The most important release from Rolex this year might not even be on your radar yet. True, the larger Sea-Dweller quickly grabbed the headlines, but the announcement of a new Datejust 41 deserves at least as much attention. It is not a new watch per se, as the Datejust 41 was formally introduced last year, but it is the very first time that the case comes in stainless steel, which guarantees a more friendly price tag.
As you can expect from any Datejust, the best-selling family for Rolex since 1945, the Datejust 41 comes with either a smooth or a fluted bezel. The latter is not in stainless steel, but rather white gold (as it has always been). There are a couple of versions of this watch in various metals and dial colors, but the watch you see here is the reference 126334 with a steel case and bracelet, a white gold fluted bezel, and a bright blue dial.
Since 1945, the diameter of the Datejust has remained at 36mm, a size that Rolex still offers to this day. As larger options were often asked for, Rolex first answered in 2009 with the Datejust II, already at 41mm. Last year though, the bigger Datejust enjoyed a serious renovation and its case got slimmer. The aim and end-result was to make it look more like the 36mm Datejust, just larger. With that, the Datejust 41 joined the Datejust 36 (previously just the Datejust) in the line-up. All of that was great news, especially since the movement was considerably upgraded at the same time too, but there was a catch: the Datejust 41 only existed in yellow gold and two-tone. That changes this year.
A metal change can seem trivial, but it can have a dramatic impact, especially on a line as popular as the Datejust. Indeed, stainless steel makes for a more versatile look and offers a lower price point than any other combination including solid gold. Therefore, we can safely predict the success of the Datejust 41 in steel. It’s seriously hard to imagine this watch being anything but super popular.
In addition to the choice of either a smooth steel bezel or a fluted white gold bezel, there are also two bracelet options for you: either the standard Oyster or the Jubilee, which was launched at the very same time as the Datejust (anecdotally, it was the very first in-house bracelet from Rolex). If you add a good array of dials (black, grey, blue, and white being among the available colors, some even with diamonds indexes), you immediately realize how versitile the Datejust collection is. This definitely explains why Rolex has included a multi-parameter configurator at the bottom of the Datejust product page on its website.
By now, you understand that the reference 126334 is only one of the dozens possible configurations available for the Datejust 41. And there is no denying that it looks very much like the Datejust always has looked, despite the increased diameter. All the attributes that made the Datejust so successful are there, and particularly the dressy look that comes with the resilience of a sportswatch, a pretty unique feature in watchmaking.
This explains the presence of a cyclops for an increased legibility of the date complication and the screw-down crown to guarantee the 100-meter waterproofness. Last but not least, we should not forget that the Datejust is now equiped with the impressive caliber 3235. Not only is this an in-house chronometer-certified movement, but it is also guaranteed to -2/+2 seconds per day, and boasts a 70-hour power reserve.
The Rolex Datejust 41 reference 126334 is priced from $6,300 with the steel bezel and from $9,350 with the 18k white gold bezel. Depending on your dial, bracelet, and diamond choices, they can go up from there.
For more information or to configure your own Datejust 41, visit Rolex online.