Sunday, April 11, 2021

Watches and Wonders: New Datejust 36mm Palm Motif Dial


If you ask me what among Rolex's new releases will emerge to be the hot piece of 2021, the way the turquoise-dialed Oyster Perpetual drove the market crazy last year, I'd say the 36mm Datejust with the palm motif dial. 

While most of the press watch world wonders every year how Rolex will update its sports line—especially what is discontinued—I enjoy watching the brand display expertise in other areas of watchmaking, such as dial-making or gem setting. (In my opinion, Rolex's mastery in gem setting is unparalleled.)

Rolex is finding ways to use reflection—or "play of light," as one Rolex rep told me—to make a watch look naturally more lustrous. The latest Explorer's case has been redesigned, for example, to make better use of reflection in order to highlight the case profile.

While some demure the lack of anti-reflective coating on crystals in Rolex watches, I like how light bounces off the crystal and makes the dial gleam. I can sometimes spot a Rolex watch wearer in a store or restaurant by the small flashes of glint from the watch's face. 

The laser-etched palm motif dial on the 36mm Datejust released this year is the latest example of Rolex playing with light to enhance a watch's appeal.

The 36mm size has always been a key size at Rolex. I joke that 36mm Datejust is Latin for "timeless." Rolex watch expert and collector Eric Ku calls it the golden size—and a reason why Rolex has never stopped making the 36mm Day-Date. "Any [size] that they do subsequent to that is to capture another piece of demographics," he said. Besides, a 36mm Datejust can still be pulled off by most men and women.

A Rolex rep told me that the green of the palm motif dial is darker in real life than in the digital presentation, making the watch more masculine. A Youtuber with close to 20,000 subscribers, who comments almost daily about all things Rolex, said the palm motif dial appeals to his tree-hugger side. 

In my opinion, this year's releases showcase Rolex's expertise in dial making in two extremes: a dial that is inspired from deep within Earth's ground—a palm tree; and a dial from outer space, the new Daytona's meteorite dial. The very trendy green color, combined with the timeless and universal 36mm size of a classic Datejust, the reflection from its dial pattern, all are making this watch the sleeper hit watch of 2021.