‘Havana’ Dial 1601 Rolex Datejust

Not all Datejust are created equal. This will become immediately apparent if you check out Monaco Legends 2021 result for a red jasper white gold 1601, which hammered at 186K US. Many think of the Datejust as that two-tone thing you have to buy for your significant other to get a GMT. This does immense disservice to a storied legacy of innovation and evolution. It’s just that some stops on the Datejust timeline are more interesting than others (honeycomb, red depth, stone dials, etc). This Havana 1601 is not the rarest or most special, but an unusual spec and warm tone that’s hard not to love.

This is what’s known as the Havana dial, a taupe-brown tone that’s more often seen in Day-Dates and namely the 1803, it was also made for the 1601. More than most, Havana dial text has a tendency to ghost over time. Most four digit Day-Dates have dials with black printed text, but the darker dial tones like the matte black ‘confetti’ or grey used white print. The Havana and grey share a similar rare quality where UV exposure will simultaneously lighten the dial tone and warm the text. A little lacquer interaction means that at certain angles, the printed text disappears altogether on these worn-in dials. 

Moreover, this one was ordered on a gold rivet Oyster bracelet and not the jubilee most associate with 1601, which does a lot for giving this 1601 a sporting dimension. The last Havana dial Day-Date we covered sold at 27K. This Datejust slots exactly 10K under that ask. Is that enough to get excited about? I suppose that really depends how important a day is to you or if you just prefer a bit of simplicity 12. Sure, the whole history surrounding the Day-Date covers off the lion’s share of that difference. But the Datejust, like it or not, comprises the vast majority of Rolex’s sales. This is not exactly an insignificant watch. In a model with seemingly infinite variability, this 1601 is just a rather alternative take on the theme with a little Latin edge. Pretty sure Camila Cabello wrote her song about this watch.

This example sports a great dial with just lightly ghosted text and cream tritium plots. The case has a seen a light polish, which is to be expected but should be noted. The bracelet is said to be original to the watch, serial dates to 1970 and bracelet to ’72. It comes from a well-regarded Spanish retailer.