Rolex Quietly Debuted a New Day-Date at the Oscars


Within the Rolex Greenroom—the exclusive backstage hangout area for Academy Award nominees and winners—is a vitrine.

It’s vaguely hidden at the back of the long, hall-like space, built into the rear wall. Inside is the sole Rolex watch in the Rolex-themed lounge—though there are a handful of Crown-made clocks, including an awesome table clock with a sweep seconds hand that I’m positive many a celebrity has considered swiping. (This is part of the reason Rolex keeps security in the room during the ceremony.)

But back to the watch in the vitrine. There was no big hullabaloo about it preceding the ceremony—it didn’t officially exist anywhere until the Oscars. Even then, it only featured in a press release about the Greenroom, and then showed up briefly at the end of the brand’s famous TV spot—the annual mashup of iconic actors sporting Rolex watches in films throughout the years—and that’s it.

However, the watch is sort of a big deal. To be fair, it’s not a new GMT-Master II colorway—the sort of thing that has the capacity to shut down the internet for a day and melt the cerebrums of collectors everywhere. But as Rolex doesn’t exactly flood the market each year with new models and special editions, it was notable for simply being new: A Day-Date 40 in 18-karat Everose gold—the Crown’s proprietary version of the rose-colored precious metal—featuring a slate ombré dial that fades from dark to light, outwardly from the center. With applied Roman numerals, no railroad minute track, and no diamond indices, this is a notable configuration for the famed timepiece, which thus far carries no official price or reference number.

The Day-Date—more often called the “President” by the public, though this technically refers specifically to the watch’s famously comfortable bracelet—has always been an exclusive offering aimed at politicians, celebrities, and the well-to-do. Launched in 1956 and only ever produced in precious metals, its unique configuration is part of its appeal: A window appearing in an arc across the top of the dial displays the date in full, while a more traditional date window is located at 3 o’clock. Available in 26 languages, it’s been a staple of the Rolex catalog for nearly 70 years—though these days, it’s the Professional models (Submariner, Cosmograph Daytona, etc.) that seem to get all the love from the collecting community.

To be fair, this isn’t the first Day-Date to drop this year ahead of Watches & Wonders, the big trade show that takes place each spring in Geneva: Back in January, the Crown took out an ad in the New York Times about a special new version launched in celebration of the Vienna Philharmonic’s 15th anniversary. This model, a Day-Date 36—the same diameter as the original reference 6510 and 6511 references launched in the late ‘50s—features a striking green champlavé enamel dial in the shape of a violin. Constructed with three different shades of green and housed in an 18-karat yellow gold case, it was worn by members of the Philharmonic during its famed New Year’s concert in Vienna.

Rolex, which has been a sponsor of this concert since 2009, has a long and storied history of supporting the arts: Its Mentor and Protegé Arts Initiative Project offers guidance and funding to young artists around the world, and it’s also a partner of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Martin Scorcese and James Cameron are Rolex testimonees, and its watches have been featured in award-winning films for decades. (Bezel-less GMT-Master or “James Bond” Submariner, anyone?)

Of course, we can’t know what other goodies the Crown has up its sleeve for Watches & Wonders, and there’s no official commentary forthcoming concerning the new Day-Date 40 with ombré dial. But if the first quarter’s releases are anything to go by, it’s gonna be a hell of a year for Rolex.



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