Rolex Day-Date President 118238 Ultimate Buying Guide

For today’s Bob’s Spotlight, we’re focusing our attention on the prestigious Rolex Day-Date President ref. 118238 with a diamond dial. Join us as we review Rolex's signature dress watch and discover why it’s the ultimate status symbol. The post Rolex Day-Date President 118238 Ultimate Buying Guide appeared first on Bob's Watches.

Rolex Day-Date President 118238 Ultimate Buying Guide

With its own nickname, bracelet, and celebrity status, the Rolex Day-Date – aka the Rolex President – is undoubtedly a true icon of the luxury watch industry. First released in 1956, the Day-Date changed the watch world forever by being the first timepiece to display both the date and the day of the week, spelled out in full, through windows in the dial.

Over the years, the classic 36mm Rolex Day-Date would be given some improvements, but one of the most memorable would come in the form of reference 118238 Rolex President, which arrived just after the turn of the new millennium. The overall aesthetic of the Day-Date has remained largely unchanged throughout the years, but the generation that accompanied the ref. 118238 might represent the single greatest aesthetic departure since Rolex phased out pie-pan dials and swapped acrylic crystal for synthetic sapphire in the 1970s. For many collectors, the Day-Date 118238 represents the point in the model’s history when it first started to adopt its modern present-day form. If you’ve been thinking about adding one of these iconic Rolex President watches to your collection, then read on to learn all about the Rolex reference 118238.

Rolex Day-Date 118238

Day-Date President 118238 Key Features:

– Reference Number: 118238

– Year of Introduction: 2000

– Case Size: 36mm

– Materials: 18k Yellow Gold

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display, Day Display

– Dial: Multiple Options Available

– Bezel: Fixed, 18k Yellow Gold, Fluted Style

– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat w/ Cyclops Lens)

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 3155

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet or President Bracelet

– Approx. Price (USD): $24,000 – $43,000 (Pre-Owned)

 Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Day-Date.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date 36 President 18k Gold

About The Rolex Day-Date 118238

The Rolex President ref. 118238 was the first yellow gold 6-digit Day-Date watch. Making its debut in 2000, it replaced the preceding Day-Date ref. 18238. The reference 118238 has since been discontinued to make way for the current yellow gold Day-Date 36 ref. 128238. While these references are similar in design, they bring a host of different amenities to the table, from the movement powering the watch to the slight nuances of the case and bracelet. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the Rolex Day-Date 118238 so special.

The reference 118238 wears noticeably larger than older Day-Date models due to broader lugs that feature an entirely high-polished finish. It is also heavier on the wrist because it features a President bracelet that features entirely solid links and is therefore built with more gold. Additionally, the ref. 118238 has an improved concealed folding clasp (known as the Crownclasp) for better security, comfort, and on-wrist aesthetics. When Rolex released the current ref. 128238, the broader proportions of the case seen in the ref. 118238 were refined, and the watch took on an overall more subtle profile on the wrist than its predecessor. If you appreciate a slightly more sporty and robust case, then the Day-Date 118238 should suit your wrist nicely.

Like the previous Day-Date 36, the Rolex ref. 118238 comes equipped with a Twinlock screw-down winding crown for increased water resistance, a screw-down caseback, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal above the dial, which all allow this version of the Rolex President to be water-resistant up to to 100 meters (330 feet). Also present on the 6-digit model is an engraved rehaut that reads, “ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX” (along with the watch’s unique serial number) as an additional anti-counterfeit measure. These features also carry over to the current generation ref. 128238 and is now a hallmark trait of modern Rolex watches.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date President Diamond Dial 36mm

Rolex Caliber 3155 Movement

While the Rolex Day-Date 36 ref. 118238 keeps the Caliber 3155 movement of earlier versions, those produced in 2015 and after boast Rolex’s new Superlative Chronometer accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day and a five-year guarantee. The in-house Rolex Cal. 3155 drives the center hour, minute, and seconds hands, as well as the instantaneous date and day windows. The Day-Date ref. 118238 also has the Double Quickset feature and hack-seconds function.

In the earlier Rolex Day-Date references, if you wanted to change the day and date on your watch, you had to rotate your center hands past midnight manually. Then in the late 1970s, Rolex manufactured its first quickset functionality for the Day-Date 18038. However, these Single Quickset movements only allowed the date to be changed autonomously from the hands but did not allow for independent adjustment of the day of the week.

