The decision to purchase a luxury watch is a very important one. In addition to just being a functional device to tell time, a high-end watch can end up staying in your family for generations. Whether you purchase one as a gift for a milestone, a special occasion, or you’re in the market for one as a reward for yourself, watch shopping takes careful consideration.
Given how expensive watches can be, it pays to leave yourself with options and to see which watch suits your individual preferences. You may be more concerned with functionality over aesthetics, or you may be looking for something that you only wear a few times a year. Regardless, a watch is an investment no matter how you look at it.
Rolex is one of the most trusted brands in watches, and manufactures a variety of extremely luxurious, cutting-edge timepieces. If you’re in the market for a watch, you’ll certainly want to consider checking out a Rolex. However, we found that not all Rolex watches are created equal. When it comes to the Datejust series of ladies watches, we found that there were really only two that blew us away: the Datejust 26mm President 69178 and the Datejust 26mm 79178.
While each watch was very similar we found that the Datejust President was a much more robust, elegant timepiece that blended style, fashion and durability into its overall design. That being said, the Datejust 79718 was a worthy contender, but couldn’t quite measure up to the Datejust President when it came to aesthetics and wearability.
The Datejust President 69178 vs the Datejust 79178
Both the 69178 and the 79178 Rolex watches are designed more for luxury and style than they are for use in rugged, everyday settings. You won’t want to wear them unless you’re going to some kind of special occasion where dressing well is a priority. They aren’t the best choice for those who spend a lot of time outdoors, or for those who travel. At 26 mm, they’re both women’s watches with slightly smaller faces than some other available men’s Rolexes.
They are both part of the Rolex Datejust series, which was first introduced in 1945. The main difference of the Datejust series from its predecessor is that the date function is located at the 3 o’clock position. The face is also a little larger than some earlier models as a means of accommodating the newer date wheel, and a sapphire crystal is used to replace the earlier acrylic of the watch’s face, which gives the Datejust series its memorable, signature look.
Last but not least, the Datetjust was one of the first watches to have something called a “cyclops” feature, which references the magnified window over the date function that was put in place to enhance clarity.
The Datejust President 69178
The Datejust President 69178 has a round face, a sapphire window and is made entirely of stunning, vibrant 18k yellow-gold. The case diameter is 26 mm and the case thickness is 11 mm. It has a champagne-colored dial and a yellow-gold fluted bezel to match the case. It fits comfortably on the wrist by way of a fold-over clasp that locks securely, and the dial is marked with Roman Numerals rather than Arabic hour markers.
Movement and Features
Watch movement is an important feature of any timepiece, and is considered to be the driving force of the watch. It is an extremely sensitive set of components, and is responsible for moving the hands, chronograph and calendar (if applicable). The 69178 has an automatic watch movement, which means it operates and winds itself in response to the motion of the wearer’s wrist.
Inside is a metal disc that pivots around a spindle to accomplish this automated feature. As a result, you won’t have to wind Datejust President 69178 if you plan on wearing it every day. For a luxury watch, this seems essential because it minimizes the amount of work you’ll have to do to keep the watch operating.
The 69178 also has a quickset date function, which means the watch will set its day and date mechanisms either forward or backward without the need to adjust the minute hand. Lastly, the face is scratch-resistant, and the crown is held in place by a series of screws that are discreetly placed on the bottom of the timepiece.
Overall, the Datejust President is a comfortable watch, but it is a bit clunky due to its heavier weight. You’ll want to have it adjusted to that it doesn’t slide around on your wrist too much, but the thickness and density of the gold design makes this hard to avoid. As previously mentioned, this is a luxury watch and is meant to be worn during important occasions, so it’s weight was somewhat justified.
It isn’t a tactical timepiece, and thus may feel a little bit larger and more cumbersome to wear for some owners. However, it isn’t so heavy or bulky that it will become a major distraction. What it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in elegance.
The Datejust 79178
The Datejust 79178 is made partially of 18K yellow-gold with a 26mm oyster case. The dial bears the Rolex logo with a gorgeous gold crown above it as well. Like the 69178 it has a sapphire window, but the case is slightly different than the 69178. It’s made of a blend of steel and 18k gold, and the bezel has the same blended composition.
The dial is also has a slightly different look. It comes in white rather than champagne like its counterpart making it appear brighter and flashier. The watch also has a stylish, hidden clasp that we found to be an excellent addition because it made the overall design seem more polished and streamlined.
