Why it’s cool: The perfect replica Rolex Day-Date ref.1803 has been a classic since it debuted in 1956. It was the ultimate dress watch, loved by power brokers including Presidents Johnson and Kennedy, which is how it got its nickname (the President). It’s characterized by its roll-linked bracelet, day at 12 o’clock, and date at 3 o’clock. My favorite reference is the well-balanced 1803 from the 1960s, with a pie pan dial and stick indexes.
The only thing to note about the Rolex ref.1803 fake with gold case is it’s a non-quick-set date, which takes FOREVER to set if you aren’t wearing it every day. There are three ways to get past this, including an excellently lazy solution, which is to wait an entire month to wear it after it’s stopped, so you can pick it up where you left off. Alternatively, set the day and date between ten and two o’clock. Or just buy a newer reference with a quick-set date, for instance, the 18238 launched in 1988. With the later references like the 18078, you get stuff like bark-finishes which are niche but very cool.
Why it’s expensive: It’s Rolex, duh. And a timeless model that holds its value especially well. Day-Dates are only made in precious metals – white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, or platinum. (There are a couple of vintage steel versions floating around, but they are impossible to find and impossibly expensive.) All of which justifies prices varying from $9,000 to $14,000 depending on condition for vintage Day-Dates. If you’re talking modern, you’re going to be up there in the $33,000-plus range. But for all its pedigree, the high quality fake Rolex Day-Date has some caveats.
Look for a bracelet that’s original and that has enough links to fit (because once the older bracelets are shortened, they’re shortened for good). And be sure yours isn’t stretched out like an old sock, which is a tragic thing that can happen. On the bright side, Day-Dates are easier to find than a lot of Swiss movement clone Rolex models – we often carry vintage models in our Shop (sometimes with the days en español), and so does our new partner Crown & Caliber.