Rolex Datejust: First High End Watch?


Rolex Datejust at rest

Rolex prices are dropping. Now might be a good time to buy your first luxury watch. A lot of first-timers turn to the Rolex Datejust as an “entry level” or “one watch to rule them all” Rolex. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying, there are some good points about starting your high-end collection with the Datejust, and some less-than-ideal points . . .

Rolex Datejust Configurator

Rolex Datejust – The Good

– It’s a Rolex. Everyone will know you’re wearing a high-end watch. Including yourself – Rolex are a point of personal pride and a joy to wear.

– The Datejust is a classic, one of the longest-manufactured models of the Maison. It won’t go out of style – it’s perfectly balanced between sporty and dressy.

– Rolex has stopped production – you can’t use their configurator to create the “perfect” watch – there’s plenty of pre-owned choice in terms of size, style and price.

– The Datejust is out of the limelight as far as Rolex watches go. Again, it’s possible to find one at a good price without delay.

– The movement powering the Datejust is tried and true, honed almost to perfection. You can expect excellent reliability during the years ahead.

– The Rolex Datejust is a Rolex. It will retain its value better than most of its competitors.

Rolex Datejust – The Bad

– The Datejust is a sort of jack-of-all-trades: good for everything, perfect for none. If you are planning to buy other timepieces, focus on watches with different aspects and characteristics.

– The DJ’s far less distinctive than a Submariner or a GMT Master – it delivers less social status.

– The Datejust lags in horological quality. The 3235 movement is perfect for what it does, and it does it very well (-2/+2 sec/day after casing). But there is little refinement in it, which you can get from other competitors in the same price bracket.

– It’s hugely overpriced compared to other alternatives. The price you pay gives you a lot of features and qualities, but your money goes a LOT further elsewhere (e.g., Oris, OMEGA, NOMOS).

Rolex Datejust too much money!

And Finally, The Ugly

Is the Datejust a good newbie’s first maybe only Rolex? Yes and no. “Yes” the Rolex Datejust is a good place to start if you’ve always wanted a Rolex. [Click here if you want to be disabused of that notion.] “No” if you want something more distinctive with a better movement and better value-for-money – comparative resale value aside.


Read more about  buying and selling watches in Franz’s  book, The Watch Manual. [TTAW does not receive a commission.] Check out Franz Rivoira’s horological analysis on Facebook or Instagram (#watchonomicon). Please support his writing via Patreon.


  1. The DateJust is a fine watch, but personally I find the stripped-down Oyster Perpetual (without the overbearing cyclops, fluted bezel or two-toned bracelet) to be the more timeless and elegant option with better range.

    Perhaps it’s my generation, but to me a two-toned Datejust still screams old man, try-hard, or shady “importer/exporter”. An OP (i prefer the 36 with a Silver/Black/White dial) works up and down the age-range, and with both sexes.

    More affordable too… so you can put the money towards the next watch.

    • I prefer the Datejust without the fluted bezel, but completely agree with you on the two-tone, regardless of the brand.

    • It could just be me, but I am more on the mature side of life. And I always remember the Eighties, where the bi-tone were all the craze. I still find these watches an almost perfect balance between sporty and dressy. And well, until the COVID, the only option to buy a new Rolex without waiting for months for “the call”. We should check from now onwards.

Leave a Reply