Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601

This Lenox Hill Datejust is perhaps the least traditional of the Cloister Rolex Datejust bespoke projects. This watch began life as a lightly-worn Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 in stainless steel. After we located this watch, courtesy of a private collector in Colorado, a mechanical overhaul was completed, and the dial and calendar disc were removed and sent to our painter in Bavaria.

The new color palette of this watch was inspired by legendary racing driver Ayrton Senna’s famous livery. The yellow dia is matched to Senna’s racing helmet, and is adorned with green text consistent with the accenting colors on Senna’s helmet and car. The exterior “pie pan” edge of the dial was rendered in gloss black, another ode to Senna’s colors. Finally, the calendar disc was painted with red text on a green background, although this scheme was later replaced with a traditional “roulette” calendar disc to evoke the Marlboro sponsorship on Senna’s car.

After the dial and calendar disc were finished and fitted to the watch, a year-long tinkering process began in an effort to adjust the watch’s styling to be as consistent with the spirit of Ayrton Senna as possible. This process included the addition of the second calendar disc (not pictured) as well as the process of powder-coating the original hands in black (pictured here). