Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
The 18k yellow gold Lady-Datejust with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds on its bezel and a white mother-of-pearl dial set with 10 diamonds. (Photo: Rolex)

It has taken a while, but women finally have a staggering amount of choices in timepieces that satisfy demands of both aesthetics and technical flair. But too much choice can be paralysing, which is why everyone needs a go-to, everyday watch — a watch like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust. Its design is classic, its movement mechanical, and it has been the accessory of choice for strong, enterprising women for over half a decade. 

The first Lady-Datejust launched in 1957. (Photo: Rolex)

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Inspired by the likes of actress Audrey Hepburn, French playwright Francoise Sagan, equestrian Pat Smythe and many more, Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf wanted to create a timepiece that honoured the modern, active woman. So in 1957, the Lady-Datejust was born. 

It was modelled after the men’s Datejust, which was released about a decade earlier for the brand’s 40th anniversary and famous for being the first automatic watch with a date display. A good 10mm smaller than its male counterpart, the 26mm Lady-Datejust was perfect for smaller wrists. 

Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
An Everose Rolesor Lady-Datejust with a bezel set with 46 brilliant-cut diamonds and a chocolate dial set with 10 diamonds. (Photo: Rolex)

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Downsizing men’s watches for women was (and still is) common practice, but what Rolex did differently was to ensure the Lady-Datejust could boast the same mechanical precision and reliability as everything else in its stable. This meant the watchmakers had to work with smaller components to achieve the same COSC chronometer certification. 

Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
Rolex’s green seal stands as a symbol of the brand’s Superlative Chronometer certification. (Photo: Rolex)

Needless to say, the watch was a hit. Numerous variations were released to suit the changing tastes of society’s feminine trailblazers. By 2015, the case size was increased to 28mm, and the COSC certification was replaced by Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer Certification, which puts watches through a battery of even more taxing tests to provide greater chronometry. Watches with this green seal, for instance, are accurate to -2/+2 seconds a day, compared to COSC’s -4/+6 seconds. 

Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
A white Rolesor Lady-Datejust with a fluted bezel and a dark grey dial with Roman numerals. (Photo: Rolex)

The current generation of Lady-Datejust watches also enjoy of Rolex more recent innovations. Using the automatic calibre 2236, it was one of the first Rolex collections to use silicon hairsprings, dubbed “Syloxi” hairsprings. The movement also uses the brand’s patented Paraflex shock absorbers to increase the resistance of its movements to shocks. With a power reserve of 55 hours and a water resistance of 100m, the Lady-Datejust is primed for convenience. 

Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
The Lady-Datejust is equipped with calibre 2236, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. (Photo: Rolex)

Options are still plentiful now, with various materials, dial colours, motifs and hour markers to choose from. Also offered are different bracelet configurations, and gem-set versions that go from simple sparkling bezels to all-out, fully-paved glittering glory. 

Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
Garbiñe Muguruza, a force in women’s tennis, has been a Rolex Testimonee since 2016. (Photo: Rolex)

The only thing that has remained constant are the types of women the watch was designed for. Pianist Yuja Wang, tennis champion Garbiñe Muguruza, biologist Emma Camp and sitarist Anoushka Shankar count among the Lady-Datejust’s fans today. If these are the women you can relate to, the type that value their style as much as their pursuit of excellence, then this is the watch for you.

British biologist and 2019 Associate Rolex Awards Laureate Emma Camp is committed to saving coral reefs. (Photo: Rolex)
Rolex Lady-Datejust: The Watch That Audacious Women Wear 
Young pianist Yuja Wang has been a Rolex Testimonee since 2009. (Photo: Rolex)