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Oyster Perpetual Datejust

Oyster Perpetual Datejust
Kseniya Burns

THE WORKS

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust was the first wristwatch to feature a chronometer movement and an automatic calendar in the aperture. Released in 1945, Datejust reference 1600 are among some of the most revered and thought after Rolex timepieces that were associated with some of the most iconic moments in our history. This timepiece has a case diameter of 36 mm, initially released with two bracelet options: Jubilee and the Oyster, and the "Cyclopes-eye" (a window that magnifies the date by 2.5 times). This design had remained the same until 2005 when Rolex made a series of improvements to the watch.

Despite the initial pushback from the Rolex enthusiasts, the new Datejust boasts about the same amount of popularity as the initially released version.

ROLEX BREAKS MACH 1

In 1955 Rolex released the Turn-o-Graph model Datejust nicknamed "Thunderbird". This model  was given to distinguished US Air Force pilots as a token of appreciation for their service in combat. Turn-o-Graph featured a rotating bezel marked to 60 minutes, something that reference 1600 did not have. Some have suggested that Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier, received his Datejust as a token of appreciation from US Air Force, but as our research has indicated, Chuck Yeager wore his Rolex Datejust during his record flight in 1947, predating Turn-o-Graph by nearly a decade.

THE FASTEST MAN IN THE WORLD AND HIS ROLEX

Charles "Chuck" Yeager, is one of America's heroes who changed our military history while wearing a Rolex watch.  His career began during World War II as an aircraft mechanic in United States Air Force. Private Yeager entered enlisted pilot training program in September 1942 and became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot upon graduation. His career in flight did not stop after the war. Chuck Yeager became a test pilot shortly after the fall of Germany and piloted a number of  experimental aircraft, including the famous Bell X-1 at Mach 1. Although, Yeager was not the first pilot to break Mach 2, that honor is attributed to Scott Crossfield, he also set a record of Mach 2.44.

It is said that the day before Chuck Yeager broke the Sound Barrier, he had a horseback riding accident that left him with two broken ribs. Fearing that he will not be able to fly due to his injury, Yeager went to a veterinarian for treatment. No one was told about this incident except for Yeager's wife and his friend, Jack Ridley. On the day of the flight, Chuck Yeager had a hard time sealing the hatch of his X-1 due to his injury. According to some, Jack Ridley made a lever out of a broom handle to assist his friend in closing the hatch and subsequently setting a world record.

Later in his life Yeager was recognized by being promoted to the rank of Brigadier General for his extraordinary achievements and contributions during Vietnam War and Cold War, and his various military achievements.

MLK WORE A ROLEX

It might be just a coincidence, but many men and women who wore a Rolex on their wrist have propelled themselves to political and historical greatness, however none stands out more than a man who gave our generation an opportunity to live in equality and almost single handedly defined what it truly means to stand united and free. That person is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wore his yellow gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust with pride. There are many photos and videos of Dr. King speaking for those who previously had no voice with a Rolex on his wrist and a Dream in his heart.

Despite the importance of  Dr. King's Rolex in the Rolex history, there is only one other  Datejust that surpasses it. In 1950 Rolex has produced their 150 000th watch, an important milestone for the company, and dedicated it to President Eisenhower.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLEX IN HISTORY

President Dwight David Eisenhower (Ike) was a NATO Supreme Commander, 5 star General, and the person behind D-Day invasion or Operation Overlord, and of course, one of the most successful presidents of the United States of America who also wore a Rolex. Just like we should never forget what Martin Luther King Jr. did for the Civil Rights, unity and freedom in this country,  we have to remember what President Eisenhower done for the world and our great nation. Among his lasting innovations are  programs such as the Interstate Highway System (or simply "the highway", "freeway", or in the case of GA-400 "the Georgia Autobahn"), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency also known as DARPA (an agency responsible for the development of new military technologies which in turn led to the development of the internet), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, the development of the National Defense Education Act (that concentrated on the improvement of science education among other things), and among most important programs that he supported was, of course, the Civil Rights. He sent troop to Little Rock Arkansas to enforce public school desegregation, signed  multiple civil right legislations protecting the right to vote, and was considered to be one of the most successful presidents in the United States history.

President Eisenhower was a military man who enjoyed simplicity and value hard, honest work. That is why the 1948 Rolex Datejust was such a great fit for this incredible president. As compared to some other Rolex time pieces, Ike's Datejust is beautiful in it's no nonsense simplicity. It is a serious watch, for a serious man, with only the things that a serious man would need. Presidents Eisenhower's Rolex was an 18k yellow gold, with fluted yellow gold Bezel, silver brushed "sunburst" dial, index hour markers, and dauphin hands. The initials DDE grace the fold-over clasp as well as the verso of the watch. The back of the watch also has a rendering of five stars a date "12-19-1950". The stars indicate his status as a 5 star General (a very rare honor) and the date stands for the day Eisenhower was appointed as the Supreme Commander of NATO.  Both the stars and the inscription were done by a Swiss Rolex after the consultation with the president. This Datejust has a red-number date wheel and the Officially Certified Chronometer designation. What's amazing about Ike's Rolex, however, is its timeless design. The watch was created in 1948 and in many ways is similar to a Datejust one could purchase today.

ROLEX AS AN INSPIRATION

After decades of being synonymous with power, conquest, exploration, and history Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust is still one of the most popular watches today. Maybe it is the notion of solidarity with the great men and women who wore a Datejust that drives Rolex enthusiasts to choose this exquisite model, or maybe it is the idea and the image that the watch portrays. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust is a conservative, one can even say "simple", watch. However, do not confuse "simple" with "muted". This timepiece will say more about your character as a man than the incredibly expensive car you drive, the corner office, the huge house, and a private jet ever could. Rolex Datejust is as much of a no nonsense, go out and get it done kind of watch as the people who wear it. Regardless of whether you are wearing a pilots jumpsuit at 45 000ft, a modest suite while locking your hands with your comrades in protest, or an expansive suite in an oval office, this watch will never disappoint.

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