First Rolex Datejust Model Released in 1945

March 24, 2016

The year 1945 marked the 40th anniversary of Rolex and to commemorate the occasion, the watchmaker released the first wristwatch to display the date through an aperture at the 3 o'clock position of the dial. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust would go on to become the quintessential Rolex model for years to come.

First Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Model, 1945 (photo:  Rolex)
The end of World War II brought new life to the watchmaking industry and by 1947 Rolex submitted their 100,000th wristwatch for certification. In keeping with his tradition of tying the Rolex brand to excellence in leadership, Hans Wilsdorf decided that the 100,000th certified chronometer would go to 'an illustrious gentleman' who was worthy of the honor.

Rolex's brochure for the current Datejust model makes mention of the 100,000th certified chronometer in 1947
In the brochure for the current Datejust model, Rolex does not identify the gentleman, however, Jake's Rolex Blog offers documentation about the gifting of a rose gold Datejust to Sir Winston Churchill, including scans of letters to and from Churchill mentioning the timepiece.

Although the letter does not indicate that said timepiece was in fact the 100,000th certified chronometer produced by Rolex, the theory certainly fits into the timeline. It seems unlikely that the watchmaker would reveal the mystery man after so much time has passed, especially considering their preference for discretion when it comes to public relations. So for now, the mystery man will remain unconfirmed.


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