This article is about the Rolex Datejust, specifically the Rolex Datejust reference 1601. In my opinion this reference is the pinnacle of the Datejust and resembles both class and style. The watch has a timeless aesthetic which looks as good right now as it did 50 years ago.
When was the Rolex Datejust first produced?
The datejust 1601 production started in the late 1950’s and lasted until the 1970’s. The most well-known datejust configuration features a stainless steel oyster case measuring 36mm and a jubilee bracelet with a white gold fluted bezel. The watch houses the Rolex Caliber 1570/5, which is considered a very reliable workhorse movement, beloved by collectors. There is one downside with this movement, it is not a quickset movement meaning the date has to be adjusted manually by moving the hands over the 12 hour.
The 1601 looks very much like the reference 1603 and 16014 at first glance, however I believe the 1601 to be superior for a few reasons.
Firstly the 1601 and 1603 are very similair in all but one aspect. The datejust 1601 features a very prominent white gold fluted bezel, which is definetly one of it’s strong points. The 1603’s engine turned bezel doesn’t look great in comparison, it’s still a great watch but it simply doesn’t match the 1601.
Why not buy the reference 16014?
The datejust 16014 also looks very similair to the 1601 and is technically even superior due to a quick-set movement with a more beats per hour, making it more accurate. There is one key aspect the 16014 lacks however, which is the lack of a pie-pan dial. As you can see above, the dial of the 16014 is an even surface and doesn’t feature a pie-pan dial such as the 1601 or 1603. This might seem like a small difference but the pie-pan dial really is an eyecatcher in my opinion.
The datejust 1601 makes for a perfect vintage all-round watch, watch lovers will instantly recognise that you’re wearing a vintage watch appreciated by collectors, while the watch still has a modern appeal and looks fashionable enough to go with formal outfits as well as more casual attire. There is also an interesting variations for collectors who like it, the datejust 1601 is found with baton hands (as seen in the first picture) and very classical leaf hands as seen below. You can pick whichever you like best.