At the end of the 1970s, when the Swiss watch industry was in the middle of crisis, Japanese watchmakers invaded the world market with the quartz watch. Consequently, the Genevan brand Rolex decided to put forward a new line of watches to combat this event; thus, the Datejust Oysterquartz was born. Although not designed to turn the company’s tradition of producing mechanical watches upside down, it faced the international, namely Asian, markets seeking to keep alive interest in Swiss luxury watchmaking; an industry that seemed at that moment to have been completely absorbed by the Japanese quartz watch.
The conception of the Datejust Oysterquartz dates to the beginning of the 1970s, when the Rolex Company began to understand that this type of product could in some way establish itself on the market; and this was proved to be the case during the following years. The design of the watch is far removed from the classic Rolex line and carved characteristics of the period: a completely angular case, an integrated band with a polished finish and sapphire glass. Regarding the materials used to make this watch, the whole range consisted of three versions: gold, steel with white gold bezel and steel and yellow gold. At the start, the Datejust Oysterquartz was somewhat overlooked in Europe; however, it was much sought-after in the Asian and American markets. A renewed interest in the watch was sparked when Rolex decided to take the Oysterquartz out of its catalogue and thus out of production. The era of the quartz movement watch ended in 2001, having lasted less than three decades. The Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz began to appear in the most important auctions houses’ catalogues, becoming a highly valued object in the collectors’ market.