If you’ve been paying attention to Rolex over the last few years or so, you would have no doubt noticed that the brand has changed a few of its case sizes. These dimension updates weren’t only reserved for men’s Rolex models – women’s Rolex watches have also benefited from some size increases. One example is the beloved Rolex Lady-Datejust, which has been a mainstay of the Rolex catalog since 1957. After 58 years of existence as a 26mm watch, it became the Lady-Datejust 28 in 2015 with, you guessed it, a larger 28mm Oyster case. As the newest generation of the iconic luxury dress watch for women, the Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 brought about a revamped case design and updated movement. A fresh and modern take on the classic women’s Rolex watch.
In true Rolex fashion, the earliest versions of the Lady-Datejust 28 were exclusively available in precious metals and two-tone variants. However, it wasn’t long until steel models joined the lineup, and Rolex has continuously added new Lady-Datejust 28 variants, offering a seemingly endless choice of materials, bezel styles, bracelets, and dial colors. The most recent addition has been a full gem-set watch with a case, bezel, dial, and bracelet paved with 1,089 diamonds. Join us as we take a closer look at the beauty and impeccable performance of the Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 watch.
About the Rolex Lady-Datejust 28
Current Lady-Datejust 28 Collection Key Features:
- Reference Numbers: 279160; 279174, 279384, 279163, 279173, 279383, 279161, 279171, 279381, 279178, 279138, 279139, 279175, 279135
- Year of Introduction: 2015
- Case Size: 28mm
- Materials: Oystersteel (904L Stainless Steel), White Gold, Yellow Gold, Everose Gold, Rolesor (Steel/Gold)
- Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display
- Bezel: Fixed; Domed, Fluted, Gem-Set
- Dial: Multiple Colors Options
- Crystal: Sapphire (Flat w/ Cyclops Magnification Lens)
- Movement: Rolex Caliber 2236 (Self-Winding)
- Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet
- Strap/Bracelet: Oyster, Jubilee, President
- Approx. Price: $8,000 – $50,000 (Pre-Owned)
Lady-Datejust 28 Design and Options
When the Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 made its debut in 2015, the watches were available in full 18k yellow gold or Everose gold, as well as two-tone Yellow Rolesor and Everose Rolesor (Rolesor is what Rolex calls its watches that marry steel and gold). By 2017, Rolex expanded the line to include steel models with white gold fluted bezels (a.k.a. White Rolesor) and full stainless steel variants.
Similar to the larger Datejust watches, Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 cases are of the Oyster variety, which means that they are water-resistant to 100 meters deep. To ensure the hermetic seal, the 28mm Lady-Datejust Oyster cases benefit from a screw-down fluted caseback and screw-down Twinlock winding crown.
Depending on the model, Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 watches can have domed, fluted, or gem-set bezels. Furthermore, three-link Oyster bracelets, five-link Jubilee bracelets, and rounded three-link President bracelets are all available within the Lady-Datejust 28 lineup. Precious metal Lady-Datejust watches paired with matching President bracelets are aptly known as “Rolex Ladies’ President” watches.
Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 References
Below is a list of the various Rolex Lady-Datejust 28 references:
- Steel Lady-Datejust ref. 279160 – Oystersteel case, Oystersteel domed bezel
- White Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279174 – Oystersteel case; white gold fluted bezel
- Diamond Steel Lady-Datejust ref. 279384 – Oystersteel case; white gold diamond-set bezel
- Yellow Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279163 – Yellow gold and Oystersteel case; Yellow gold domed bezel
- Yellow Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279173 – Yellow gold and Oystersteel case; Yellow gold fluted bezel
- Diamond Yellow Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279383 – Yellow gold and Oystersteel case; Yellow gold diamond-set bezel
- Everose Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279161 – Everose gold and Oystersteel case; Everose gold domed bezel
- Everose Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279171 – Everose gold and Oystersteel case; Everose gold fluted bezel
- Diamond Everose Rolesor Lady-Datejust ref. 279381 – Everose gold and Oystersteel case; Everose gold diamond-set bezel
- Yellow Gold Lady-Datejust ref. 279178 – Yellow gold case; Yellow gold fluted bezel
- Diamond Yellow Gold Lady-Datejust ref. 279138 – Yellow gold case; Yellow gold diamond-set bezel
- Diamond White Gold Lady-Datejust ref. 279139 – White gold case; White gold diamond-set bezel
- Everose Gold Lady-Datejust ref. 279175 – Everose gold case; Everose gold fluted bezel
- Diamond Everose Gold Lady-Datejust ref. 279135 – Everose gold case; Everose gold diamond-set bezel
While the above is a general overview of the Lady-Datejust 28 range, in the following section we’re going to dive a little deeper into two popular steel references: 279160 and 279174.