Movement and Features
Much like the Datejust President 69178, the Datejust 79178 has self-winding, automatic movement, an 18k yellow-gold fluted bezel and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial. It also has the signature Datejust cyclops magnifier for easy viewing of the date as well. The date is located the 3 o’clock position like all watches in the Datejust series.
The hour markers are also different from the 69178, and are made of gold batons rather than Roman Numerals. This made the dial seem a little bit less regal and high-quality, and gave the watch the appearance of something more basic. The crown is also 18k gold and is screwed in from the bottom with 4 hidden screws. Last but not least, as a result of the oyster case, the watch is waterproof up 100 meters.
Despite having a little bit more functionality due to its waterproof design, we found the 79178 to feel a little less well-made than the 69178. As far as robustness, it was at the other end of the spectrum when it came to wearability. It felt too light, and the clasp wasn’t as secure as the the Datejust President 69178. It was easy to forget that it was on which, for some timepieces, may be considered a good thing. However, for a luxury watch, we felt that it reduced the overall value.
Why We Chose The Datejust President 69178
One the main reasons we chose the Datejust 69178 as our winner was the look of it. We also found that it had a much more comfortable fit, despite being on the heavier side. The white dial on the 79178 had a much less aesthetically pleasing appearance. The brighter gold and white dial made the watch look cheaper, tackier and less sophisticated than its counterpart. We also felt that the baton hour markers were too understated and weren’t as eye-catching as the Roman Numerals on the 69718.
The 79178 may have been waterproof up to 100 meters, but we didn’t feel that this was totally necessary for a luxury watch. We would rather the watch not be waterproof but have a more elegant look. Considering that you’ll likely want to wear a watch like this to events like weddings, graduations or other big celebrations, its waterproof capabilities didn’t seem to add much value.
Again, both of these timepieces were exceptional and would both make great choices, but in the end the look and feel of the Datejust President 69178 propelled it into the number one spot.
What To Consider When Buying A Watch
Buying a watch is more than just choosing the first one that catches your eye. You wouldn’t buy a new car without checking out what’s going on under the hood, would you? Certainly not. If you’re going to spend a large sum of money, you’ll want to know how well the car runs, as well as what other costs may be associated with owning it. The same thing applies to timepieces, and there are a variety of factors you’ll want to consider when you begin search for the right one.
Ask About Service Plans
Even the most well-made watches can break down. They are not assembled automatically in factories, and many of the parts are delicately put in place by watchmakers themselves. In fact, the higher quality the watch, the more fragile they can be. Things, like dropping a watch, or bumping it into a door, could shift the carefully calibrated parts inside, which may throw off the device’s performance. If you’re going invest in a luxury watch, always ask about a service plan just in case of excessive wear and tear.
Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate
If you’re buying watch used, you should always try to get the lowest price possible. You won’t likely be able to negotiate if you buy a watch new directly from the manufacturer, but if you buy from a physical store that deals in used merchandise, you can always compare and contrast prices for the best deal. Do your research on the model you’re looking at, and present your findings to the salesperson. Also, shopping for watches on the internet can be risky, and also may make it more difficult to negotiate. If possible, shop in a physical location and try to get the best price possible.
Learn About Maintenance
Again, in the same way that cars need regular maintenance, watches may need regular tune-ups to keep functioning at their best. You’ll likely need to take your watch to be cleaned or to have the battery changed. Also, not all watches are water-resistant, and many need to be checked periodically for water damage. Consult the manufacturer to see what the recommended maintenance schedule is for the watch you’re thinking of purchasing. Also take the cost of maintenance into account. This will play a big factor in the overall price of the watch you choose.
Unfortunately, watches can be counterfeited very easily. Rolex watches are especially subject to counterfeiting, making the need for a keen eye for fakes essential when watch shopping. There is actually an easy way to tell if a Rolex is fake or not. The best way to check if a Rolex is genuine is to search the reference number and the serial number to be sure that the bracelet, bezel and design are consistent with the model you’re considering. Don’t ever leave your watch’s authenticity up to chance.
It may seem nitpicky to choose a watch based on minor differences in the design and wearability, but a Rolex is something you’ll have for years, and aesthetics are actually of the utmost importance. While the Datejust President 69178 and the Datejust 79178 were about equal when it came to features, the 69178 was just a prettier, higher-quality watch overall. From the champagne-colored dial, to the solid gold construction, it had us enamored from the first look.