Today, we’ll introduce you to five of the finest timepieces for Ladies that Rolex has to offer. For those of you who truly appreciate Rolex’s impressive feats, sit back and have a read through the exceptional horological masterpieces for women!
The wristwatch (as we know it today), was born in the early 1800s, when Carolina Murat, then Queen of Naples, commissioned a certain Mr. Louis Abraham Breguet to make the first “Lady” watch in history. In these years, the wristwatch was nothing more than a small standalone case which was mounted onto a bracelet made from either cloth or from a precious material/metal.
Over the course of the years, parallelling the progression of technology, the appearance of the “Lady” watch transformed into the type that we are accustomed to nowadays.
It goes without saying that a woman’s touch was of fundamental importance for the birth of wristwatches, but did you know that they were also responsible for some of the most famous and influential watch houses in history?
“How come“, you might ask? What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we say “Mercedes Gleitze”?
Yes indeed! In 1927, the legendary swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, became the first British woman to swim the English Channel, and in doing so, also became Rolex’s first real testimonial. In fact, the whole concept of “Brand Testimonials” stemmed from her record swim: Mercedes had a Rolex Oyster on her wrist – regarded as one of the very first waterproof watches in history.
In 1947, Rolex released their crown jewel: the Rolex Datejust. This was a watch which ticked all the boxes: it was automatic; waterproof; featured a date function and obtained the famed Chronometer certification – the first wristwatch of its kind.
Characterized by an all-gold case and bracelet (the Jubilè), the Datejust was marketed as a watch for men.
Exactly 10 years later, in 1957, the “Lady-Datejust” line was launched. Housed in a 26mm case, this was Rolex’s first range entirely dedicated to women.
We now leap forward to the ’70s, a time known for unorthodox and wacky aesthetics; a time of horological design revolution.
Rolex isn’t one for collaborations and making one-off pieces which aren’t present on their catalogues, but in 1975, a truly unique piece was created. The Swiss watchmaker reached out to the incredibly talented goldsmith and designer Georges L’Enfant, and made this ultra-rare “Rolex Lady“.
Housed in an octagonal diamond and coral cladded 18kt gold case, featuring a diamond-studded dial, the “Rolex Lady” is a real beauty to behold. It is so elegant, and is of such sophistication: I cannot think of any other watch that has coral inserts on their case – it is truly a class above anything else. It came with an integrated 18kt gold mesh bracelet and a micro manually wound movement. We cannot overstate how beautiful this work of art is. On the 14th of January 2019, this piece was auctioned off at the famed Monaco Legend Group auction house for €16,250.
Staying in the ’70s, Rolex also presented the ref.4314 “Queen Midas”, the female counterpart to the famed “King Midas” from 1964, possibly the most peculiar watch the brand has ever released.
(To learn more about this model, have a look at our atricle on it here)
Simple, clean and elegant: the illustrious Gerald Genta desgin strikes again. The aftermarket value of the Midas is of circa €12.000.
When it comes to “Lady” Rolexes, it would be a sin to overlook the “Pearlmaster” line, first launched in 1992. These were the “precious” reinterpritations of the “Lady-Datejust”.
The dial still bears the “Datejust” stamp, but they are immediately identifiable from their dazzling bracelets and cases. Like the famous “Day-Date“, the Pearlmasters are only offered in precious metals and with generous diamond accents throughout.
The price for these precious “Lady” models varies principally by the quantity of diamonds featured on the piece. To give you an idea, howewer, take this: the only model in which the price is disclosed on the Rolex catalogue is the “Pearlmaster 34mm” in yellow gold (€35,400), with all of the other Pearlmasters having “price upon request”.
Finishing strong, we want to show you an authentic embodiment of Rolex’s artisanal prowess. This prestigious 36mm “Day-Date” nowadays is considered to be a “unisex” watch.
What you see below is an “Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 in Everose 18kt gold“, with a pavé diamonded dial on the classic president bracelet. Collectors often refer to this model as the “Rainbow” Day-Date, because of its multicoloured “baguette” diamond indices.
This unbelievable demonstration of Rolex’s goldsmiths’ technical capabilities is available on the market for about €55.000.
We’ve picked some truly extravagant (and some might consider “over the top”) pieces by Rolex, but the Swiss giant still offers an all-steel Lady Datejust, as well as a large range of exceptional dial configurations for the Day-Date – even vintage watches, too! We’ve presented some of the more-talked-about pieces throughout Rolex’s history, but we leave you to decide which you prefer: classic and timeless, or eccentric and extravagant? Everyone has their own tastes – what are yours? Let us know!
– Translated by Patrick R.