The NEW Rolex Day-Date Onyx Dial with Baguette Diamonds 228238

Rolex Day-Date 40 Onyx Baguette 228238


After spending a few episodes discussing “cutting edge” modern watches, it feels like today we have an “old school” treat in store for you. 

This is the Rolex Day-Date 40 Onyx Baguette, reference 228238. 

Full 18 carat yellow gold and measuring 40mm diameter by 47.5 which makes it suitable for most wrist sizes as the length of the piece is more than manageable on a smaller wrist. 

Remember that the length of a watch has more of an impact on its wearability than width, as its the length which can create “overhang” on the wrist which makes a watch appear visually “too large” on its wearer. 

No such trouble here. 

This being a Day-Date, it’s mounted on the iconic “President” bracelet with polished centre links. It’s the bracelet which gives the Day-Date its often used “President” nickname. 

The 40mm Day-Date has a 21mm lug width which balances out the head and the overall weight of the watch perfectly. 

A huge plus point on the newer Rolex (particularly precious metal) bracelets is that the infamous “bracelet stretch” has been done away with courtesy of ceramic coated screws and pins. 

In older Rolex models, the bracelets used to gradually wear over time thanks to dust and grit particles making their way into the links and pins courtesy of the wrists natural oily secretions. 

This made an abrasive paste which over time gradually wears down the metal on the pins/screws and link interiors which gave the bracelets the appearance of “stretch”. 

It was a common problem, particularly with the hollow link Jubilee bracelet, but all were affected. 

The use of ceramics prevent this wear by abrasion ensuring that modern Rolex bracelets retain their integrity for years.

That said, the best way to preserve your bracelet will always be to keep it clean regardless of age. 

The dial on this is special. 

Its made from Onyx which is a variety of gemstone notable for its jet-black appearance with grey or white parallel striations. This particular dial has a beautiful almost marble-like grey striation running across it which serves as a reminder that this is a stone dial and its depth of colour is achieved through nature rather than enamelling and gloss. 

For those who believe, onyx is said to shield from negativity and symbolises strength and decisiveness, at least the latter will help you to say “Yes, I’ll take it.” 

Organic dials have always been incredibly popular amongst the Rolex lines and have been used since the 1970s. 

Although there is a huge variation ranging from Burlwood to coral via Lapis Lazuli and Tigers Eye, Onyx is the most widely seen as the contrast between the striking black against yellow gold has always been a winning combination. 

Add baguette markers into the mix and you cant go wrong. 

The baguettes if you look closely are set in yellow gold which is a nice touch that ties everything together. 

Running the show is the shock resistant Rolex calibre 3255 which gives 70 hours of power reserve and accuracy of +2/-2 seconds per day. 

This calibre features a double quickset day and date which is both the norm these days and a blessing as setting a non quickset day-date is an exercise in patience. 

To cut a long story short, from 1956-1983 DD users were very similar to safe crackers in their dedication to twizzling a dial/crown until everything lined up correctly.

In the early 80s Rolex introduced the single quickset to the DD range so that the date could be set independently, but it wasn’t until ’99 that the double quickset was released where both day and date could be set at speed. 

Evolution not revolution in action. 

To change the day and date on this modern reference - unscrew crown and pull out to first position - roll crown up for date and down for day. 

Pulling the crown out to the second position allows you to stop (hack) the seconds and set the time. 

Bosh done. 

The Day-Date was first launched in 1956, and was the first watch to display both the date, and the day written in full, in 26 different t languages. 

They were initially launched on the President bracelet which remains in situ today. 

It is said that the Day-Date is never made from stainless steel, and while that is broadly true, however, some prototypes were gifted to long-time Rolex watchmakers after they had served their testing purpose, and there are a handful of steel Day-Dates with Roman numeral dials under the 1950s 6611 reference. 

Bit of trivia there.

They were first referred to as “The President” in 1957, and true to form have been on many a presidential wrist ranging from Ford, JFK (a gift from Marilyn) to Lyndon B Johnson. 

On a slightly less glamorous note they have also been called the “Texas Timex” due to being seen on the wrists of so many oil barons.  

Regardless of nomenclature, the Day-Date is the flagship model in the Rolex range and has gathered a huge list both male and female admirers in its 67 production years including Kevin Hart, Jennifer Anniston, Lebron James, Connor McGregor, Brad Pitt, Sofia Vergara, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and Fidel Castro. 

Currently, it is my grail watch, particularly the 36mm cherry dialled white gold reference 118239. This is particularly interesting since i’ve always been a slavish follower of stainless steel “tool” watches and the idea of being without a Submariner or a GMT Master is something that brings out a cold sweat. 

Maybe its maturity, but on more than a couple of occasions ive considered becoming a “one watch” type, and if I was ever to commit to such lunacy - the venerable Day-Date would it.