Which One Should You Get? Old Rolex Datejust II vs. New Datejust 41

Rolex Datejust is the longest continuously-running watch collection in its history. It was launched in 1945, and embodied all of the innovations Rolex had developed up to that time. The Datejust series as a whole (including the Lady-Datejust, mid-size, Rolex Datejust 41, is the best selling Rolex collection of the brand. 

Among them, the Rolex Datejust 41 and the Rolex Datejust II are the most mentioned models as they shared a lot of similarities. They are some of the most classy and popular dress watches in the luxury market. If you’re looking for a classy watch for everyday wear, one that you can wear to the office and play golf with, the Datejust 41mm and Rolex Datejust 2 must be some of the great choices.

Let us compare these two watches and see which of these may suit better on you.

What You Should Know About Rolex Datejust

Rolex 279171-0011G

History of Rolex Datejust

Introduced in 1945, the Rolex Datejust is the longest continuing collection of the brand. The Datejust was the first self-winding chronometer wristwatch to display the date on the dial in a window at 3 o’clock and switch it automatically at midnight. The watch was also the first Rolex model introduced in a waterproof case. 

Since the beginning, the case of the Datejust has remained at 36mm, a size that Rolex continues to offer to now. A new Rolex Datejust 36 was introduced in 2018. 

Yet as larger watches had been gaining popularity, Rolex introduced the Datejust II in 2009, a larger 41mm model which had been the biggest shake up in the Datejust line. 

In 2016, the Datejust II was finally discontinued and replaced with the updated version Datejust 41 which remains in the Rolex portfolio up to this day. Although the Datejust II is discontinued, this watch is still in high demand in the pre-owned market.

Why is Rolex Datejust so Popular?

Rolex 126334 Blue Jubilee

As Rolex’s best selling collection, the Datejust is well-loved for its timeless and elegant look. This watch has long been exemplified by its sweeping lines and classy understatement. It is considered the standard for classic luxury watches. Considering its classic look, history and comparably affordable prices, it is said to be one of the best Rolex entry watches. The Rolex Datejust provides a perfect lens through which to examine why Rolex is Rolex.

Produced for decades, its main draw is its vast availability and the variation of options: materials, bezel styles, and dial designs. Although the collection has been through many updates over the decades, the fundamental design remains true to the original. That’s what makes it such a recognisable watch. Well-balanced. Nicely proportioned. It is the perfect everyday watch enough to appeal without causing a scene.

Smaller model: Rolex Datejust 36

There are two sizes currently available for the Rolex Datejust collection – the traditional 36mm and the larger Datejust 41. Until the launch of Datejust II, the Rolex Datejust was offered only in a 36mm Oyster case. It has been the most popular size in the men’s range for long. It is also a great choice for the ladies who favour large watches.

At Baselworld 2018, the modified Datejust 36 version was introduced with Rolex’s new in-house time and date movement – the Calibre 3235. The 36mm Datejust watch has always kept up its position in the Rolex family.

New Datejust 41 vs. Old Datejust II

Rolex Datejust II
Rolex Datejust II: Ref. 116300 / 116300 / 116300

In 2016, Rolex discontinued the Rolex Datejust II and replaced it with the new Rolex Datejust 41. Both The Datejust 41 and Datejust II are amazing dress watches but let’s take a look on both of them to see the differences.


Both Rolex Datejust II and Datejust 41 have a 41mm case, however there are still some slight differences. 

The Rolex Datejust II features all the classic elements which are the Oyster case, the date, and the Cyclops lens, while combined with a thicker bezel and thicker lugs. To meet the large watch trends at the time, the watch was visibly larger on the wrist with a more masculine and sporty style.

Despite being 41mm in size also, the Oyster case of Rolex Datejust 41 comes with a slimmer profile and thinner lugs. The design proportions of this new 41mm watch were closer to the Datejust 36. It is perfect in meeting today’s larger watch trends, without feeling too heavy and dumb.


Rolex Bracelet
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

There are Datejust 41 models available with a Jubilee bracelet. The jubilee bracelet contains more links than the oyster bracelet which seemingly creates a more comforting fit. However, there is no option of Jubilee bracelet for Datejust II.


Due to its short period of production, the Rolex Datejust II was only offered in stainless steel, Rolesor white and yellow gold. The Datejust 41 watches are available in three Rolesor variations – yellow gold, white gold, and Everose gold combined with Oystersteel. A full Oystersteel Datejust 41 version has also been available a year after its first launch.


Rolex Dial
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

One of the characteristics of the Datejust collection is its versatile variation. The Rolex Datejust II had a few options that the Rolex Datejust 41mm doesn’t inherit such as the option of Solid Roman numbers, Slate Roman numbers, and Arabic hour markers in addition to standard luminescent indexes. 

While for Rolex Datejust 41, there is a choice between a domed and fluted bezel, luminous baton markers and diamond indexes. It also offers a huge variation of dial options – black, rhodium, blue, silver, chocolate sundust, and mother of pearl.


Rolex Movement
Photo Credit: Rolex Official

Actually both Rolex Datejust uses their own in-house COSC certified Caliber movement. It is the highest designation attributed for precision and accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day after casings by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). 

The Datejust 41 housed the Rolex Caliber 3235 movement while the Datejust II used the Caliber 3136 movement.

The Calibre 3136 that Datejust II housed is a movement based on Rolex’s base movement, the Calibre 3135. It features a larger mainplate to accommodate the larger date wheel and the addition of Paraflex shock absorbers. The movement supports a 48 hour power reserve.

On the other hand, the Datejust 41 is equipped with Rolex new movement Calibre 3235, which can run with a better performance: Chronergy escapement, high-capacity barrel, and greater use of nickel-phosphorus alloy, resulted in a power reserve of 70 hours and improvement on magnetic resistance. 

The most noticeable improvement of this caliber is its interface for making manual adjustments. The date can be reset manually and quickly whenever you want. By just simply pulling the crown out to its middle position and turning it counterclockwise, the date advances smoothly and accurately.

To Sum up

A luxury watch is said to be the only jewelry that a person can wear to work each day. All in all, if you prefer a bolder and more masculine approach to the everyday watch, you can get the Rolex Datejust II in the pre-owned market. 

If you’re after a large watch with the classic proportions of the traditional Datejust, go for the Datejust 41. The Rolex Datejust 41 actually embodies Rolex’s latest technology that still sticks to the Datejust’s classic elements. Both Datejust watches are one of the best versions of Rolex’s all-time classic that are definitely worth being part of your collection.

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