Rolex Rolesor Datejust 41 126333
In 2022, Rolex released the new reference Rolex 126333 Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 watch (debuted here) which quietly replaced the outgoing Datejust II that Rolex had been making for a few years. Both models are larger-sized versions of the classic Rolex Datejust that for most of its life came in a 36mm-wide case. The Rolex Datejust is one of the world’s most popular luxury timepieces and has been around since Rolex originally released the Datejust back in 1945
I’ve been wearing the Rolex 126333 Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 watch quite regularly for the last few months as part of my normal timepiece rotation. This is one of those watches that I also happened to add to my own collection. It was not until I was able to wear the watch for a while that I was able to truly develop a relationship with the Rolex Datejust in a way that so many owners have done over the collection’s long lifespan. One of the major questions that I was trying to answer as part of my review is “what category does this watch fit into?” I’ll get to why that question is important later on.
When Rolex originally released the Datejust, the name of the watch made a lot more sense. Quite literally, the main technical attraction to the watch was the fact that it had a movement that was able to automatically change the date at midnight, which was a novel piece of functionality at the time. Since then, the humble “date complication” has gone on to become the most popular function on wristwatches right after displaying the current time.
As a company, Rolex rarely releases brand-new model families. Instead, part of the “Rolex Way” – a clever marketing term for a very real culture at the company – is to maintain strong pillars of production collections and improve and expand upon them as they feel might best serve the market. Thus, the majority of Rolex’s stable of watch lines (Submariner, Explorer, GMT-Master, Daytona, Day-Date, Datejust, et cetera) have been around for decades. What this means is that while there is “one Datejust,” in reality there are dozens and dozens of variants from previous years, as well as those currently available.
The Rolex Datejust is the most popular among all the brand’s collections, and that includes Datejust watches made for both men and women. Especially including women’s models, there is an incredible variety of styles, sizes, material and dial choices, and more. As an enthusiast, it can be extremely challenging to navigate currently available and formerly available Rolex Datejust models, perhaps even more so than most other watches the storied high-end Swiss watch maker produces. It is here where we should add that some of the now discontinued Rolex Datejust II models may still be around in stores for some time.
What makes tracking Rolex Datejust models even more complicated is the variety of dial, bezel, and bracelet options. Even though Rolex debuted the Datejust 41 in exclusively a two-tone (“Rolesor,” as they call it) variation as opposed to just steel, you can opt for either steel and yellow gold or steel and Everose gold, choose between two bracelet options (Jubilee or Oyster), and between a total of ten dial options between the two gold variants, and last but not least, pick a polished “flat” bezel or a fluted bezel as seen here. All I can say is that if you are interested in a Rolex Datejust 41, make sure to do your homework and decide which particular variant is right for you.
The one I chose was actually the “poster model” that Rolex used to show off the Rolex 126333 Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 watch on its website and in various marketing materials throughout most of 2016. This particular Rolex Datejust 41 reference 126333 is 904L steel and 18k yellow gold with the fluted 18k yellow gold bezel and matching “champagne”-colored dial with easy-to-read baton-style hour markers. It also uses Rolex’s newest version of their popular Jubilee-style bracelet which makes use of many small links.
Back in 2013, I did a joint review of the Rolex Datejust II and Day-Date II watches here. It made sense to review both of them together at the time as both models share an extremely similar (if not mostly identical) 41mm-wide case and very similar movements. The main difference between the two models is that the Rolex Datejust only indicates the time and date, whereas the Day-Date indicates the date along with the day of the week.
In 2015, Rolex debuted the Day-Date 40 watch here. What was important was that this was an entirely new Rolex Day-Date watch from the ground up, which is ironic because if you look at modern Rolex Day-Date or Datejust models, you can easily mistake them at a glance for older ones. This isn’t exactly an accident, as Rolex is intentionally trying to continue a visual look and style which has become familiar to its wearers for decades. The Rolex Day-Date 40 boasted both a brand-new case and movement. The case was a millimeter smaller than the outgoing model’s, but with a much better shape and proportions. A year later, in 2016, Rolex followed suit with the Rolex Datejust 41, which maintained a 41mm-wide size but also enjoyed a very similar new case design with vastly improved proportions over the Rolex Datejust II.