Rolex Datejust 31 vs. 36 mm [The ONLY Sizing Guide You Need!]
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rolex datejust 31mm vs 36 mm

Rolex Datejust 31 vs. 36 mm [The ONLY Sizing Guide You Need!]

When I think of the classic Rolex, many come to mind, like the Submariner, the GMT-Master, or the Explorer, but these are more tool watches. The one watch that fits any style is the Datejust. It is a simple watch with a date function and a timeless design that works in every facet of modern life.

Anywhere from the office to the beach to a formal event, the Datejust can do it all. I’ll be focusing on the 31mm and 36mm variations of the model because I believe 36mm is the do it all size, with 31mm being there for the more feminine design.

And yes, wrist size is a factor for both versions, but there are numerous factors when deciding between the two. Many might say what about the Day-Date? Yes, it’s a great watch, but it suits itself best at the 41mm size, in my opinion, because of its proportions on the dial.

The Day-Date is also more of a blingy watch, no matter the version. The Datejust is a more understated watch overall, in my opinion. For this article, I will focus on the current catalog and not vintage or discontinued models of the 31mm and 36mm variations of the Datejust.

History of the Datejust

Rolex Datejust

In 1945, Rolex was celebrating its 40th anniversary as a watchmaking company, and with that, a new watch was designed and produced to celebrate the occasion. The result of this anniversary was the Rolex Datejust

It wasn’t just the timepiece that made a significant splash, but the bracelet it came on, the now famous jubilee, that many companies have copied or tried to emulate over the years. The Datejust, in its current catalog, offers the watch in both the jubilee and Oyster bracelets.

Many people who buy watches today are aware that a date complication is very common, but what they don’t know is that this function was first introduced with the Datejust. An automatic watch that instantly changes over the date at midnight.

The first reference of the Datejust was the 4467, and it came in 18k gold. There have been many versions since in precious metals, stainless steel, and of course, the famous two-tone or Rolesor (gold and stainless steel). 

The purpose of the Datejust is simple. It’s a versatile watch at 31mm and 36mm sizes for men and women for anything from a walk in the park, to a board meeting, to a night out with friends, dressed up or dressed down.

31mm Versus 36mm

Rolex Datejust 31mm vs 36mm

For all intents and purposes, the similarities between the 31mm and 36mm versions of the Rolex Datejust are very apparent. They have similar case shapes, dial layouts, and bracelets and have the signature date function with the cyclops magnifier.

The differences are subtle in that the 31mm is obviously smaller and looks the part. It’s of a more feminine design and plays that part as it is usually the choice for women. 

That being said, many women look great in the 36mm version of the watch, and I also think there are some men that the 31mm Datejust would look right at home. Yes, of course, wrist size plays a determining role in the correct fit and look of one’s watch.

Another difference of the 31mm is that many of its designs are geared toward the more feminine. Many of the watches are gem set on the bezel and the indices. Not that the 36 mm doesn’t have these things, but the 31mm version does it with more of a jewelry design in mind. Just look at the flower, diamond design of one of the new 2022 31mm Datejust models.

The 36mm sticks to a more classic design, with things like honeycomb dials, solid color design, the classic Wimbledon dial, roman numerals, etc. Yes, both the 31mm and 36mm versions have many of the same dial designs, but the 31mm leans more towards the feminine side of design, whereas the 36mm leans more towards the traditional, as shown in this black dialed, two-tone Everose gold 36mm Datejust.

Other common traits between the Datejust 31mm and 36mm include the smooth and fluted bezel options, baton hands, roman numerals, and gem-set design. Regardless of the size, any Datejust model on the wrist is instantly recognizable as a Rolex.

What’s the Best Rolex Datejust Size for a Man?

This next part might be obvious. What is the correct size of watch for a man when comparing the 31mm and 36mm Datejust? Most people would say that it’s obviously the 36mm version. The 36mm version may be the right choice for many male wrists, but not everyone has the same wrist size. 

I also say whatever feels most comfortable on your wrist and what you think looks and feels best should be the watch that you choose. For example, the Cartier Tank is a much smaller watch and adorns the wrist of many men and women, no matter their wrist size. Sometimes it just comes down to being able to wear timeless designs no matter the size of one’s wrist. Just as an example, Muhammad Ali famously wore a Cartier Tank.

I also think smaller watches are on the comeback. The celebrities back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s all wore for the most part sub 39mm watches. That’s both men and women. I myself own both large and smaller watches. I have an average-sized male wrist and I find myself going with my 36mm Explorer most of the time.

What’s the Best Rolex Datejust Size for a Woman?

What is the right size of Datejust for a woman, 31mm or 36mm? This comes down to preference and opinion. Yes, wrist size is a factor, but to me, it’s not the main factor when it comes down to it. 

Some women may be attracted to the more feminine design of the 31mm, but I think just as many women would be attracted to the more traditional designs of the 36mm. Choosing a watch always comes down to personal preference. Whether you are a man or a woman, you want what you want.

Some women may want something small on their wrist that is more in line with a piece of jewelry, like a bracelet, but some women may prefer more of a wrist presence, showing they have a timepiece on their wrist.

Another important factor for a woman to consider when choosing a Datejust size is the dial variations. While a dial with diamonds on it might seem out of place on a man’s wrist, a woman can easily wear this type of fancy watch as well as a more traditional monochromatic dial.

Choosing the Right Datejust for You

Throughout the article, I have mentioned many reasons why someone, man or woman, would choose the 31mm or the 36mm version of the Datejust. It just comes down to personal preference and what you want on your wrist. Something small with a feminine design or slightly larger with a more traditional watch design.

For myself, I would choose the 36mm option as I feel it fits my wrist the best, and I like the proportions of the dial layout. That’s my personal preference. I would go for the classic fluted bezel with a solid color on the dial, jubilee bracelet, and in stainless steel. I’m a sucker for simple, classic designs as I own a Rolex Explorer 1 (36mm) in stainless steel. 

Final Thoughts

The right Rolex Datejust is out there for you, and as I didn’t mention vintage, that’s an option as well. Modern and vintage, Rolex makes an excellent watch in 31mm and 36mm Datejust models.

Happy Rolex hunting to all the men and women out there looking for the “Classic Watch of Reference”, the Rolex Datejust. 

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