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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date in 18ct Yellow Gold - Reference 1803 - Calibre 1556 - circa. 1978

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Here we have for your delight, a vintage c.1978, Rolex Ref: 1803, 'President' Day-Date in yellow gold with a very rare factory diamond dial with a mixture of rounds and baguettes marking the hours and a fabulous bark bezel! 
Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law Hans Wilsdorf founded Wilsdorf and Davis, the company that would eventually become Rolex S.A., in London, England in 1905. 'Wilsdorf and Davis' main commercial activity at the time involved importing Hermann Aegler Swiss movements to England and placing them in watch cases made by Dennison and others. These early wristwatches were sold to many jewellers, who in turn put their own names on the dial. The earliest watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were usually hallmarked "W&D" inside the case back. In 1908, Wilsdorf registered the trademark Rolex, which became the brand name of watches from Wilsdorf and Davis. He opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Wilsdorf wanted the brand name to be easily pronounceable in any language, and short enough to fit on the face of a watch. He also thought that the name Rolex was onomatopoeic, sounding like a watch being wound.

What's On Offer

Here we have a stunning dress watch on a recently fitted genuine luxury Rolex leather strap which is adjustable in size and closes with a gold plated Rolex pin buckle.

The watch on offer is a c.1978 18ct Gold reference 1803 with Day and Date complication, stunning factory, diamond hour markers and eye catching bark bezel. This combination is one of the nicest examples of the reference we have handled and the bark bezel separates this piece from the masses. While the earliest models of the Day-Date were the ref. 6510 and the ref. 6511, it was necessary for Rolex to improve the mechanics of the movements of those early models. So, in 1959, Rolex unveiled the 18xx series of Day-Date watches. The Day-Date ref. 1803 is the most famous version within that series usually sporting a gold 36mm case and gold fluted bezel. The Day-Date ref. 1803 was in production throughout the 1960s until the late 1970s. The early models ran on the Cal. 1555 automatic movement until Rolex replaced it with the higher-beat Cal. 1556 automatic movement in the mid-1960s, renowned for their meticulous accuracy. 

The condition of the watch on offer is simply superb! The dial is elegant with real charm and sophistication and highly legible due to those striking diamond indices. The dial is free from blemishes and the whole watch is further enhanced by the bark bezel which significantly adds to this watches desirability and it is much rarer than the more common fluted bezels. The 36mm case has wonderful proportions which means the watch wear prominently on wrist without being too robust. On either a leather strap or a period correct gold presidential bracelet, this watch is a true statement piece. 

This luxury men’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date dress watch with its stunning 18ct yellow gold case dates back to 1978, with four figure reference 1803 and serial number 511xxxx.

Powered by a later Rolex 1556 calibre Chronometer Certified automatic movement with 26 jewels, the watch is in full working order and only recently serviced by our horologist, ready for both everyday wear and formal occasions - a luxurious addition to any vintage watch collection. 

Additional information

Made from

Case: 18ct yellow gold

Dial: Yellow sunburst with diamond markers

Crystal: Plexiglass

Bracelet: New Rolex Leather strap with Rolex gold plated pin buckle.

Technical specifications

Winding: Automatic and Manual wind

Movement type: Mechanical Automatic

Calibre: 1556

Jewels: 26j

Waterproof: When new

Purchase details

Condition: Excellent overall condition for age and has had a recent professional movement service and new strap and buckle fitted. This watch comes with its original Rolex President Box

Model Reference: 1803

Date of issue: c.1978


Supplied with a 12-month Vintage Watch Specialist guarantee 


Width without crown: 36mm

Lug width: 20mm

Lug height (lug to lug): 43mm

Wrist size: Adjustable