The Rolex Datejust is one of the most iconic and, arguably, greatest watches of all time. It's not just a single watch, either, with vintage examples from its decades-long history offering interesting variations and discussion that can fill a book.
Literally, as it turns out. A Dutch dealer of vintage watches has compiled the material for just that and is seeking funding on Kickstarter to make his writing, research and collection of materials and photographs into a hardcover book that you'd relish having on your coffee table.
Can you really fill a whole book about a single watch model? If you're asking that question, you clearly don't grasp the extent of Rolex mania or the degree of vintage watch collectors' passion (especially for Rolex). There are, in fact, many books about watches, about Rolex, about vintage Rolex, about single watch models like Omega's Moonwatch and even some about lesser known brands or models — it's almost odd that there isn't already a book specifically on the Rolex Datejust, and that speaks to the viability of this Kickstarter project.
The book has set its parameters of "vintage" from the time of the Datejust's debut in 1945 up until 1990, and it aims to include everything from common and accessible models to rare examples. Buying a vintage watch, and vintage Rolex in particular, though, can be tricky and intimidating. The Datejust is a great watch for newbies to get into the scene with, but there's a lot to take in, and in the words of the author, Thomas van Straaten:
"Finding reliable and complete information on a vintage watch model of your choosing is crucial, both for starters as well as long-time collectors. You want to know what variants are out there. You want to be able to judge a watch’s configuration for correctness. You want to be able to spot a relumed or a refinished dial. You want to know about the history of a watch. You want, in short, to know what you are getting into. "
In addition to experience working as a vintage watch dealer, van Straaten has researched for the book by traveling, consulting collectors and experts and even photographing the watches himself. At this stage, the Kickstarter project is seeking funding primarily for "proper professional design and quality printing." Watch books like this are often much more than sources of information but also visual treats that you can enjoy as objects in and of themselves.
The project is, at time of writing, more than half funded and moving quickly toward its goal of EUR14,060. Early backers will get the book for around the equivalent of $80 while the eventual retail price will be about $115. There's more info on the Kickstarter page, and the book is slated for delivery to customers in March 2022. It just might help you buy a Datejust, as well as to enjoy that watch in greater depth once it's on your wrist or in your collection.