The Rolex Quickset - Date Hack Feature - 1974

Rolex developed the quickset feature in 1974 in order to solve a pressing issue with their date models.  Having to set the date aperture in a non quickset timepiece is aggravating.  You would have to rotate the crown over and over again until the actual day of the month appeared in the aperture.  this would mean you would have to rotate the crown up to 24 times in order to get to change the date window one day forwards or backwards.  Imagine having to change the day 10 days away.  You would need to rotate the crown 240 times.  Exhausting.

The Rolex 3035 became the primary caliber that Rolex used featuring the quickset feature set.  It allows the wearer to quickly pull out the crown and adjust the date forwards or backwards with quickness.  This saves tremendous time and frustration.  Although Rolex was late to the game, the new feature set became a mainstay of the Rolex line from this point forward.

The caliber 3035 was built with 12.5 lignes and 27 jewels.  It beats to a 28,800 frequency and has a 48 hour power reserve.

The caliber was a self-winding unit, fully certified as a chronometer with COSC, and utilized a Breguet hairspring, Kif shock protection for its balance and escape wheel.  It was produced primarily between 1977 and 1988.

Great Rolex Timepieces Priced Under $6000

Since I wrote my first piece for Rolex timepieces under $5,000 the prices for Rolex have skyrocketed.  Although you can find pre-owned Rolex deals for under $5,000 it is less common. So, I am raising the price so that the expectations are adjusted to 2019 prices and the reality of the Red Hot Rolex marketplace.

However, don't worry, because I will show you some very nice Rolex bargains for under $3,000.

There are many online shops that offer pre-owned watches from reputable sellers. The Rolex Forum has a Classifieds section where people can sell and trade their timepieces. Other sites like WatchRecon aggregate listings from various sellers to give you an idea of what's available online. There are also shops like Bob's Watches, Chrono 24 and Hodinkee that sell pre-owned timepieces.  Today if you do a search on Google, the Google results page shows plenty of offerings.  As you hone in on the exact model you are looking for you can find many timepieces that meet your exact criteria. 

There are going to be some models of Rolex that will be priced much higher than the $6,000 price tag.  For example, the Rolex Daytona will not be on our buying list today.  In addition we will not find any Sea Dweller's, GMT Masters, Submariners, or Sky Dwellers available at this price point.  

With that said, there were some surprising opportunities out there.  First surprise was a vintage Day-Date.  

This is an 18kt yellow gold Presidential Rolex Day Date with a unisex 36mm Case with a leather bracelet. It has a gorgeous 18kt yellow gold fluted bezel. I love the classic white dial with gold luminous hands and Roman hour markers. The date display appears at the 3 o'clock position and day of the week appears at the 12 oclock position. It utilizes 31 jewels in the automatic movement and scratch resistant sapphire crystal. It is water resistant at 100 meters/330 feet.  This comes in at a price of $5995, just under our budget.  

It was amazing to me to find such a gem in yellow gold especially since the gold prices are still quite high.  You might think that the leather band is something that is a deal breaker, but if you put this timepiece on your wrist, you wouldn't take it off.  The comfort of the timepiece and luxury of wearing a Day Date on your wrist, will easily overwhelm any need for a metal band.  

For the next set of Rolex timepieces I want to hit the opposite end of the spectrum and go for the lowest price Rolexes that almost anyone can afford.  For this, we need to look no further than the Rolex Air King timepiece.

Rolex Air King doesn't get much love out in the marketplace.  However, it is clearly a beautiful timepiece.  Above I have two Air Kings for the $3400 price tag.  Although they are also pre-owned, the luxury and Rolex look and feel and natural luxury are clearly evident.  The blue Air King is a 2001 model  and has Silver-tone stainless steel case with a silver-tone stainless steel oyster bracelet.  The stunning blue dial with Arabic numeral and index hour markers is emphasized by the Engine turned silver-tone stainless steel bezel. It has minute markers around the outer rim. and luminescent hands and markers.  The Rolex Air King is powered by a calibre 3130 automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. It has a scratch resistant sapphire crystal and screw down crown. The case size is 34 mm.  It is also water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet.  The grey option is a bit more subtle in its approach, but is still a fantastic value.  

