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The day I tried on a Rolex 1803 President Day Date

Two weeks ago I found myself in a situation where I could try on a vintage Rolex 1803 in yellow gold with bracelet.

I’ve always kept away from the President because it was an old man’s watch - something that made its wearer look and feel older. I wasn’t ready to be called an “uncle” yet.

But I went and tried it anyway. Taking the watch in hand the vintage bracelet felt lighter than expected, its loose links swaying as I brought the 18k gold watch case to my waiting wrist.

36mm is a good size for me, I know it from the DateJusts that I own. The lugs rest short of the edge of my wrist, the sides breaking into a nice curved shadow.

What hits me most about solid gold watches is the weight, and this is no different. The bracelet pulls my wrist down, light shining through the empty spaces that will need to be removed.

And then there’s the shine. From the lightly polished fluted bezel. From the brushed top on the horn lugs. From the polished sides on the case. Three different degrees of sheen, three reasons to fall in love.

The longer I had the watch on the more I wanted one. My impression of the President Day Date shifted from an old man’s watch to a successful person’s timepiece.

So I still wasn’t ready. No photos this time - not until I deserve such a watch. But the damage is done, and a vision set.

One time is all it takes, to be shown once and for all why this watch is the one to beat.

©.2023. Reproduce with permission. Further enquiries at

Best viewed on desktop, because you should really take your time with vintage.

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