There is a very common question many watch buyers would like to know before spending money. What is the difference between a Rolex Ladies Datejust from the late 1970's until 2010 and why are the priced so differently? Honestly, Rolex did not make many cosmetic changes to the ladies datejust model from the late 70s until the early to mid 2000's reference which we will discuss below. This is largely due to already working out the kinks and aesthetics through the men's model.
Lets begin by looking at the models, starting with one of the most popular and common models that started it all off, the 6917:
First released in the 1960's, Rolex designed a watch that was a smaller version of the original Datejust. The smaller size of the watch made it more appealing to women, and boy did it work. It was sleek, it was sexy, and every woman wanted one as their next gift. The Lady Datejust is the highest selling Rolex watch of all time. Now let's break down the components:
Yellow Gold and Yellow Gold
Pink Mother of Pearl
Blue Mother of Pearl
Light Blue Mother of Pearl
White Mother of Pearl
8 Round Diamonds + Diamond Roman 6 & 9
8 Round Diamonds + Diamond Arabic 6 & 9
No Hour Markers
Roman Hour Markers + Diamond Roman 6 & 9
The later two models have some differences in options and technology which we'll cover next.
By 1983 Rolex was ready for the next step in the Ladies Datejust's journey and they released model 69173. While not a seismic jump forward, the watch did have some significant differences from the previous version. Most notably, they added the option for it to come in a combination stainless steel and white gold and the option to get the bracelet in Oyster. They also made it easier to set the date on your watch with a quickset date function.
In 2000 Rolex released the most recent version of the Ladies Datejust, model 179173. While similar to the 69173, there were some differences. The largest change was an upgrade to the winding mechanism which powered the watch movements and the new link bracelet which was solid in color and had a hidden clasp.
Why the cost differences?
There are three main factors that lead to pricing differences during these era's; changes to technology and design, cost of materials, and the demand for specific models. Throughout these periods there were advancements in the components used to make watches and new features were made available which made newer watches more valuable from previous years. In addition, changing fashion trends would influence the value of a watch. When it comes to the cost of materials, gold prices significantly increased over this period. Watches that featured gold bracelets have had their prices increase accordingly.
What this all comes down to is the 6917 tends to be the cheapest of the three, the 69173 is usually priced in the middle and the 179173, and newest version, is often the most expensive. But don't worry, we have great prices on all of our ladies watches.