The Rolex “President” often does not need an introduction as it is one of the worlds most recognizable and sought after timepieces amongst the general population. In some cases this watch is seen as a status symbol, but in my case I am just obtaining a watch I have sought after as an enthusiast for a few months and decided to pick one up. The term president actually derives from a few actual presidents of the USA who sported a DayDate during their terms. You might have seen this watch on JFKs wrist, even though Lyndon Johnson became the first U.S. president to wear the Day-Date. In 1966 Rolex advertised the watch–which cost $1,000 at the time (roughly $7,400 today)–emphasizing its connection to the Oval Office.
Another example of the President is worn on Tony Sopranos wrist in the HBO hit series “Sopranos”, where he portrays a Mafia boss in New Jersey. Anyway, very subtle changes have taken place in terms of aesthetic and appearance/function in some years ( 1966 Initial Release ) since the release of the original 1803 Day-Date which allows even this 1980 model to wear quite modern in todays times and will sure last a lifetime.
The 36MM 100 Meter water resistant case on the 18038 is made up of solid 18K yellow gold and has quite some heft for a 36MM watch. The 18038 is a bit thicker or girthier than the 18238 which followed this model and introduced a double quickset feature instead of a single quickset. The tops are finely brushed and the sides highly polished. The 20MM lug width allows the president bracelet to stand out and really shine. A beautiful domed sapphire crystal sits on top of the roman champagne stick dial and certainly is noticeable. The fluted 18K bezel also is a great feature to add elegance and class to this Rolex.
The champagne roman stick dial certainly shows some sign of aging as it is the original dial and is 38 years old. The gold Rolex crown and gold stick markers are placed evenly surrounded by classic romans between each 5 minute mark. The 2.5 magnified cyclops covers the date window and allows for easy legibility of the quickset date. Below the 12:00 position lies my favorite feature the Day function ( DAY-date ). The day is super easy to see and legibile, it also helps me sometimes when I forget what day of the week it is, LOL. In terms of lume this was a Tritium lumed dial hence the “T swiss made T” ar 6:00 and most of it is faded by now so there is really no lume on the watch at all. This is common as tritium lume dies out and has a half-life. The hands themselves are made of 18K gold and accompanying them is a nice thin long sweeping seconds hand in gold.
The 3055 Single Quickset automatic movement featured in the 18038 is a reliable and accurate chronometer certified movement. It features around 42 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 VPH. The movement of course is hackable and has a hand wind feature. These movements can last a lifetime or more if serviced properly and taken care of. So, we get a quickset date through the crown but the day of the week has to manually be changed by advancing the hands 24 hours. This changed in the more recent 18038 where we get a double quickset function.
The solid 18 Karat yellow gold bracelet is often referred to as the President bracelet while the watch it referred to as the Day Date. It features polished center links and brushed outerlinks with a concealer fold over clasp and a Rolex crown acting as a lever to open and close the bracelet. Gold screws are used to adjust the links. I must say it is one of the most comfortable bracelets to wear and really feels luxurious when on the wrist. Sized for my 6.5 inch wrist the watch and bracelet come in at 110 Grams, so it is not overly heavy in any way.
Conclusion + More Photos
Furthermore fellow addicts, the 18038 certainly is a watch that will hold value and will last long enough to pass it down to a child or family member. It is a sign of achievement, or just a sign of gaudiness. It certainly offers a lot of bang for the buck as this is a solid gold rolex and they sell on the pre-owned market with box and papers for around $10,500 USD. I hope you enjoyed the article and please check out the short hands on video below and please do subscribe to my YouTube channel as I update it weekly if not daily.