1986 Rolex Day-Date "Tiffany" Ref. 18038
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Reverently referred to as the “President” in watch collecting circles, the Rolex Day-Date has indeed been worn by many US Presidents. However, the moniker also speaks to the Day-Date’s stately position in both Rolex's line and in horological history. The Day-Date is considered the ultimate expression of Rolex’s upscale panache, a watch that takes the instantly recognizable form factor of an Oyster case and (most often) a textured bezel and elevates it by rendering it in precious metals and adds in a day wheel complication. In fact, the Day-Date was the first watch to offer both date and a day complication with the full day spelled out. A history maker, a watch that projects status like none other, and a model with an immense amount of variation available between references as Rolex has produced the Day-Date consistently since it first debuted in 1956.
With that kind of production life and variation, it’s safe to assume that despite being considered by many to be the Big Boss of the Rolex world, not all Day-Dates are created equal. Some, like this yellow gold ref. 18038 from 1985/86, have an extra bit of magic to them that places them in a class of their own. Whether it’s an exotic dial material, a day wheel in a rare language, or in this case, a dial that’s been co-signed by Tiffany & Co. -- meaning it was originally manufactured to be sold by the iconic retailer. Tiffany co-signed Rolexes are rare, incredibly sought after, and inject a watch that’s got the air of something special in its standard form with a massive dose of the “look closer effect” that watch collectors simply love.
This piece has obviously been well-cared for its entire life and is in what we consider great vintage condition. The case may have been very lightly polished in the past, but may simply display some light wear from normal use – something often referred to as a “sleeve polish.” The champagne Tiffany & Co. stamped dial is the real star of the show with this example and is flawless, with its original tritium lume present on both dial and handset. That lume has aged to a delicate, understated cream color that subtly telegraphs this watch’s age. For the collector looking for a Day-Date that will drop jaws at the watch hang or simply a great conversation starter, this is the ideal Rolex.
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