Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust ‘Sigma’ Ref.1601 dated 1972 | steel automatic vintage wristwatch
An icon of 20th Century watch design, the Datejust Ref. 1601 is one of the most coveted of all vintage Rolex models. This example has a particularly desirable and charismatic grey ‘Sigma’ dial with contrasting white printed legend and tracking. So-called ‘sigma’ dials were introduced in the 1970s and are named after the use of the Greek letter which appears at the base of the dial to either end of the ‘Swiss’ graphic. These ‘sigmas’ indicate that the applied numerals to the dial are made from gold. Since numerals/indexes on watch dials are often either punched out from the dial’s surface and/or applied with a plated finish, the ‘sigma’ sign was a useful way to indicate when gold was used, thereby highlighting the quality of materials used. Gold indexes were not used as standard by Rolex and therefore ‘Sigma’ dials are especially prized by collectors. The edge of the dial with its track for minutes/seconds is stepped and chamfered, this creates a two-tone appearance and gives a greater sense of depth to the surface. It is interesting to note that neither the numerals nor hands have luminescent accents which is rarely seen as the majority of 1601 models had luminous detailing. Tritium which was commonly in use during this period often degraded the surface of coloured dials and its absence here has helped retain an excellent lustrous surface. The stainless steel Rolex Oyster case has a white gold fluted bezel which retains excellent definition. Set to a stainless steel Rolex Jubilee model 62510 bracelet with folding clasp, the watch is also accompanied by two Rolex pouches, one grey, the other green.
This watch was serviced by Rolex in June 2017 and is accompanied by the Rolex service booklet and card with the watch’s unique serial number. The watch has been used following its service and there are some light scuffs and scratches to the case, bracelet and crystal. There is some stretch to the bracelet.
[M] Rolex calibre 1570 automatic movement, lever escapement, 26 jewels, compensation balance, 19,800 BPH, Kif shock absorber
[D] satin finished light grey ‘Sigma’ dial with white printed tracks, signature and legend, applied white gold satin finished baton numerals, faceted hands, centre seconds; stainless steel Rolex Oyster case with white gold reeded bezel, the tops of the lugs and centre of the screw-down case back with satin finish, screw-down Rolex crown
[S] case, dial, movement and crown signed; set to a stainless steel satin and polished link Rolex Jubilee 62510 bracelet.
36mm diameter excluding crown
44mm length including lugs
12.5mm depth to centre of crystal
20mm strap width/lug gauge
195mm maximum bracelet length
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Rolex service card & booklet, 1 x green, 1 x grey Rolex pouch