The Air King timepieces above are both available for under $3,000!!!  For this analysis, I will look at the one on the right, which seems to be in a bit better shape than the one on the left.  It is a 1983 model with a silver-tone stainless steel case with a silver-tone stainless steel oyster bracelet and a fixed smooth silver-tone stainless steel bezel. The silver-tone dial is offset with luminescent silver-tone hands and index hour markers. The one drawback is that it utilizes a scratch resistant acrylic crystal rather than sapphire crystal. The 34 mm case is water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet.  It comes in at only $2500, and is still a stellar Rolex timepiece for an absolute bargain.

The above Rolex Datejusts are two exceptional representatives of under 3k in the Rolesor style - mixing both yellow gold and steel.  There is nothing more Rolex than a Datejust.  The Oyster shaped case is unmistakable.  The champaign dial on the left is cerca 1971, whereas the one on the right is a 1982 model.  Even in this price range, you can select between an Oyster or Jubilee style bracelet, left to right, respectively.  
These Rolex Datejusts go up in price but are still under 6k.  The left one has diamond hour markers and is quite stunning at just under $5,000.  It is a fairly young 2000 model.  The right Datejust comes in at $5,500 and was manufactured in the last 8 years.  It is the newest of the ones we have displayed so far, but has a stellar look - entirely in stainless steel, with Roman numerals for hour markers.  

The last Rolex I would recommend looking at just under the $6,000 mark is the Rolex Explorer II.  Still baked in historical lore, the Rolex Explorer II is a fine addition to any collection or even as a first and only Rolex timepiece.  Both units above are manufactured around 1996 and are in fantastic working shape.  The luminescent hour markers are not unlike what you might see on a Submariner.  Yet, the Explorer II has a fantastic 24 hour bezel and 24 hour red hand that allows you to keep track of a 2nd time zone.  Easy readability and a date aperture.  This is a rugged and infinitely useful timepiece.  Choose between the classic white bezel or masculine black bezel, each with exceptional readability in both day and night time.  

What's new in the Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust 31mm?

The 31 mm version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust is a midsize case that is sometimes referred to as Unisex.  The DateJust lineup has also been available in 26 mm, 34 mm and 36 mm.  The 31 mm is significantly smaller and lighter than the "men's" DateJust, but it is still a Rolex and has a solid feel to it - lending to it's unisex appeal.

Rolex has launched six models at Baselworld 2019 - all in dual color or Rolesor.  There is the Datejust 31 mm in Oystersteel and yellow gold and the other is in Oystersteel and Everose gold.  There are two strap options - the Oyster Bracelet with the Oysterclasp with Easylink comfort extension links and the Jubilee bracelet with concealed folding Crownclasp.

There are significant differences in the bezel, use of diamonds, the hour markers and dial coloring throughout the 5 models. However the design of the case remains consistent.  The case is waterproof to 330 feet with its Twinlock double waterproofness system built into the screw-down winding crown.  All Rolex timepieces are covered by the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.  These DateJusts also feature Rolex's signature cyclops lens over the date aperture at the 3 o'clock position. 

The biggest feature difference that separates these new 31 mm's from older models is the new 2236 caliber movement with a 55 hour power reserve.  The Perpetual rotor self-winds bidirectionally.  It has a Syloxi hairspring in silicon and high performance Paraflex shock absorbers. The Syloxi hairspring provides stability and resistance to temperature variations - providing up to 10 times more precision than traditional hairspring in the case of shocks.  

The geometric design also ensures regular precision in any position.  It has all the basic features you would expect in a DateJust including the centre hour, minute and seconds hands.  It has an instantaneous date window with rapid date setting.   It also has a stop-seconds feature for precise time setting.  
The two models just above feature diamonds around the bezel and there is a diamond for each of the hour markers other than at the 3 o'clock position where the date window appears and the 12 o'clock position which features the Rolex crown.  All of the diamonds are surrounded by 18ct gold to prevent tarnishing on the dial.  

My preference for the first timepiece above, featuring a Rose colored dial, Rose gold and Oystersteel Oyster bracelet and fluted bezel is primarily because of its simple look.  I personally feel that the Jubilee bracelet pulls so much attention away from the timepiece, especially when the timepiece is adorned by diamonds throughout the dial and bezel.  Also the pink gold Roman numerals for the hour markers looks elegant against the Rose coloring of the dial. Of the diamond studded case designs I feel the 5th option above with the silver dial, Oyster bracelet and Rose gold and Oystersteel combination makes this a nearly perfect timepiece with no distractions other than the beautiful gemology used in the making of this timepiece.

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