Then, with the introduction of the ref. 18238, we got the Caliber 3135 movement and the Double Quickset, allowing the wearer to change both the day and date independently from the time. This means that instead of winding the hands around the dial until the day and date windows change, you can simply rotate the winding crown in a secondary setting position. To use this feature, twist the crown towards the 12-hour marker to adjust the date or towards the 6-hour marker to change the day. Simple, elegant, and efficient, the Day-Date’s Double Quickset function is still a fixture of the Rolex catalog today.

The hacking function (also referred to as stop seconds) allows users to stop the seconds hand when the crown is pulled out to set the time. This feature has many benefits, particularly if you wish to set your watch to a precise time down to the second, such as to synchronize it with the atomic clock or with another watch.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date Yellow Gold President 36mm

A Brief Rolex Day-Date History

When Rolex introduced the Day-Date, it was the first watch to include the day of the week written out in full on the dial, rather than just an abbreviation. It was certainly an innovation of its time and speaks to Rolex’s continued influence on the luxury market because other brands have since adopted the feature for their models as well. The Rolex Day-Date collection is characterized by the day and date displays on the dial and the semi-circular, three-link President Bracelet.

The very first iterations were the ref. 6510 and ref. 6511. However, Rolex quickly replaced them in 1959 with the more recognizable 18xx series, which remained in production until well into the 1970s. The 4-digit series is often distinguished by an acrylic crystal, 36mm case, President bracelet, and a handsome Pie Pan dial with sloped edges. In 1972, the hacking-seconds feature we mentioned above was introduced with the arrival of the cal. 1556 movement.

The 5-digit series debuted in the late 1970s via the 180xx collection, which introduced the Day-Date to the higher-beat Cal. 3055 movement. Of course, this movement also brought with it the Single Quickset function. The 182xx series followed shortly after that in 1988, complete with an even better movement in the form of the Cal. 3155, which featured the Double Quickset function. Despite its increased functionality, it keeps the same 36mm diameter and iconic President bracelet as its predecessors.

That brings us to the 2000s and the release of the star of this review, the reference 118238. Again, at this point in its history, the Day-Date is still 36mm in diameter, powered by the Caliber 3155 movement, and traditionally paired with the iconic President bracelet with curved links, although it is also offered on the classic Oyster bracelet.

From there, Rolex began to experiment with case sizes, releasing the Day-Date II with a 41mm case in 2008. However, this larger model was short-lived, ending production in 2015 to make way for the Day-Date 40 with a slightly more refined case that clocks in 1mm smaller with a 40mm case diameter. The Cal. 3255 made its grand debut alongside the Day-Date 40, replacing the long-running cal. 3155 and bringing with it a longer 70-hour power reserve. It wasn’t until 2019 that this new and improved movement integrated to the Day-Date 36 when the ref. 118238 was discontinued to make way for the current generation ref. 128238.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date President 18k Gold 36mm

The Appeal of the Rolex President

The day and date apertures are high on the list of the Day-Date’s most defining characteristics. However, many collectors argue that what makes this model so appealing to its large and diverse following is its opulent and iconic design. Utilizing only precious metals (in this case solid 18k yellow gold), the Rolex Day-Date ref. 118238 is on par with some of the world’s most lavish timepieces and will surely leave a lasting impression on all who gaze upon it.

With that in mind, despite its opulent solid-gold construction and universally recognized statement-piece reputation, the Rolex Day-Date President remains a watch that is durable enough to be worn all day, every day. Thanks to Rolex’s notoriously tough Oyster Case design, which includes a waterproof screw-down crown and a protective sapphire crystal over the dial, the ref. 118238 will hold its value well and last a lifetime in your watch box.

Today, the Rolex President is a favorite among professional athletes and celebrities, and the 36mm size of the Day-Date ref. 118238 makes it the perfect luxury watch for both men and women. We’ve spotted Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, and Rihanna all rocking a yellow gold 36mm Rolex President. Plus, Justin Theroux, Adam Levine, and Eddie Murphy are also fans of the elegant 36mm Rolex Day-Date President in 18k yellow gold.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date Presidential 36mm Yellow Gold

Why is the Day-Date Called the President’s Watch?

It isn’t unusual for many of Rolex’s most popular watches to have charming nicknames to match, and the Day-Date is no exception. When it hit the market in 1956, it was simply referred to by the brand as the “Oyster Perpetual Day-Date.” It was also accompanied by the very first instance of the President Bracelet, complete with semi-circular links. The nickname “President” actually referred to the bracelet before the entire watch took on the prestigious moniker, and although Rolex now formally recognized the “President” name for bracelet style, it remains an unofficial nickname for the watch itself.

