Complete Overview Of The Puzzling Rolex Emoji Day-Date 36
Simon Schneider21 April 2023 | 5 min read
People, and companies for that matter, tend to act with a surprising amount
of consistency. Living proof of that is the yearly spectacle of Rolex releases.
These manage to consistently surprise the watch community with more of the
same. In spite of all that consistency the new Emoji Day-Date 36 was something
that nobody saw coming.
Rolex Yearly Rollercoaster of Emotions
This specific cycle of events always takes a similar form. It starts with
the Rolex fans trying to fiendishly predict what will get released. Their fantasies will inevitably be met with disappointment which quickly turns into
The peak of this emotional rollercoaster will be found in a specific watch that, if you were to believe the different online forums, seems to be made entirely for the purpose of antagonising Rolex groupies. A watch, it
seems, made only to remind us that watch enthusiasts aren’t necessarily the
brand’s target customer group.
The target group, it seems when looking at this year’s boogeyman, seems to be those so rich it borders on vulgarity. The reason for all the outrage is Rolex seemingly disrespecting the collection’s senior citizen by creating a
Day-Date that does many things but certainly does not pay respect to its roots. A Day-Date that has forgone having both a day or a date.
Having seemingly embraced their inner Bamford the crown has decided to
release a watch that in due time will be spotted on the wrist of Drake as a
perfect complement to his erotic Richard Mille.
Introducing the Rolex Emoji Day-Date
The recipe for controversy, in this case, was a simple one. The day wheel got altered to display seven different affirmations such as “Love”, “Gratitude”, or “Peace”. The date wheel
now displays 31 unique emojis. Unique, in this case, just means that Rolex drew 30 popular emojis themselves and added the Rolex coronet.
The amount of attention this off catalogue piece commanded is impressive. It
has managed to steal the spotlight from notable catalogue releases like the new
Yacht-Master 42 in titanium, the Oyster Perpetual with a whimsical bubble
design, and the updated Daytona.
Size & Versions of the Emoji Day-Date
The new Day-Date will only be available in the smaller 36mm size. To make
up for that we will be able to get versions in white, yellow, or rose gold.
Pricing details have yet to be released but will be completely irrelevant.
Already destined to be a collector darling it will only ever be available on
the secondary market where retail prices historically hold no relevance for
popular Rolex watches.
The Highlight of the Watch
The madness of this watch is complemented by ten baguette-cut sapphires in
different colours to function as the hour markers, which by themselves would
make for a notable release. The real highlight, which has been largely ignored
in favour of outrage about the Rolex stooping down to “emoji level”, is the
Enamel colouring has long been at the forefront of high-end dials and is an
art that requires artisanal craftsmanship. Rolex, being a brand that produces
high-end watches on a large scale, has usually skipped this ordeal as enamel by
its nature does not lend itself to mass production.
Champlevé Enamel Dial
That is why it is so interesting that the new emoji Day-Date features a champlevé enamel dial. It
pictures a colourful puzzle motif which makes it immediately stand out in the
modern Rolex landscape in case you would fail to notice the emojis at a
Champlevé dials are manufactured completely differently from the more
commonly seen cloisonné technique. Cloisonné starts with a thin metal disk on
which wires are carefully placed to then be filled up with the enamel.
Champlevé uses a thicker metal disk in which cavities are engraved to then be
The result will look the same but I imagine champlevé is a process that
can be more easily and consistently produced by machinery. With this technique,
when properly optimised, requiring less manual labour it could be an indicator
of more enamel dials to be expected in the future for Rolex.
Main Critique of the Emoji Day-Date
The enamel extravagance of this watch has been largely ignored in favour of
one major critique that has been howled through online forums like a scream of
sheer terror. A Day-Date is no longer a Day-Date if it features neither a
day nor a date. This was seen as living proof of Rolex finally losing its
marbles, betraying its customers, and spitting on its heritage.
To consider the emoji Rolex the first watch from the brand to ignore its
original purpose is to be ignorant of the brand’s history. The exceedingly
popular rainbow Daytona has replaced its tachymeter bezel, which is key for its
stated purpose, in favour of a sapphire bezel and wasn’t even the first Daytona
to do so. Another example is the ref. 116659SABR which is a Submariner which
has no depth rating due to its excessive use of gemstones.
What then must be the real reason for the outrage? After all, this is an
off-catalogue piece that won’t affect any of the people found complaining over
this release. Additionally, this piece offers a level of creativity many have
claimed Rolex has given up.
There is a sense of irony, potentially even schizophrenia, in the same people in the same release cycle claiming Rolex lost all sense of creativity when looking at the new Daytona yet stating the brand
has gone too far with the new Day-Date.
The truth is that the emoji Day-Date isn’t for the type of customer found on
online forums. If Rolex’s clientele would be only made up of die-hard watch
nuts it wouldn’t be Rolex. The emoji Day-Date isn’t a seismic shift in the
brand’s identity. It is the brand being itself. The reaction to it is just
their fans being themselves.
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