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Rolex Oysterquartz Day-Date Ref. 19018N - 'Burlwood' Dial


When the Day-Date was released in 1956, Rolex had made numerous attempts to capture the market with more complicated timepieces such as the Ref. 6036, the Ref. 8171, and the Ref. 6062, but it seemed like buyers were not particularly fond of complicated Rolexes. All of that changed when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was spotted wearing one Rolex in particular: a Day-Date. The model has since become known worldwide as ‘The President’ and as a symbol of success and prestige. Simply put, this one stuck.

The 1970s were an interesting time for the watch industry. The Great Quartz Crisis from Japan offered the world better quality watches, that were more accurate, more reliable, and generally much more affordable. A kiss of death for mechanical watchmaking at the time. Even the very best of Switzerland will still lose accuracy over time — an issue that a quartz watch virtually solved (though not perfect). Great, beloved Swiss brands like Universal Genève, Gallet, Zodiac, and Blancpain would disappear — some of which were acquired by holding companies, other brands, etc. and eventually resurface, but

hundreds of smaller brands were completely wiped away. Rolex responded by producing their own version of the quartz watch called it the Oysterquartz, which introduced a more style-forward and angular design that was becoming popular in the 1970s, and of course, a quartz movement inside. On top of this new model line name, these pieces utilized existing cornerstone model names to denote specific models with the Oysterquartz range, such as the Datejust and Day-Date.

By the middle of the 1980s, the Swiss watch industry was able to pivot and re-establish itself as a luxury product worthy of higher prices that could justify the cost and complexity of designing and manufacturing a mechanical watch. So the Oysterquartz is massively important in the history of Rolex, representing the only time in its nearly 120-years of business that it was ever under siege in a truly threatening way. These did not stay in the Rolex lineup for long and therefore surprisingly hard to come by.

The piece that we have here is a Day-Date variant dating to circa 1988, and as with all other pieces in Rolex's flagship line, it is constructed out of solid gold. In this case, yellow gold with a very of-its-time, lacquered 'burlwood' dial within — further adding to this pieces scarcity. The case and integrated bracelet are in excellent overall condition, having seen a light previous polishing and showing only light signs of wear throughout and only one small impression on the upper left lug. The 'fluted' yellow gold bezel retains crisp finishing and also shows only light signs of wear. Inside, the non-luminous lacquered burlwood dial with its printed minute markers, applied hour markers, and framed day & date apertures remains in outstanding, seemingly-flawless condition and is complimented by a matching non-luminous handset.

The flat-link bracelet wears beautifully and features a signed 'hidden' deployant clasp.

This then, is a strange yet important piece from the pages of Rolex's history, and is a must if you are looking to add a Day-Date to a collection of many, or simply snag a lesser-known piece thats a bit out of the ordinary.

Yellow Gold 1988 Automatic 36mm

"As collectors themselves, Oliver and Clarke are on a mission to make buying vintage watches as painless as possible."

"The company focuses on good prices for its pieces, elite customer service and full transparency."

"The appointment-only space is inviting, with comfortable seating areas and exposed brick walls."

From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke

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