What’s The Best Rolex Datejust: Datejust 36, Datejust II, or Datejust 41?

What's the Best Rolex Datejust Size?

What’s the Best Rolex Datejust Size?

There are very few luxury watches out there as historic, recognizable, and coveted as the Rolex Datejust. The brand’s flagship dress watch, the Datejust has been around since 1945 when it made its debut as the first automatic chronometer to display a date window. Since then, Rolex has continuously evolved the watch with improvements in design and mechanics, will still maintaining the Datejust’s signature unmistakable look.

The men’s Datejust watch was only offered in one size–36mm–for decades. In fact, it took 64 years after the Datejust’s introduction for Rolex to offer another size of the men’s Datejust. In 2009, Rolex unveiled the much larger Datejust II. Then in a surprising move, in 2016 Rolex replaced the Datejust II with the Datejust 41 in an identical size. So today we ask ourselves, what’s the best Rolex Datejust? Is it the Datejust 36, the Datejust II, or the Datejust 41? Let’s find out what each of these men’s Rolex Datejust models offers.

The Rolex Datejust 36

As we mentioned, the Rolex Datejust 36 is the most traditional men’s Datejust watch. As its name implies, the Datejust 36 includes a 36mm Oyster case. This is a great size for a range of wrists. Large enough to make an impact yet restrained enough to be appropriate for any occasion, the Datejust 36 is still the most popular size in the men’s Datejust range.

Two Tone Rolex Datejust 36 116233

Two Tone Rolex Datejust 36 116233

A big draw of the Datejust 36 collection is the vast choice available in the secondary market. Since this is a watch that’s been around for more than seven decades (!) there are plenty of models to choose from. Whether you prefer a vintage Datejust, a birthyear Datejust, or a contemporary Datejust, there are some great pre-owned ones on offer. Plus, the Datejust 36 has the largest selection of metal options, bezel styles, and dial designs. Looking for a stainless steel Datejust 36 with a domed bezel? No problem. What about a two-tone gold and steel Datejust 36 with a fluted bezel? What about a Datejust 36 with a rotating bezel? Yes, Rolex made Turn-O-Graph Datejust models too.

Furthermore, the Datejust 36 is available on sportier Oyster bracelets or dressier Jubilee bracelets. And in the secondary market, it’s common to find men’s Datejust models on leather straps too.

Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph 116264

Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph 116264

At Baselworld 2018, Rolex introduced the newest generation of the Datejust 36 with a redesigned case sporting reshaped lugs and a new movement. Not that we ever doubted the relevance of the Datejust 36, but these new models signals just how committed Rolex is to the evolution of the men’s 36mm Datejust watch.

If you’re a fan of the classics and want an everyday Rolex watch that is not too big or not too small, the Datejust 36 fits just right. Boasting great proportions and easy to wear, this a timepiece that has stood the test of time.


The Rolex Datejust II

Over the years, men’s watches have increased dramatically in size. There are some massive men’s luxury watches out there that certainly adhere to the mantra, go big or go home. While Rolex does offer larger sports models such as the 44mm Deepsea, 43mm Sea-Dweller, and the 42mm Explorer II, for their dressier Datejust II, Rolex stuck to a more wearable 41mm.

Two tone Datejust II 116333

Two tone Datejust II 116333

When Rolex presented the Datejust II at Baselworld 2009, the larger men’s Datejust was met with great enthusiasm. The Datejust II’s 41mm Oyster case, broad lugs, and wider Oyster bracelet meant that men who wanted to wear a larger Rolex dress watch now had a go-to model. The watch’s bigger dimensions and bulkier build brought about a masculine, modern, and sporty approach to the classic Datejust. Over the years, Rolex offered different versions of the Datejust II such as the full steel Datejust II, the steel Datejust II with an 18k white gold fluted bezel, and a two-tone steel and yellow gold Datejust II. However, the Datejust II was only ever offered on an Oyster bracelet and not a Jubilee bracelet.


The Rolex Datejust 41

In 2016, Rolex shelved the Datejust II and replaced it with the Datejust 41. While on paper the Datejust 41 retains the same 41mm case diameter, the case does have a different look to it. The Datejust 41 is slimmer, has leaner lugs, and a thinner bezel than the Datejust II. As a result, the Datejust 41 is somewhat more refined and the Datejust II is more sporty.

In terms of choice, the Datejust 41 is available in a slew of materials. There’s of course the steel Datejust 41, the two-tone yellow gold and steel Datejust 41, as well as the two-tone Everose gold and steel Datejust 41. Rolex also offers the Datejust 41 with an Oyster bracelet or a Jubilee bracelet.

Two tone Datejust 41 126333

Two tone Datejust 41 126333


The biggest change to the Datejust 41 over the Datejust II is the automatic movement powering the watch. Rolex equips the Datejust 41 with the new generation Cal. 3235 with an increased power reserve of 70 hours compared to the 48-hour power reserve of the preceding Datejust II.

As the larger Datejust for men, we’re sure that the Datejust 41 will continue to be a part of Rolex’s catalog for a  long time to come.

So, What’s the Best Rolex Datejust for Me?

Now that you have all the basic information, what’s the best Rolex Datejust for you? First, you have to decide if you prefer the 36mm or 41mm size. If you prefer the 41mm size, then it’s a matter of choosing between the Datejust II or the Datejust 41. Some prefer the bolder look of the Datejust II, while others appreciate the slimmer proportions of the Datejust 41. Which one suits your taste better? Also, if a higher power reserve is important to you, then the Datejust 41 is the way to go.

Browse our selection of pre-owned men’s Datejust watches and once you see the one that calls out to you, you’ll know that that’s the best Rolex Datejust watch for you!

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