This isn’t a Datejust, it’s a ref. 15238 Date, and that’s more than ‘just’ fine. The Rolex Date is a 34mm alternative to the Datejust’s 36mm, a midsized case made to suit smaller wrists. This 150XX family introduced the Date to a quickset, making it a far more usable wearer. But this watch isn’t really about the history, it’s about the dial.
Day-Dates, Datejusts, and Dates are made by their dials and this is one of the most spectacular Date dials around. It’s a navy sunburst dial which has lived in the sun, now a denimy-teal with near-fully ghosted text. Ghost dials are not super common in the Date, and observing this example at various angles leaves one with no impression that text was ever printed on the dial, it’s quite a special thing visually. What I most love about ghost dials is the degree of discretion they add. If someone wants to wear a Rolex that doesn’t shout, this is it. There’s a gleaming gold coronet, but otherwise no hint. It’s a minimalist, very simple expression of one of Rolex’s simplest mid-century offerings.
Thoreau got it, writing in Walden, ‘Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.’ What do you really need in a watch? You need it to be reliable. It’d be nice if it could be worn in the rain. And you probably need to know the time. Possibly date. Everything else, every GMT, chronograph, or equation of time is really as superfluous as swim trunks in Svalbard. Now, life can’t be lived on the basis of needs. Humans are more creative than that, sports watches or complications serve a purpose. They demonstrate the artful creativity of the mind as applied to horology. But when all you want to be reminded of what purity of purpose looks like, this is your watch.