Rolex Datejust 1601/9 Lapis

Museum Piece
Lapis lazuli dials are among the most sought-after stone dials produced by Rolex.


Lapis lazuli dials are among the most sought-after stone dials produced by Rolex. Now combine that with a white gold Datejust and you have a truly rare beast.

Lapis lazuli has been one the most coveted gemstones in human history due to its vibrant blue color and its rarity. In fact, for centuries the most reliable way to produce blue paint was to ground down lapis lazuli mined in Afghanistan to create a pigment called ultramarine. Due to its beautiful color and, and exorbitant price, Renaissance and Baroque painters used it almost exclusively to depict the robes of the Virgin Mary.

Nowadays, lapis is used primarily in jewelry and our favorites are lapis lazuli dial watches. Over the years, we’ve had a fair share of lapis lazuli Rolexes in yellow gold, but a white gold one is outright rare, even more so when executed as a Datejust rather than the more obvious Day-Date. In fact, this beauty from 1974 is only the second white gold Datejust with lapis dial we’ve ever acquired. The rare matching 18k white gold Jubilee bracelet further adds to the watch’s coolness factor.

The condition of a stone dial is central to its desirability as such dials are quite fragile and many of them have developed cracks or rips over the years. Therefore, a flawless dial will increase the value greatly. This lapis dial is in excellent condition and features a beautiful and desirable lapis variation. In nature, lapis often occurs together with deposits of calcite (which shows as white veins in the stone) and pyrite (which look like gold veins). This dial contains barely any calcite deposits and features just a few strokes of pyrite, giving the dial a beautiful solid blue color.

In 1945 Rolex created the flagship Datejust to mark the company’s 40th anniversary. This model was the world’s first self-winding wristwatch with a date indication. With the Datejust, Rolex also introduced the iconic 5-piece Jubilee bracelet, first in solid gold and later in bicolor and stainless steel. On the 10th anniversary of the Datejust in 1955, the magnifying ‘cyclops lens’ was introduced on the Datejust.