Its sole use of precious metal and the exclusivity of the Day-Date eventually attracted numerous American Presidents, including 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was photographed with the iconic gold Rolex on his wrist on numerous occasions during his presidency. Ever the marketing geniuses, Rolex took advantage of Johnson’s love for the Day-Date, releasing marketing materials referring to the Day-Date for the first time as the “President’s Watch.”

From this point forward, the Rolex Day-Date’s fate as a powerful status symbol was sealed. The watch would eventually grace the wrists of many American Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan. It’s even rumored that John F. Kennedy was gifted one of these iconic watches by none other than Marilyn Monroe, although he was never seen wearing it. A universal symbol for success and influence, the Rolex Day-Date President has since become the watch of choice by some of the world’s most notable dignitaries, celebrities, and successful businessmen and women.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date 36mm President Yellow Gold

Rolex 118238 Price

Forged entirely out of solid 18k yellow gold that is produced by Rolex’s own in-house foundry, this watch will hold its value very well. Its style is universally recognized as one of the most exclusive watches on this planet and its classic yet statement-worthy aesthetic is entirely timeless. However, it’s the legacy and heritage of the Rolex Day-Date that will make it an invaluable addition to any luxury watch collection. That’s why if you’re shopping for a Rolex President or just a luxury dress watch, the ref. 118238 is a great model to consider.

The Rolex Day-Date price will vary, depending on the feature set, dial style, and overall condition. Options glittering with diamonds will command a higher price than those without gems. Additionally, the condition of the watch itself and accompanying box and paperwork will also impact the price. Examples without diamonds average around $24k used, while those including gems on the bezel or dial cost anywhere between $25k and $30k on average.

Since its inception in 1956, no watch has come close to making a grand statement like the Rolex President. And the Day-Date 36 ref. 118238 is a contemporary approach to the quintessential classic luxury dress watch.

Rolex 118238 Day-Date 36 President Solid Gold

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Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial Review and Buying Guide

The Rolex Milgauss has been the model for the watch collector who doesn’t really consider themself a “Rolex person.” Its design has always been a touch more outlandish than its counterparts, and its party piece – an internal antimagnetic shield – is not a feature that you can interact with or observe like you can […] The post Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial Review and Buying Guide appeared first on Bob's Watches.

Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial Review and Buying Guide

The Rolex Milgauss has been the model for the watch collector who doesn’t really consider themself a “Rolex person.” Its design has always been a touch more outlandish than its counterparts, and its party piece – an internal antimagnetic shield – is not a feature that you can interact with or observe like you can with a dive bezel or chronograph complication. Although it has largely been overlooked throughout most of its history, the Rolex Milgauss is a truly unique watch among the various models that make up the brand’s current catalog. Among Rolex’s offerings, it’s one of very few models that you can easily pick out in a crowd and identify, without doubt, and from a reasonable distance – especially when we’re talking about the Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue.

After a long time out of the Rolex catalog, the Milgauss was re-introduced to the collection in 2007, followed by this especially funky Z-Blue dial variant in 2014. The latter is what we’re going to be focusing on today, as it is hands-down one of the most interesting and peculiar Rolex models currently available, and also the model that really took the Milgauss from being an underrated classic to one of the many models that you simply cannot buy at a retail level without spending some time on a rather lengthy waiting list. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the history of this unique antimagnetic Rolex watch that was designed for scientists rather than sportsmen, and then examine all of the key features that make the Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue a standout in the brand’s current catalog. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look!

Rolex Milgauss Reference 116400GV – Z-Blue Dial

Milgauss Z-Blue 116400GV Key Features:

– Reference Number: 116400GV

– Production Years: 2014 – Present

– Case Size: 40mm

– Materials: Oystersteel (940L Stainless Steel)

– Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Antimagnetic Shield

– Dial: Z-Blue w/ Luminous Hour Markers

– Luminescence: Chromalight

– Bezel: Fixed, Stainless Steel, Smooth Style

– Crystal: Green Sapphire (Flat)

– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 300 Feet

– Movement: Rolex Caliber 3131

– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet

– Approx. Price (USD): $8,300 (Retail); $12,000 – $14,000 (Pre-Owned)

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Milgauss.

Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Z-Blue

The History of the Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue

First introduced in 1956, the Milgauss was a revolutionary timepiece developed specifically for the scientific community. With the rise of industry during the 1950s and the increased presence of electricity, there were a whole new set of challenges for watchmakers in terms of dealing with magnetism. Many scientists and individuals working in power plants or laboratories were exposed to strong electromagnetic fields on a daily basis, which would significantly disrupt the timekeeping of their traditional mechanical watches.

To help this community of professionals with this new issue, Rolex created the Milgauss – a self-winding chronometer that was resistant to magnetic fields in excess of 1,000 gauss. As an important point of reference, most “magnetic resistant” watches of the time could only withstand magnetic fields up to 200 gauss. So, the Milguass was a major leap forward in terms of anti-magnetic watchmaking technology. And if you’re wondering where the name Milgauss comes from, it’s actually a portmanteau of the words “mille” meaning a thousand in French, and “gauss” which is the standard unit of measurement used for magnetic fields.

However, the Milgauss was discontinued in 1988 and when it was re-introduced at Baselworld 2017, it was an entirely different and thoroughly modern watch. This meant upgrading the model from the inside out – like replacing the acrylic crystal with a synthetic sapphire crystal for the new ref. 116400. Rolex even offered a green-tinted sapphire crystal on one of the new Milgauss watches – the ref. 116400GV. Additionally, the lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand returned to the collection, this time in bright orange to match the various dial accents on the new Rolex Milgauss watches.

Then in 2014, Rolex added a new blue dial to the Milgauss collection – aka the Z-Blue. Not only did this entirely upend the look of the watch, giving it an unusual and colorful appeal with that electric blue contrasting against its bright orange accents and green sapphire crystal, but it also helped further distinguish this antimagnetic watch line from the rest of the Rolex collection. With the Z-Blue dial, there was surely no way to overlook the Milgauss ever again, and it was really the model that started the Milgauss on its current trajectory of being entirely unavailable at a retail level and trading hands for values significantly above its brand-new price on the pre-owned market.

Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial 116400GV Stainless Steel

Appearance: Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue

The single feature that defines the Z-Blue version of the reference 116400GV Milgauss is its stunning Z-Blue dial, which is a unique shade of blue that is entirely unique to the Milgauss collection and that you won’t find on any other Rolex watches. Rather than being a traditional blue, the Z-Blue is a kind of metallic electric blue with a sunburst finish that reflects the greenish tones created by the green-tinted sapphire crystal above it. Accented with bright orange highlights that complement its orange lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand, the Z-blue dial makes for one of the most colorful and striking Rolex watches ever created.

If you like a watch with a little personality, the Z-Blue Milgauss has a lot to offer. The crisp and cool electric blue of its dial was chosen thoughtfully, with the intent of letting its orange minute track, seconds hand, and dial text stand out brightly without seeming out of place. Blue and orange is a challenging combo that can go wrong in a hurry, but it works extremely well here.

Another thoughtful shift from the black dial variant of the ref. 116400GV is the fact that Rolex opted to use a single color of Chromalight luminous material for this dial. All of its indices, as well as its hour and minute hands use white-colored, blue-glowing Chromalight rather than a mix of colors as seen on the black dial. There’s plenty going on with this watch as it is, so the multicolor lume would have definitely been a bit overkill, and the all-blue glow that it emits in the dark reminds you of the stunning electric blue that awaits you when the light returns.

Two requisite details that remain intact with the Milgauss are its “lightning bolt” seconds hand, and the green-tinted sapphire crystal – two traits that are only found on the Milgauss collection. Though both details are purely aesthetic, they’re charming in their own unconventional way and truly set the modern Milgauss collection apart from the rest of the generally more conservative models that make up Rolex’s portfolio. The green-tinted sapphire crystal is a fun and odd choice that unfortunately will cost you an arm and a leg to replace if you somehow manage to chip or break it, but provided that you aren’t too abusive with your watches, sapphire is extremely resilient and the Milgauss is the only Rolex model that features a colored sapphire crystal.

Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue 116400GV

Functionality Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue

Naturally, the roots of the Rolex Milgauss remain in its anti-magnetic capabilities. Though still listed as resistant to at least 1,000 gauss, there’s much speculation that the actual spec is significantly higher. After all, Omega claims a 15,000 gauss resistance on many of its contemporary models, and Rolex isn’t one to be outdone with much of anything. Certain parties have tested the modern Rolex Milgauss’s antimagnetic capabilities with forces that are multiple times stronger than 1,000 gauss, and the watch emerged entirely unaffected.

The Rolex Milgauss is currently fitted with its own movement that differs from the Submariner, Explorer, and most of the brand’s other time-only models. Residing inside its internal anti-magnetic shield is the Caliber 3131 with a 48h power reserve, Parachrom hairspring, nickel-phosphorus lever/escape wheel, and Superlative Chronometer timekeeping standard of +2/-2 seconds per day accuracy. Fun fact, this movement also appears in the current 40mm Rolex Air-King, complete with the same antimagnetic components and shielding.

The Milgauss is fitted with a conventional 904L steel Oyster bracelet that has an Easylink 5mm comfort extension system in its clasp. While its 40mm case is high-polished throughout, the bracelet features brushed surfaces with glossy polished center links, and this polishing pattern extends to the clasp.

Although its case thickness is still incredibly manageable, the Rolex Milgauss is a bit on the portly side when compared to other models like an Oyster Perpetual or Datejust. This is in large part due to the antimagnetic cage that separates the case and movement, which helps bolster the piece’s antimagnetic properties by redistributing magnetic fields through its structure and protecting the movement within (similar to how a Faraday cage works). A Twinlock screw-down crown assures water resistance of 100 meters (330 feet) and grants access to both hand-winding and time-setting once unscrewed from the side of the case.

Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial 116400GV Internal Antimagnetic Shield

On The Wrist: Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue

All told, the Milgauss is another one of those great Rolex models that you can just wear day-in and day-out. Though its case is by no means ultra-thin, it is sleek enough to tuck under a shirt cuff yet offers a bit more wrist presence than your standard Rolex watch. It’s also fun and funky enough to throw on with jeans and a t-shirt, or other attire to wear during anything from a night out at the bar, to a day of tackling some home maintenance projects.

Although the Rolex Milgauss is a tool watch rather than a sports watch (after all, it was not designed for a specific sport or athletic activity), it is more than durable to be worn during most of life’s activities. All of Rolex’s Oyster Case watches offer their users at least 100 meters (330 feet) of water resistance, and the Milgauss 116400GV is no different. While it was built for a life spent in laboratories and hospitals, the Rolex Milgauss is just as tough as any modern Rolex, and its screw-down crown and caseback mean that it is more than water-resistant enough to accompany you on a rainy day hike or in the pool for a swim.

Like most 40mm watches built entirely from solid stainless steel, the Z-Blue Milgauss 116400GV can be a bit on the hefty side if you leave it on its bracelet; however the Milgauss uses standard lugs, so there are countless third-party straps out there if you really need to “lighten the load.” Also, be warned that the combination of its blue dial and green crystal will ensure that this watch gets noticed wherever you go – similar to wearing any gold or two-tone Rolex, don’t expect this watch to fly under the radar, despite its all-stainless steel construction and lesser-known positioning within Rolex’s catalog. All told, the Z-Blue dial makes it a statement piece, which isn’t a bad thing at all depending on your mood or preference.

Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial 116400GV

Buying The Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue 116400GV

For its average asking price just north of $8k at retail and closer to $13k on the pre-owned market, there are a number of solid options out there, including some of Rolex’s most iconic models such as the Datejust and Explorer. Even opting for the black dial version of the reference 116400GV can save you as much as a couple of thousand dollars when shopping on the secondary market, and that number increases to around a $3k savings (or more) if you opt for a standard ref. 116400 Milgauss without the green sapphire crystal of its ‘GV’ counterparts.

However, if you fall into the category that finds a conventional Submariner, Datejust, or Explorer just a little too boring – or if you already have some of these models in your collection, then the Z-Blue Milgauss is a compelling alternative. You won’t see nearly as many out in the wild, which will be an added bonus for many, and as antimagnetic watches are slowly becoming the industry standard, the Rolex Milgauss’s days in its current form are numbered, assuming that Rolex intends to continue to stay ahead of the pack.

Built for scientists and laboratory technicians, the Rolex Milgauss is a tool watch rather than a sports watch. However, despite its tool-oriented origins, it is now one of the most playful and unusual Rolex watches currently in production, and the Z-Blue dial variant is easily the single most colorful Milgauss watch that has been produced thus far.

Rolex Milgauss 116400 Z-Blue vs White Dial

The post Rolex Milgauss Z-Blue Dial Review and Buying Guide appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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