Rolex Datejust 41 Reference 126301
Crafted from stainless steel and sporting a modern-sized 41mm case, the Rolex Datejust 126300 is the ideal wear-with-anything everyday luxury watch. It’s the epitome of contemporary meets classic, discreet and timeless luxury. If you’re on the fence about adding this model to your watch collection or aren’t sure which iteration would be best, then delve into our Rolex Datejust 41 ref. 126301 ultimate buying guide, where we break down all the details and review this Rolex reference to help you make the right decision.
Rolex introduced the Datejust 41 watch at Baselworld 2016 to replace the short-lived Datejust II model. While Datejust 41 and Datejust II watches both have 41mm cases, the newer version is slimmer and more elegantly proportioned with the latter is thicker and somewhat sportier in execution. Furthermore, Rolex furnished the newer Datejust 41 with the new-generation Caliber 3235 automatic movement.
The first models to launch the Datejust 41 collection were the two-tone variants in yellow Rolesor (a combination of 18k yellow gold and stainless steel) and Everose Rolesor (a combination of 18k Everose gold and stainless steel). As of 2021, Rolex produces the Datejust 41 model in four material options and only offers them with metal bezels – no factory diamond or gem-set bezels are available on this particular reference.
The Rolex reference 126300 is the full stainless steel version of the Datejust 41. Not only is it a fantastic option for those interested in a larger version of the classic Datejust 36 but since it’s also one of Rolex’s newer models, it benefits from all the advancements in design, materials, and movement technologies.
As its name implies, the Rolex Datejust 41 ref. 126301 sports a 41mm case, which is the same official measurement as the previous Datejust II. However, on the wrist, the Datejust 41 is notably more refined. This is thanks to the Datejust 41’s thinner profile, leaner lugs, and slimmer bezel. The smooth steel bezel on top of the 126300 is Rolex’s simplest bezel design crafted from the brand’s most humble metal option.
Like all modern Datejust watches, the Datejust 41 126300 features a water-resistant Oyster case fitted with a screw-down Twinlock winding crown and screw-down fluted case-back. Starting in 2018, Rolex began branding the steel it uses as “Oystersteel” – which belongs to the highly corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel family.
The Rolex Oystersteel Rolex Datejust 41 ref. 126300 offers the option of a matching Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. The three-link Oyster bracelet is sportier in design while the five-link Jubilee adds a dressy touch to the 41mm Datejust 126300.
It’s important to note that Rolex never offered the Jubilee bracelet for Datejust II watches; while it was in production, it was only fitted with an Oyster bracelet. Regardless of the bracelet design, all Datejust 41 ref. 126300 watches are fitted with a folding Oysterclasp that includes the brand’s practical Easylink extension system that allows wearers to easily adjust the bracelet length on-the-fly by 5mm for optimum comfort.
As of 2021, Rolex does not currently offer dials with Arabic numerals or diamond-set hour markers for the Datejust 41 reference 126300. Regardless of the dial color, all Datejust 41 watches have straight hands at the center and a date window at 3 o’clock. Baton indexes are filled with Chromalight (Rolex’s proprietary luminous material that glows blue in the dark), while Roman numerals are not luminous, and the ones on the “Wimbledon Dial” are painted directly onto its surface rather than being applied.
Shielding the dial of the Datejust 41 reference 126300 is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that is furnished with a protruding Cyclops lens to magnify the date 2.5 times. The Cyclops lens has become a hallmark trait of Rolex watches, and it is a quintessential part of the Datejust collection’s overall aesthetic.
One of the most significant improvements of the Datejust 41 compared to the preceding Datejust II is the addition of the Caliber 3235 movement that replaced the long-running Caliber 3135. Rolex first introduced the Caliber 3235 in 2015 as the latest in-house made time and date movement that would eventually roll out across the brand’s catalog.
Among numerous patents, the automatic Caliber 3235 movement boasts the brand’s new Chronergy escapement, which improves the movement’s efficiency. Furthermore, the Cal. 3235 also benefits from a higher-capacity barrel with thinner walls to accommodate a longer mainspring. The combination of the new escapement and new barrel structure means that Caliber 3235 now offers a 70-hour power reserve, which is notably longer than the 48-hour power reserve of the Cal. 3135.
The Caliber 3135 is, of course, COSC-certified; however, it’s also worth mentioning that in 2015, Rolex upgraded its Superlative Chronometer standards to guarantee its watches are now accurate to within -2/+2 seconds per day (after casing). This is well beyond the -4/+6 per day accuracy for uncased movements that COSC requires for certification, and both the Cal. 3135 and newer Caliber 3235 are certified chronometers.
While the type of bracelet that is paired with the Oystersteel Datejust 41 has a slight impact on its official retail price (the Jubilee bracelet is accompanied by a $250 premium), the style of dial does not. Consequently, all reference 126300 watches will cost the exact same when purchased at retail, regardless of dial style, provided that they are fitted with the same style of bracelet.
However, like just about every stainless steel Rolex model these days, full stainless steel Datejust 41 watches are valued higher than their MSRPs on the secondary market. This is simply because steel Datejust 41 watches are so popular that they’re typically sold out at authorized retailers. Naturally, demand drives up prices on the open market. The average cost of a pre-owned Datejust 41 ref. 126300 starts at around $8,750 but it can go up from there with popular dial options such as black or blue.
When considering buying a Rolex Datejust 126300, it’s natural to compare it to similar watches to decide which one would be the best option for you. Consequently, below is a brief comparison of the Datejust 41 ref. 126300 vs. the now-discontinued steel Datejust II ref. 116300 and the steel and white gold Datejust 41 ref. 126334.
The discontinued stainless steel Datejust II reference 116300 does offer a few different dial options that are currently not available for the Datejust 41 ref. 126300. Some examples include the black dial with painted Roman numerals and the silver dial with blue Arabic numerals. Moreover, the version of the Datejust 41 with a white gold fluted bezel also offers the choice of diamond hour markers, while the other two full stainless steel versions of the watch do not.
However, the Datejust 41 ref. 126300 does come with the choice of the popular Wimbledon dial, which is characterized by a sunburst slate background with green-outlined Roman numerals painted onto its surface. This was something that was only available on the Rolesor editions of the previous Datejust II collection and not on the completely stainless steel one.
For a casual Rolex watch that’s perfectly suitable to wear all the time, it’s hard to beat the classic appeal of the Datejust 41 ref. 126300. Its 41mm size is ideal for those who appreciate the iconic Datejust design but want something larger than the traditional 36mm edition but more refined than the bulkier Datejust II.
Finding the version of the Rolex Datejust 126300 that is perfect for you comes down to finding the dial and bracelet combination that speaks to you the most, but all options look absolutely fantastic. Whether paired with an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, a dark or light dial, or Roman numeral or baton indexes, buying a Rolex Datejust 41 ref. 126300 is always a solid choice and could easily be the one watch that you wear every day for the rest of your life.