This particular watch is stainless steel automatic calendar bracelet Rolex Datejust, reference 1603 with serial number No. 3510175. This movement number dates this watch to circa 1973.
The Sigma Dial. What is that? In the early 1970s few watchmakers who were members of the l’Association pour la Promotion Industrielle de l'Or (APRIOR), an industry trade association for those making gold watches, started applying little marks beneath the 6 hour mark, that are actually the lower case Greek letter sigma, and the dials are aptly called "sigma dials." The reason for this was to promote when gold parts were used on a watch to enhance the perceived intrinsic value of a traditional watch.
Besides the sigma dial this Datejust also has an interesting bracelet. It is a 1970s Rolex U.S.A bracelet.
The Datejust has set the bar for luxury watches since 1945, when this Rolex© marvel became the archetype for the modern watch. Inspired for and by the ocean, the Datejust’s revolution was a fully waterproof, automatic chronometer framing a date in the window--the first of its kind the world ever knew. This Datejust’s elegant design features a dazzling silver dial with rose golden hour marker and rose gold hour hands, and the scratch-resistant crystal’s cyclops eye makes it one of the world’s most recognizable watches. The Oyster architecture constitutes a 36mm case and bracelet which seals the timepiece’s dignified look.
The 1960s saw Rolex working to secure their place at horology’s top table, with an increasing focus on the sort of small, incremental changes to their range that all add up to huge improvements right across the board.
It brought us the ref. 1680 ‘Red’ Submariner, the first in the series to include a date complication, as well as its bigger, Comex-inspired sibling, the Double Red Sea-Dweller.
Mid-decade, the ref. 1601 Datejust was launched. With a caliber upgrade from the previous Cal. 1065, it was now powered for the first time by Rolex’s own 1500 series. Built around the architecture of the base Cal. 1530, early versions used the Cal. 1560, and received a further update in 1971 with the Cal. 15709without date)/1575 (with date), which brought with it the convenience of a hacking function.
While neither movement was outfitted with a Quickset mechanism, to give wearers the ability to change the date by using the crown, it was the 1500 calibers that introduced the cam and jewel system that created the instantaneous midnight change, still used by Rolex today.
From their first in-house series of calibers, the 1560 and 1575 were to become benchmarks in the world of mechanical watch movements, for their accuracy and resilience. Beautifully simple and extremely robust, they are highly regarded even today for their engineering excellence.
Inside this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 1603 houses a mechanical automatic self-winding Rolex caliber 1570/5 movement. Its processor the 1560 was the start of the second generation of the 1500 series calibers. They released this movement in 1959 and it remained in use until 1965. With a 26 jewel self-winding automatic movement, it had a Rolex p/n 7980 balance assembly with Microstella screws, a Breguet free sprung hairspring. It also had a frequency of 18,000 bph. Furthermore, the KIF Flector shock absorbers protected the 1560. Also, it used a traditional stone lever escapement and had a power reserve of 42 hours.
Rolex released this series with a date function version, the 1565, and with the addition of a 24-hour hand in the 1565GMT. Although there was no Quickset mechanism, the 1500 calibers came with the cam and jewel system. This system was able to create an instantaneous date change at midnight, still used by Rolex today.
The 1575 was launched in the mid-1960s. Caliber 1575 was based upon the Rolex 1560 movement, but improvements were naturally built in. The 1560 had a increased frequency of 2.5 Hz and a longer power reserve of 44 hours. When the 1575 was launched it was based heavily on the 1560 but with a few upgrades; most notably a four-hour power reserve increase, a frequency increase to 2.75 Hz, and hacking seconds function.
This particular Rolex Datejust has just undergone a full service. This work was carried out by our watchmaker using original parts.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase.