Rolex’s growing use of gold certainly isn’t a shock to us in the world of watch collecting anymore. Over the decades, Rolex have produced both purpose-built tool watches and luxurious dress watches out of the metal. From the presidential Day-Date to Wall Street’s favourite watch, the two-tone Datejust and the industry-defining 18kt yellow gold Submariner, Rolex’s use of gold has become a growing part of their identity. However, like most of the facets within watchmaking, there’s more than meets the eye with Rolex’s use of gold. From the brand whose watches can skyrocket in rarity, demand and price on the presence of a dot on a dial, or the arrangement of the conversion between meters and feet on the dials of some divers, Rolex have shown time and time again that it can pay dividends to dive a little deeper into a watch. One such testament to that fact is the Date ref. 15037 that we have here, so let’s dive in.
On the face of it, the ref. 15037 is just like any yellow-gold Rolex. Boasting a golden dial, a gold case and a gold jubilee bracelet, it appears not too dissimilar to a Day-Date, but without the eponymous day aperture. However, that ignores the plethora of exciting points of interest waiting to be discovered within this incredible watch. Much like Rolex has shown, it’s often worth exploring their timepieces a little more, and this example underscores that fact perfectly.
Measuring 34mm in diameter but featuring a date complication, the Date stands on the middle ground between the 34mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual, and the full-sized (at the time) 36mm Datejust. However, while it was typically made of stainless steel due to its status as an entry-level offering, it wasn’t always, as the example we have here demonstrates. Produced specifically for the American market, this example is made of 14kt yellow gold instead of Rolex’s typical 18kt yellow gold. In keeping with Rolex’s decision to move from England to Switzerland, the Genevan Giant’s use of 14kt gold boiled down to one thing, taxes. Virtually indistinguishable from 18kt yellow gold to the untrained eye, Rolex would use 14kt yellow gold for their US-bound watches to avoid a chunk of the taxes and duties that were payable on imported precious metals into the States. Often Rolex would even have their bracelets produced for them by third-parties and then marry the naked watch head with its bracelet in the destination country.
However, beyond its physical construction, by far this ref. 15037’s most important feature is its smallest detail. Found on its stunning golden dial lies one of watchmaking’s most important intricacies, a Tiffany & Co. stamp. Applied to the dials of watches by retailers as a mark of origin, co-signed dials are intensely desirable in their own right due to their rarity and heritage – as they were originally retailed by whomever’s name is stamped on the dial. However, not all retailers were born equal, and watches bearing Tiffany & Co.’s signature are the most sought-after, and our ref. 15037 features its very own Tiffany & Co. stamp just above the 6 o’clock position. The ultimate ‘if you know, you know’ detail, this Tiffany & Co. signature corroborates this example’s American-market-destined 14kt yellow gold construction as the famed American jeweller was the retailer that initially sold this beautiful watch back in 1982, and we are incredibly honoured for it to have found itself in our Mayfair boutique being retailed by our team here in DWL all these years later.