Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold
The quintessential Rolex watch, that has not yet achieved the success it deserves
The Naming of a Rolex timepiece
Is there a reason why some of Rolex’s new collections added a digit at the end of their model name that designates the diameter of the timepiece? There could be different answers to this question and this rule is, however, not always applied: take for example the Rolex Air-King 116900 and the Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO or a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom and a Rolex Sky-Dweller Steel and Gold. The Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm 116621 Two Tone Everose Steel Chocolate Dial is instead on par with the Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold. The first one is that the manufacturer probably wants to tell those customers who have purchased Rolex timepieces their whole life long that the (biggest) case of this version has preserved the same size as that of the watch known until today as the Datejust II. The second answer is that the brand tried perhaps to reach a new audience by clearly remarking that, among other things, this Datejust features a 41mm case, a direct manner to bind together the model, the collection and the size alike. Same for the Yacht-Master that features different case sizes.
Rolex leads when it comes to Communication
Whatever the reason, Rolex’s devotion to the way it communicates about its new products is quite maniacal and much more on the spot than that of its competitors; behind a name hides many clues, like, for instance, an important re-engineering process that might look a light one but that actually aims at an overall improvement of the entire collection like it happened for the Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold. A quick analysis and a few pictures might suggest that a few changes actually took place on the contents’ side but many other things have actually changed; some novelties are left to the experience and the trained eye of those who have known Rolex forever while some other changes would definitely need to be pointed out. From the point of view of the product, the manufacturer from Geneva seems to stick to Kaizen’s principles, the objective being the constant revisiting of successful products but without the need to reinvent it completely but simply paving the way for a new cycle of successes.
When it comes to details, it is often easy to make mistakes
Moreover, Rolex’s duty is much harder than other luxury brands’ since touching an icon could incur quite a few risks, such a difficult decision needs to be pondered and once it has been taken there is no going back. When it comes to watch-making, the simple minimal enlargement of a size, the incorrect proportioning of an element – we are talking about millimeters here – might alter the overall balance of a timepiece and, in Rolex’s case, this might lead to the brand’s purists to immediately criticize the item. The manufacturer’s mission and, for some aspects, its business model too is not that different from Porsche’s, whose main goal is to maintain the 991 always recognizable while still modernizing it and introducing new innovative contents that won’t betray the car’s original spirit. Going back to the Datejust and the existing collection, I have always considered the Datejust II a very nice-looking timepiece but it seems like it hasn’t touched everybody’s soft spot. The feeling is that, starting from the Oyster Perpetual 39, Rolex has decided to opt for an overall cleaning process and a renewed understatement by leaving the outsider throne to other collections (like the Air-King) and the role of markedly sporty timepieces to the Submariner and the Yacht-Master.
The Datejust 41 with Jubilee bracelet
The return of the Jubilee bracelet on the Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold confirms a small rethinking, despite the fact that the version with the Oyster bracelet still exists. The true novelty is the revisiting of the case-style and the dial after the slightly sporty phase of the Datejust II. The dial is now ampler since the baton-style indexes are markedly thinner compared to those of a Datejust II and they have been applied on a champaign dial. Rolex thus brought back to life the Datejust’s classic side but without exaggerating with classic touches, you will therefore find a modern looking Oysterclasp with an Easylink extension system that allows the user to add in 5mm to the existing bracelet and thus make it fit for their wrist. The fastening system is either made of stainless steel and yellow gold – like the version that you can see in these pictures – or made of stainless steel and Everose. On both versions appear mixtures of metals or alloys that have been both crafted and patented by Rolex. The type of stainless steel that has been used is the 904L type, one of Rolex’s unique characteristics, while the yellow gold and the pink (Everose) gold are crafted in Rolex’s metallurgic labs, one of the reasons why Rolex can be considered as a true integrated manufacturer.
Jubilee bracelet and caliber 3235
The Jubilee bracelet has been carefully designed and it seamlessly attaches to the bezel creating a continuity solution. The 3235 caliber needs to be dealt with separately; it has evolved quite a lot if compared to the 3136, the architecture has been greatly improved, performance and reliability have been increased on the long run and the finishing has been bettered too. The caliber belongs to the same family grouped under the 3255 reference – no date -.
The Chronergy escapement
The anti-magnetic Parachrom balance spring is coupled with the Chronergy escapement, one the fourteen patents that exist within this movement and possibly the most important one of them all. The system is an evolved version of the classic Swiss lever-escapement device and it guarantees, as per Rolex, a better performance by 15% thus contributing to half of the increase of the preset power reserve. The other half of the increase is due to the presence of a barrel that hosts a longer spring inside and the power reserve has now gone up to last about three days in total.
The anchor’s blade profile's thickness of the Chronergy has been halved while the contact surface has been doubled, while the escapement wheel has been thoroughly redesigned and lightened to reduce its inertia. The gear train has been redesigned too and new lubricants have been developed in Rolex’s labs, thus leading to an improved efficiency. The final result is a caliber that is certified as a Superlative Chronometer and that goes well beyond the requirements of the COSC - requirements that we can now consider as obsolete -, Rolex has carried out its internal testing procedure to also guarantee it is very precise and reliable in the long term.
About the reliability of a Rolex watch
When it comes to reliability, it is a matter of fact the Datejust has survived the hardest and unexpected adventures, as Australian woman Margareth Higgerson romantically wrote in a letter that she sent to Rolex on 8th May 1989. To find out more, however, about the features of the 3255, I would suggest you downloading and reading a detailed PDF prepared by Rolex that you can find on this link.
The retail price has remained unchanged in the last two years
The Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold is available in various versions, the retail price of the stainless steel and yellow gold version, reference 126333, that you can see in these pictures starts at 11,850 euro. Without a doubt, this is a Rolex timepiece from A to Z and if the manufacturer’s objective was to bring back the Datejust to the spot where it belongs, we can say that it definitely nailed it. The two versions with a fluted bezel and the Jubilee bracelet are so authentic and so Rolex-like that they steal the limelight from the versions that feature a smooth bezel.
That’s just my two pennies’ worth; don’t stop at appearances but delve into the characteristics of this timepiece, the improvements are quite remarkable while the style has been maintained intact. Some of these novelties can only be appreciated the more you use your timepiece, like, for instance, the istantaneous date change at midnight. Whether you are a big fan of Rolex or not, these are the true details that make a difference! However, I still think that the Rolex Datejust 41 126333 Oystersteel and Yellow Gold has not yet received the success it deserves and is, moreover, one of the very few Rolex watches you can buy at less than its suggested retail proce.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Rolex; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®