Empowering women

Furthering female independence and paying tribute to their achievements through the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust

Lady-Datejust in 18 ct yellow gold, bezel set with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds, white mother-of-pearl dial set with 10 diamonds

Made especially for women is the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust that has been described as a classic designed for a lady with a blend of elegance and

precision, grace and resistance, beauty and technical performance. If being “a lady” means constantly pursuing a higher standard with unyielding determination, then the Lady-Datejust is indeed a classic design for a lady.

The iconic timepiece was born in 1957 and it is a watch that is just as reliable as a man’s. Rolex broke new technical ground in terms of the case size, while also obtaining chronometric certification from the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The precision of every movement is tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification.

Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust

Lady-Datejust in a white Rolesor version with a fluted bezel and a dark grey dial with Roman numerals

By its creation, the Lady-Datejust addressed not only a technical challenge but a cultural one: This watch would serve to further women’s independence. An uncompromising creation, combining elegance and accuracy on the wrist of a modern, graceful and accomplished woman. A symbol of assertiveness expressed in exquisitely feminine form.

Incorporating several decades of watchmaking innovations, the Lady-Datejust has established itself as the ultimate classic women’s watch: a piece of technical prowess made for women who believe in themselves.

Audrey Hepburn was captivating Hollywood, Sylvia Earle obtained her Master of Science, Françoise Sagan was shaking up the literary landscape, Pat Smythe reigned supreme in equestrian sport, and fashion designer Adèle Simpson had New York clamouring for her latest creations. Women were changing.

The Lady-Datejust is equipped with calibre 2236, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex

No less ladylike than their mothers, they were enjoying new, active lifestyles.

Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, understood this: the modern woman wanted to manage her time to control her destiny. She needed as much precision as men.

The gemologist is checking the quality of the diamond.

The precious stones selected by Rolex endow the brand’s gem-set watches with unparalleled prestige

Adopted by women whose steadfast determination has led them to remarkable achievements, the Lady-Datejust graces the wrist of the marine biologist Sylvia Earle, the golf champion Annika Sörenstam, and the New Zealand singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. As pioneers in each of their fields, they portray a new image of femininity: engaged, modern, and in permanent pursuit of excellence.

Inspired by their legacy, the next generation is bringing renewed vigour to disciplines across the spectrum. Whether it be the prodigious pianist Yuja Wang, the tennis champion Garbiñe Muguruza, the biologist Emma Camp working to protect coral reefs or the sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar, these women are the new faces of contemporary femininity.

A closer look

The Lady-Datejust’s Oyster case, 28 mm in diameter and guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is robust and elegant. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy, or from 18 ct gold. The caseback, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only certified Rolex watchmakers to access the movement.

The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Lady-Datejust’s calibre 2236, a self-winding mechanical movement that is entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex.

Calibre 2236 is fitted with a self- winding module via a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements

of the wrist to provide constant energy. It offers a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. Calibre 2236 incorporates a Syloxi hairspring in silicon, which is patented and manufactured by Rolex. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Syloxi hairspring provides great stability in the face of temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

Multiple dial variations are possible on the Lady-Datejust. They are available in a variety of materials, colours, motifs, and markers — indices, Roman or Arab numerals — with numerous gem-setting options for the hour markers or the dial itself. Among the iconic champagne- colour, silver, white, pink, and diamond- set dials, the dial in mother-of-pearl stands out for its singularity. Domed, fluted, or gem-set, the bezel of the Lady-Datejust is available in three different designs, each with its own distinctive aesthetic.

Mother-of-pearl is by its nature full of mystery and surprises. Depending on its origin, it can be pink, white, black, or yellow. It differs in colour, intensity, and structure according to the part of the shell from which it is extracted. At Rolex, mother-of-pearl is never artificially coloured. Instead, particular know- how and skill are devoted to simply highlighting its natural beauty and preserving the original hues. As all mother-of-pearl dials are unique pieces, an identical dial will never be found on another wrist.

The Lady-Datejust is available in several metal alloys: Oystersteel, 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold, and in a Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and yellow, white or Everose gold). Rolex has its own foundry and develops its gold alloys from the purest raw materials. From casting to the shaping and polishing of the gold, everything is carried out in the Rolex workshops with meticulous care to ensure impeccable quality. Everose gold, an exclusive 18 ct pink gold alloy developed and patented by Rolex, owes its unique hue to its exclusive composition.

In 2021, Rolex introduced a new version of its Lady-Datejust that is a gem-set version in 18 ct yellow gold covered in diamonds. The case is entirely set with 158 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case sides and lugs, while the bezel features 44 brilliant-cut diamonds. This new Lady- Datejust is fitted on a President bracelet set with 596 brilliant-cut diamonds. Its dial is paved with 291 brilliant-cut diamonds.

Rolex uses only the highest quality gemstones of natural origin, which the brand itself verifies. Whether it be diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds, the stones must always be the finest. This includes the cut of the stone in particular, as well as its clarity, colour, and exact dimensions. Rolex’s know-how comes into play from the initial quality control of the gemstones, for example ensuring perfectly uniform hues when sorting the stones by colour, to the gem- setting process itself.

During qualitative analysis, diamonds and coloured gemstones are subject to the same selection criteria, following the standards set out by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO). The way a stone is cut – the symmetry and proportions of the facets – and how it is polished determine the way in which light penetrates it and is reflected off the underside, the area known as the pavilion.

As each gemstone is natural, it is not unusual for inclusions to be present. For diamonds, Rolex selects only the purest, with no visible inclusions when examined under magnification — those equivalent to IF (Internally Flawless) on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) scale. The final criterion, colour, is always evaluated by the naked eye, as it requires the gemmologist’s seasoned aesthetic judgement.
To complete the assessment, the stones are compared against certified master stones. Rolex uses only the most colourless diamonds; they must be classed “exceptional white +”, “exceptional white”, “rare white +” or “rare white” — equivalent to GIA colour ranges D to G — the highest grades on the diamond colour scale. With coloured gemstones — rubies, sapphires, and emeralds – Rolex takes particular care to ensure that all the stones to be set on a given watch are of the same hue. This requirement is met through a careful colour-sorting process carried out by hand, stone by stone, in the Rolex workshops.

Depending on the version, the Lady-Datejust is available on a three- piece link Oyster bracelet with a folding Oysterclasp; on a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet — created in 1945 especially for the Datejust — with a Crownclasp; or on a three-piece link President bracelet with a Crownclasp. A concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.

The Lady-Datejust’s Oyster bracelet also features the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5mm, for additional comfort in any circumstance.

The Lady-Datejust, a piece of technical prowess made for women who believe in themselves

Art and Culture

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; (add.info.: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at Covent Garden, 1973. New Zealand opera singer. b. 6 March 1944); Photo © Nigel Luckhurst; out of copyright.

Yuja Wang, pianist. She is wearing the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust 28


Annika Sorenstam

Garbine Muguruza


The Mangrove at Low Isles, off the shores of Port Douglas, where Emma Camp is studying hyper-resilient corals.

Woman Aquanaut Sylvia Earle July 1970 – Tektite II (AP Photo)