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Rolex has and probably will always be in the wishlist of many people. Be it because of a certain model, a certain vintage piece, or just because of the brand name itself.

The new models’ prices have gone so high that it is probably not very attainable for the majority of more common “people” with lets say just a little above average income. But thankfully, secondary market is around, and due to the popularity of Rolex, there’s an abundance of preowned models available.

Today I want to talk about the watch that is often overlooked, and not so popular compared to it’s larger or smaller siblings. The Rolex DATE. Yes, just date, not date-day, not datejust, just date. The shorter name implies to it’s smaller size too, despite there are smaller datejusts for women, the date, is generally a watered down datejust 36mm, with a smaller size.

Or in modern terms, an Oyster Perpetual 34mm, with a date. Funny.

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The Rolex Date Ref 15200 is one of the latest iteration before they swap to the slightly thicker case, with beefier lugs. While the newer models have slight difference, like the thicker case and lugs, they also sport a slightly domed bezel, where as the 15200 has a flat steel polished bezel.

Beating inside is the venerable calibre 3135, one of the longest running, longest lasting workhorse from Rolex. It has a date complication, of course, as suggested by the model name.

The case is 34mm in diamater, without crown, which is “dimunitive” in todays’ standard, especially when being compared with the Datejust41 for example. One could mistake this as a “ladies watch”.

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I personally think, for a circular watch, the 34-38mm size is as classic as it gets. While I do own watches that goes above 40mm, even at 45mm, I bought them for totally different reasons, and they look totally different as well for different occassions. But for day to day wear, be it casual, smart, office, or anything whatnot, I always get my datejust or date, or something around the same size. Because I think it easily goes along with anything I wear.

The Date is also a more simple watch compared to it’s bigger brother, it doesn’t have the popular whitegold fluted bezel, nor does it have jubilee bracelets for it too. It’s just an all steel watch, with simple no nonsense polished bezel, and fully brushed stainless steel bracelet.

Build quality and finishing is as always excellent, while the newer versions are of course better, these older ones are still great. Look at how the brushing looks, immaculate.

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You also don’t get much option with the 15200’s dial, you have the blue, the grey/silver, and you have this, somewhat-buckley-ish dial. With white glossy dial. The dial is very glossy I could even call it porcelain at one point, but I think it would be misleading, because I don’t think it is actually porcelain, but it looks like so.

White gold is material of choice for its hands, indexes, and the Crown at 12. While I find the combination of this dial is quite unusual, because normally, with painted roman numerals, any gold indexes is absent from the dial, and vice versa. Having both on the dial is quite funny, I thought it would be busy, but it turns out it’s pretty great.

It does however, make the dial somewhat more crowded than I would have liked. Due to the smaller size as well, so the dial real estate is also tighter and smaller. Having too many elements on it, may clutter the dial. Thankfully, the dial is pristinely clean white, makes it alot easier. These two combinations is also great, it plays with the light well (the white gold indexes), and the roman numerals makes it abit more classic.

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Pardon my prints, I missed cleaning that part before taking the pic. The watch I have here has the standard Rolex crown, a “no pin hole” case, solid brushed osyter bracelet, but it is still a hollow endlink one.

Whole I personally don’t mind, but hollow end links tends to bend if mistreated, and getting it back to the correct proportion/size/shape is no easy task. I prefer solid endlinks any day. Oh one thing to note, the bracelet here is 19mm in width, so you cant interchange the bracelet with larger models, not even the 36mm datejusts. A shame, but it is what it is. The newer OP34mm however, has a 20mm wide bracelet.

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Due to it’s ”cheaper model” nature, the clasp here is nothing fancy, and definitely something you’d want to forget. While the finishing is okay, the materials being used is shameful. I have seen cheaper watches with a sturdier, thicker clasp, and having Rolex sell their watches at a premium price, they could at least somewhat offer a better standard.

The newer ones are of course, better, but at 2001-or so, they could and should have a better clasp in my opinion.

It’s a friction snap on lock and thats it. While it is quite sturdy, but there is no double protection, or trigger, for that extra safety. In short, nothing to brag about, it works and serves its purpose, and could be better.

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On my 16.5cm circumference wrist, oval shaped, I think the watch wears really great, Despite people may consider it somewhat small in modern standards, I find it to be a well all-rounder. It goes great with a suit, goes well with any office attire, and still cool with jeans.

Whats more is that the price on the secondary market, is highly attainable, compared to it’s larger brother. This one would go around 2500USD probably depending on the condition, but for the same period year, the larger 36mm Datejust will set you back even more.

While I am blessed to have both, I think the DATE is really a great “entry level” watch in the preowned market.

You get a really tough 3135 movement, which is the second latest generation, you get sapphire crystal, you get the no fuss luminova dial, oyster steel bracelet, and so on. Theres so much modernity in it.

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I highly recommend this watch to anyone who wants to buy a Rolex, without splashing too much cash, and without worrying about older movements that needs servicing. Its a simple, no worry no fuss watch, and with it’s current price on the secondary market, it is a no brainer.

Unless of course you have a 22cm circumference wrist, then I suggest you stay away from this and get the larger version instead.

Thank you for reading!
 
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