Audrey Hepburn was captivating Hollywood, Sylvia Earle obtained her Master of Science, Francoise Sagan was shaking up the literary landscape, Pat Smythe reigned supreme in equestrian sport, and fashion designer Adele Simpson had New York clamouring for her latest creations.
Women were changing — they were enjoying new, active lifestyles.
Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, understood this, that the modern woman wanted to manage her time to control her destiny and she needed as much precision as men.
And so, in 1957, Rolex’s classic women’s watch was born: the Lady-Datejust, a watch of smaller proportions built on unwavering standards of excellence, every bit as reliable as a man’s.
An uncompromising creation, combining elegance and accuracy on the wrist of a modern, graceful and accomplished woman. A symbol of assertiveness expressed in exquisitely feminine form.
Adopted by women whose steadfast determination has led them to remarkable achievements, the Lady-Datejust graces the wrist of the marine biologist Sylvia Earle, the golf champion Annika Sorenstam, and the singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
As pioneers in each of their fields, they portray a new image of femininity: engaged, modern and in permanent pursuit of excellence.
Inspired by their legacy, the next generation is bringing renewed vigour to disciplines across the spectrum. Whether it be the prodigious pianist Yuja Wang, the tennis champion Garbie Muguruza, the biologist Emma Camp working to protect coral reefs, or the sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar, these women are the new faces of contemporary femininity.
A small case for a great watchmaking achievement
The Lady-Datejust’s Oyster case, 28mm in diameter and guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100m features a middle case crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel or 18 ct gold.
Its case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only certified Rolex watchmakers to access the movement, while the Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case.
The crystal, with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Lady-Datejust’s movement.
Forefront of watchmaking technology
The Lady-Datejust is equipped with calibre 2236, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, which offers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
Its oscillator has a balance wheel with variable inertia regulated extremely precisely via gold Microstella nuts, held firmly in place by a height-adjustable traversing bridge enabling very stable positioning to increase shock resistance. The oscillator is also fitted on high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed and patented by Rolex.
Calibre 2236 is fitted with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements of the wrist to provide constant energy, offering a power reserve of approximately 55 hours.
Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Syloxi hairspring in silicon provides great stability in the face of temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.
Dials, bezels and cases
Multiple dial variations are possible on the Lady-Datejust, available in a wealth of materials, colours, motifs and markers – indices, Roman or Arab numerals – with numerous gem-setting options for the hour markers or the dial itself.
Among the iconic champagne-colour, silver, white, pink and diamond-set dials, the dial in mother-of-pearl stands out for its singularity.
Domed, fluted or gem-set, the bezel is available in three different designs, each conferring its own distinctive aesthetic.
The Lady-Datejust is available in several metal alloys: Oystersteel, 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold, and in a Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and yellow, white or Everose gold).
The Gem-Set Lady-Datejust
In 2021, Rolex introduced a new sparkling version of its Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust. This entirely gem-set version in 18 ct yellow gold is draped in glittering diamonds.
The case is entirely set with 158 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case sides and lugs, while the bezel features 44 brilliant-cut diamonds. This new Lady-Datejust is fitted on a President bracelet set with 596 brilliant-cut diamonds, its dial paved with 291 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Purity, clarity and rigour
Rolex uses only the highest quality gemstones of natural origin, whether it be diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds.
This includes the cut of the stone, as well as its clarity, colour and exact dimensions.
During qualitative analysis, diamonds and coloured gemstones are subject to the same selection criteria, standards set out by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO).
For diamonds, Rolex selects only the purest, with no visible inclusions when examined under magnification – those equivalent to IF (Internally Flawless) on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) scale.
The final criterion, colour, is always evaluated by the naked eye, as it requires the gemmologist’s seasoned aesthetic judgement. To complete the assessment, the stones are compared against certified master stones. Rolex uses only the most colourless diamonds; they must be classed ‘exceptional white +’, ‘exceptional white’, ‘rare white +’ or ‘rare white’ – equivalent to GIA colour ranges D to G – the highest grades on the diamond colour scale.
With coloured gemstones, a careful colour-sorting process is carried out by hand, stone by stone, in the Rolex workshops.
Once approved by the gemmologists, the precious stones are entrusted to the gem-setters, masters of their art and in skilled in the various techniques of their profession – bead setting and channel setting.
Oyster, Jubilee and President bracelets
Depending on the version, the Lady-Datejust is available on a three-piece link Oyster bracelet with a folding Oysterclasp; on a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet – created in 1945 especially for the Datejust – with a Crownclasp; or on a three-piece link President bracelet with a Crownclasp.
The Lady-Datejust’s Oyster bracelet also features the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5mm, for additional comfort in any circumstance.
The President bracelet, fitted on some 18 ct gold versions, includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility and longevity.
Superlative Chronometer certified
Like all Rolex watches, the Lady-Datejust is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolised by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.