For decades, if you wanted to wear a Rolex Datejust, you were given one size option—36mm. Finally, in 2009, Rolex released a larger version of their flagship dress watch they called the Datejust II. Just seven short years later in 2016, Rolex replaced the Datejust II with the Datejust 41 collection. If you’ve ever wondered what exactly are the differences the Rolex Datejust II vs. Rolex Datejust 41, read on to find out.
The Rolex Datejust II
Featuring a 41mm Oyster case, the Datejust II was a much larger option than the classically sized Datejust 36. It was a welcome addition for many who appreciated the look of the Datejust but wanted a more robust men’s dress watch. The Datejust II takes the same design fundamentals of the original Datejust—round Oystter case, date window on the dial, Cyclops magnification lens on the sapphire crystal, and so on.
In true Rolex fashion, the Datejust II was made available in a number of styles and materials including full steel with smooth bezels (ref. 116300), steel with white gold fluted bezels (ref. 116334), and two-tone steel and yellow gold with fluted bezels (ref. 116333).
There are numerous dial color options such as blue, silver, white, and champagne, as well as hour marker choices ranging from baton to Roman numerals to Arabic numerals. But, the only bracelet style available with the Datejust II is the three-link Oyster bracelet.
Powering the Datejust II is the COSC-certified Caliber 3136 with a 48-power reserve.
The Rolex Datejust 41
In a surprising move, Rolex replaced the short-lived Datejust II collection with the Datejust 41. As its name suggests, the Datejust 41 retains the same 41mm case size, yet it appears more refined and elegant than its predecessor due to the thinner lugs and slimmer bezels.
Again, the Datejust 41 is available in a slew of metals including full stainless steel with smooth bezels (ref. 126300), stainless steel with white gold fluted bezels (ref. 126334), and two-tone yellow gold with smooth bezels (ref. 126303) or fluted bezels (ref. 126333). What’s more, there are also two tone Everose gold models available now with smooth bezels (ref. 126301) and fluted bezels (ref. 126331).
One major difference that the Datejust 41 brought to the table is the return of the Jubilee bracelet as an option. Remember, the Jubilee bracelet actually debuted on the Datejust in 1945, so it’s an integral part of the classic Datejust style.
However, the biggest change of the Datejust 41 is not on the exterior, but on the interior. These watches run on the new-generation Caliber 3235 automatic movement, which not only offers an amped up power reserve of 70 hours but also an improved accuracy rating of -/+ 2 seconds per day.
Rolex Datejust II vs. Rolex Datejust 41, Which One to Choose?
Although on paper the Datejust II and Datejust 41 have the same size specs, in reality, the former offers a sportier style while the latter has more elegant proportions. So you can base your decision on whether to choose the Datejust II or the Datejust 41 based on your personal style preference.
However, if an increased power reserve and the option of a Jubilee bracelet are important to you, then the Datejust 41 is a better choice.
In short, these are both fantastic models if you are looking for a larger Datejust watch and the choice of price points, materials, colors, and dial details are varied enough to suit a range of tastes.