Lady-Datejust References 279160 and 279174
The Rolex Lady-Datejust ref. 279160 sports a full stainless steel 28mm case along with a stainless steel bracelet. Perfect for the modern woman, the stainless steel construction is sporty and chic, as the stainless steel version of the Lady-Datejust 28 has a domed bezel. In addition to the option between an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, there are numerous dial colors to choose from including pink, silver, and dark gray. Furthermore, there are also several hour marker styles to opt for such as Roman numerals, batons, and of course, diamond indexes.
What remains constant across all Lady-Datejust watches is the date window at the 3 o’clock – the essential design component that the collection is named after. Like (almost) all Rolex watches with the date feature, the Cyclops lens on the surface of the sapphire crystal serves to magnify the date for better legibility. Powering the time and date functions of the Lady-Datejust 28 collection is the Rolex Caliber 2236 automatic movement (more on that later.)
For a more elevated take on this modern Rolex icon, there’s the Rolesor Lady-Datejust 28 ref. 27974 in steel and white gold. While the ref. 27974 is predominately made from Oystersteel (from the steel case to the steel bracelet) it is topped with an 18k white gold fluted bezel. Fun fact: Rolex fluted bezels are almost always crafted from gold, sometimes platinum, but never in stainless steel. So, even if the bezel and the rest of the Lady-Datejust 28 ref. 27974 look like it’s all the same material, those who know Rolex’s catalog will immediately recognize the white gold in the form of the fluted bezel.
Similar to the full steel version, the white gold and steel Lady-Datejust 28 ref. 279174 is available with either the sporty Oyster bracelet or the dressier Jubilee bracelet. Dial colors are also similar (pink, silver, and white), as are the indexes in either Roman numerals or luminous batons.
The Rolex Caliber 2236 Movement
Not only does Rolex always equip its modern ladies’ watches with mechanical movements, but the calibers are also developed entirely in-house (just like the movements that power the men’s models). This is a point well worth highlighting since most women’s luxury watches from other top-tier brands still run on battery-powered quartz movements. While the Rolex Caliber 2236 did not debut with the 2015 release of the Lady-Datejust 28 (it made its first appearance in the now-discontinued Pearlmaster 34 that launched a year before) it now serves as the movement for all Lady-Datejust 28 (and Datejust 31) watches.
The self-winding Caliber 2236 movement includes a number of patents to offer exceptional precision, reliability, power-reserve, shock-resistance, and antimagnetic capabilities. One such example of a proprietary piece of the Caliber 2236 is the Syloxi hairspring in silicon. This mechanism improves the Lady-Datejust 28 watch’s resistance to magnetic fields, temperature swings, and daily knocks. Operating at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, the Caliber 2236 supplies the Lady-Datejust with 55 hours of power reserve.
Similar to all modern Rolex movements, the Caliber 2236 is COSC-certified as a chronometer and it offers a precision rating deviation of up to -2/+2 seconds per day, after casing.
The Larger Rolex Lady-Datejust: A Worthy Successor
When Rolex announced it was retiring the long-running Lady-Datejust 26 to make way for the new and larger Lady-Datejust 28, we welcomed the news.
As is customary for Rolex, the iconic Lady-Datejust did not drastically change – because, why mess with a best-selling Rolex watch? Yet, the slightly larger case size coupled with the new-generation movement were just the right touches to refresh the iconic Lady-Datejust to suit today’s watch buyers.
Contemporary yet classic, fresh yet instantly recognizable, the modern Lady-Datejust 28 successfully continues the enduring legacy of Rolex’s quintessential lady’s luxury timepiece.