Given their matching measurements and similar styles, it’s understandable that some confuse the Datejust II and the Datejust 41 as the same Rolex watch. However, these are indeed two different Rolex models, each with their own set of specs to note. Join us as we delve into the similarities and differences of the Datejust II vs. Datejust 41
A Quick History of the Rolex Datejust
The Datejust has been a mainstay of the Rolex catalog for well over seven decades now, having made its debut in 1945. Launched to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Rolex, the Datejust was the world’s first automatic wrist chronometer to indicate the date via a window on the dial. The Datejust also introduced the five-link Jubilee bracelet to the world, which remains one of Rolex’s most popular bracelet styles.
With its round case, date window at 3 o’clock, and Cyclops magnification lens protruding from the crystal, the Datejust grew to become the best selling Rolex collection of all time and an icon in luxury watches.
For most of the Datejust’s history, Rolex had made the watches available in three sizes: the 26mm Lady-Datejust, the 31mm midsize Datejust, and the 36mm men’s Datejust. However, by the late-2000s, Rolex finally acknowledged the trend for larger dress watches by introducing the Datejust II—the biggest Datejust ever made.
Rolex Datejust II
Rolex launched the Datejust II at Baselworld 2009, featuring a generously sized 41mm case. In addition to the bigger measurements, the Datejust II watches also included wider bezels, fatter lugs, and more prominent hour markers. What’s more, Rolex only ever fitted the Datejust II with the sporty three-link Oyster bracelet rather than offering the dressier Jubilee as an option. All these design details came together for a bolder and more masculine take on Rolex’s classic dress watch.
There are three main material options within the Rolex Datejust II lineup:
- Stainless steel Datejust II ref. 116300 with a smooth steel bezel
- Stainless steel Datejust II ref. 116334 with a fluted white gold bezel
- Two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Datejust II ref. 116333 with a fluted gold bezel
Powering the Datejust II watch is the Rolex Caliber 3136 automatic movement that not only supplies the watch with 48 hours of power reserve but also benefits from Paraflex shock absorbers for better resistance against accidental knocks.
After just seven short years of production, Rolex discontinued the Datejust II collection to make way for a new version of the largest Datejust watch.
Rolex Datejust 41
In 2016, Rolex replaced the Datejust II with the Datejust 41. Although on paper both watches have the same 41mm case size, Datejust 41 watches lean into more graceful proportions thanks to slimmer bezels, thinner lugs, and trimmer hour markers.
Compared to the Datejust II, the Datejust 41 range offers more variety with additional materials, bezel designs, and bracelet styles to choose from. Unlike its predecessor, the Datejust 41 now comes with the choice of the Oyster bracelet or the Jubilee bracelet.
The main references that make up the current Datejust II collection include:
- Stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126300 with a smooth steel bezel
- Stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126334 with a fluted white gold bezel
- Two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126303 with a smooth gold bezel
- Two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126333 with a fluted gold bezel
- Two-tone Everose gold and stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126301 with a smooth gold bezel
- Two-tone Everose gold and stainless steel Datejust 41 ref. 126331 with a fluted gold bezel
Also new to the Datejust 41 watch is the new-generation Rolex Caliber 3235 automatic movement, which boasts an amped-up 72-hour power reserve.
Datejust II vs. Datejust 41, Which is Best For You?
If you typically prefer sportier and beefier timepieces, then the Datejust II would be your best bet between the two options. However, since these are no longer part of Rolex’s current collection, Datejust II models are only available to purchase from the secondary market.
On the other hand, if you want a larger Datejust but appreciate slightly more restrained proportions and the option of the timeless Jubilee bracelet, then the Datejust 41 is the way to go. Plus, the updated movement of the newer Datejust model is an added benefit that many can’t resist.
Regardless of which one you ultimately opt for, both the Datejust II and the Datejust 41 are fantastic modern iterations of a Rolex classic.