Rolex Introduces the Datejust 36 “Exotic Dials”

Palm fronds and geometric patterns.

Presented at Baselworld 2018, the current generation Rolex Datejust 36 sticks to the look and feel of its predecessor, but its internals were given a thorough upgrade with a latest-generation cal. 3235 movement. At Watches & Wonders 2021, Rolex has introduced a series of textured dials for the Datejust 36, giving the model a variety of distinct looks, either a palm leaf or horizontal fluted motif.

Initial Thoughts

Sometimes criticised for a conservative approach to design – Rolex iterates and improves rather than redesigns – the new Datejust 36 now offers the perhaps greatest aesthetic variety in the entire Rolex line up, both in terms of dial styles and colours, but also case materials, and gem setting.

Despite being individually different, the new dials fit right into Datejust collection. My favourite is the most affordable of the four, the Datejust 36 with a green dial featuring the palm frond pattern (and a domed bezel and Oyster bracelet) that instantly brings to mind a summer vacation in the tropics.

Traditionalists, on the other hand, will likely be drawn to the Datejust in two-tone, yellow-gold Rolesor on a Jubilee bracelet that has a geometric linear dial pattern that echoes the Datejust’s iconic fluted bezel.

Notably, the models with the new dials cost the same as the corresponding models with older dial designs. There’s now even more choice in the diverse Datejust line up, with something for everyone.

The traditionalist’s choice: the fluted dial is available only on the yellow Rolesor model

Patterned Dials

The new dials are available with two motifs, palm or fluted, in three colours – olive green, gold, dark silver – but the fluted pattern is additionally available in blue. All have the traditional 18k solid-gold hour markers and hands.

Each of the dials is first radially brushed before the motif is applied with a femtosecond laser – essentially a ultrafast laser that lightly burns the surface of the dial to create the pattern and texture. As a result of the high-tech process, the dials are impressively nuanced – the palm motif is executed in two contrasting shades that provide an impression of depth and shadow.

The new dials are offered in four references in Oystersteel, yellow Rolesor, or Everose Rolesor

The palm motif is rendered in two complementary shades of green

Aside from the dials, the new Datejust 36s are identical to the current models. That means a 36 mm case with a polished finish, a “cyclops” date magnifier on the sapphire crystal, and Twinlock screw-down crown.

The Datejust 36 is powered by the cal. 3235, one of Rolex’s technically-sophisticated, latest-generation movements. It is equipped with the high-efficiency Chronergy escapement that helps extend the power reserve of the watch to 70 hours, and the balance is made of Rolex’s proprietary blue Parachrom, a niobium and zirconium alloy that endows the balance with paramagnetic properties.

Also, the movement is rated to keep time to -2/+2 seconds per day – the Superlative Chronometer standard – as all current Rolex watches are.

Key facts and price

Rolex Datejust 36
Ref. 126200-0020 (Palm motif in green, Oystersteel)
Ref. 126233-0038 (Palm motif in gold, yellow Rolesor)
Ref. 126231-0031 (Palm motif in silver, Everose Rolesor)
Ref. 126233-0039 (Fluted motif in gold, yellow Rolesor)
Ref. 126234-0050 (Fluted motif in blue, white Rolesor)

Diameter: 36 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Oystersteel, or Rolesor
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Cal. 3235
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds; date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Steel or Rolesor Oyster bracelet; Rolesor jubilee bracelet (all with EasyLink extension)

Availability: From May 2021
Palm motif, Oystersteel – US$7,050; or 9,460 Singapore dollars
Palm motif, yellow Rolesor – US$11,050; or 14,830 Singapore dollars
Palm motif, Everose Rolesor – US$12,000; 16,090 Singapore dollars
Fluted motif, yellow Rolesor – US$11,700; or 15,670 Singapore dollars
Fluted dial, white gold Rolesor – US$8,300; or 11,160 Singapore dollars

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