady-Datejust features three Rolex icons: the Oyster, Jubilee and President. The five-piece link Jubilee bracelet, with a Crownclasp, was the original bracelet developed for the Datejust in 1945, and also accompanied the original Lady-Datejust in 1957. Over the decades, the three-piece link Oyster bracelet with a folding Oysterclasp and the three-piece link President bracelet with a Crownclasp were introduced, presenting ladies with an even wider variety in the Lady-Datejust collection.

A perfect alchemy of form and function, the Lady-Datejust remains a contemporary classic since its launch in 1957, designed and created for the wrists of modern, graceful and accomplished women.

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