The reinvention of a classic –
Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date
Look closely and you will see the distinct variant the Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date physically displays, not to be mistaken for its famously know older brother, the Rolex Day-Date.
The Oysterquartz’s journey is a long one, formally commencing post second world war in 1952 and ending 2001. During this time Rolex went through a score of experimental models, some making it to production, whilst many were left to peacefully rest somewhere in a beautifully crafted wooden box, neatly marked and stored in Rolex’s cemetery or more likely some type of vault.
By the late 1970’s, the swiss watch industry was under threat by Japan’s quartz technology boom. An explosion of quartz variants hit the scene which inevitably caused the ‘Quartz crisis' also known as the ‘Quartz revolution’. The swiss watchmaking industry went through an economic battle, fighting for the industrial insurrection from mechanical craftsmanship to the quartz movements philosophy. This mutiny causing a decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, opening the doors to it's Asian counterparts.
Choosing to remain true to traditional mechanical watch making workmanship, while much of the world's watch production moved to a more economic process, the swiss giants answer is by far one of the most beautifully designed and crafted quartz watches in its arsenal.
The Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date was in production for some 30 years with a mere 25,000 units being made. The 19018 model was released in 1977 with it's unique angular case and integrated bracelet, 36mm cushioned style case very much of the Gerald Genta 70s styling, but visually looks more like a 40mm. The 19018 was made in solid 18k yellow gold and the 19019 it's brother covered in 18k white gold. Both showed off the same mechanics including the 11 jewels that regulated the rolex’s fine movement. There are 13 other models that were made and released but the 19018 and the 19019 have to be the most beautifully designed out of Rolex’s Oysterquartz series.
The Oysterquartz Day-Date is the world's most over-engineered quartz calibre, with the day disc available in over 20 languages and the date disc also optioned with several numerical variants, it's purpose was to be and look unique. The long arm engineered to step in perfect second motion leaving a ticking sound that echoes the casing with a delightful charm. Rolex complicated it's inner case with anti-magnetic technology extremely rare to find in quartz calibres, if you asked me why they did this – I would guess it was a bet between engineers? Who knows.
Traditional swiss lever escapement with an anchor and escape wheel to precisely start and stop the hand on the exact second, leaving precision to be almost perfect. This timepiece self regulates in extremely hot or cold climates because of it's thermos-compensated mechanism and the hacking seconds crown allows the hand to click precisely into the second slot once adjusted, leaving no room for lag.
You would swear peeking inside the casing that the Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date movement was mechanical, yet it’s far from a simple quartz, this stunning piece of art will live in history as one of the most exquisite quartz watches to have been made.