Having recovered from the jubilation following the release of the steel GMT Master II Pepsi during Baselworld 2018, we can now turn our attention to another candidate in the classic Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 line that is out to conquer the hearts of men… and women. Housed in a two-tone Everose Rolesor case (combination of steel and pink gold), Rolex has fitted the watch with its new-generation calibre 3235 and given the case some design tweaks. Handsome and refined with just the right touch of luxurious rose gold, practical for everyday wear and tear, robust and ready for action sports yet with enough style to work as a casual dress watch… what’s not to love about the Datejust 36? So, a word of warning to all you boyfriends out there: do not leave this watch unattended.
What woman hasn’t borrowed her boyfriend’s shirt, his jeans or snuggled up in his large cashmere sweater? The phenomenon of women poaching things from their boyfriends has trickled all the way down to the watch industry with more and more gender-fluid proposals. Chanel tapped into the trend and went as far as designing the BoyFriend watch for women (and we know that when it comes to creating trends, Chanel knows one or two tricks). Designed to look like a man’s dress watch that women would want to steal, the success of this watch has been extraordinary and a reverse effect in happening as more and more men are succumbing to the model, including the sophisticated skeletonised version of Chanel’s BoyFriend.
Surprisingly, coming from the bastion of conservative Swiss watchmaking, Rolex has always known that men’s sports watches would be adopted by women and has responded by releasing the Oyster Perpetual in five different sizes, from 39mm to 26mm to make sure nobody’s wrist is overlooked. For the record, when Rolex introduced its revolutionary waterproof Oyster case in 1926, it was put to the test on the wrist of a young Englishwoman – Mercedes Gleitze – to accompany her on her epic cross-Channel swim of 1927.
What makes this Datejust 36 such a perfect boyfriend watch – compared to the other two variations on the Datejust 36 theme with diamonds and louder dials – is its tempered masculinity (Rolex presented three Datejust 36 models during Baselworld 2018, including two with diamonds – see them here). It is masculine, but not butch and will look great on a woman’s wrist. Like a crisp white shirt, the white lacquered dial looks impeccably smart and confident, and the thick, pink gold Roman numerals give it a classic, authoritative spirit. In my book, this model is quintessential elegant Rolex and displays all the right markers of its heritage.