Linen Dial 1803 Rolex Day-Date
If Rolex had an essentials album, the 1803 would undoubtedly be a starred track. In production for nearly three decades as the halo product, Wilsdorf’s innovative Day-Date complication became synonymous with status after a 1966 ad with a red phone which simply stated, ‘the president’s watch.’ Day-Date collecting could be considered an art itself, given the immense variations which exist in dial, case, and bracelet treatment within each reference. For all the diverse dials the Day-Date has debuted, this warm silver linen texture surely ranks toward the top.
This pie pan dial did not survive the update to a five digit reference and remains one of the most collected styles. The texture is subtle and nicely sets off the brushed white gold lug top and outer links. The 1803 utilized Rolex’s calibre 1556, which allows the day and date calendar discs to be adjusted by turning the crown clockwise and counter-clockwise. This example is paired with an early production President bracelet which completes the look perfectly.
In Day-Dates, white gold and platinum are the stealthy options. I quite like the warmth that comes with white gold, and tend to favor its lightness compared to platinum’s heft. In addition, this 4-digit reference has a crystal which is plexi and not sapphire, leading to a nice vintage feel. As if the linen didn’t already lend enough. And it you wanted a bit of differentiation from all the other WG linen 1803s out there, this is a non-luminous dial. The handset has black plots and there are no tritium pips to be found. For all the bewildering variants of 1803 which exist, this one gets a lot just right.
The case has seen a polish though nothing egregious. Its dial is without fault, extremely well preserved. These linen textures can often corrode in areas and spot. No so. The watch was recently serviced and comes on a matched president bracelet from a well-regarded Japanese retailer.
Find this 1803 here from Arbitro Japan for ~17000 USD.