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 tenth anniversary of the Datejust in 1955, the magnifying ‘cyclops lens’ was introduced on the Datejust.
The nickname ‘Ovettone’ means ‘big egg’ in Italian. This nickname refers to a couple of early Datejust references with a protruded ‘bubble back’ that was meant to house the newly introduced date wheel on the movement. Collectors love these early Datejusts because they are truly special pieces within Rolex’ longest running product line.
REF. 16xx (1600, 1601, 1603)
The Datejust 16xx series was produced in the 1960s and the 1970s. These affordable and user-friendly Datejusts are the perfect vintage ‘daily beaters’ that can be combined with any outfit and worn on every occasion.
The Datejust is usually fitted with a Jubilee bracelet, but the ref. 1600 could also be ordered on an Oyster bracelet. This reference came with a smooth bezel (domed bezel) and was available in either (white, yellow, or rose) gold or in stainless steel. The ref. 1601 came with a fluted bezel in gold and was available with a steel, bicolor, or (white, yellow and rose gold) case and bracelet. The ref. 1603 was only made in steel and featured an engine turned bezel in steel.
The dial colors and configurations varied among the 16xx series Datejusts. Characteristic for this era of production is the so-called ‘Pie-Pan’ dial where the dial looks like an upside-down pie-pan (a concentric ring that slopes down from the flat centre).
REF. 16xxx (16000, 16030, 16014)
The Datejust 16xxx (5 digits) is introduced in the late 1970s and recognizable by the flat dial. This ‘newer’ Datejust has an updated calibre 3035 with a Quick Set of the Date.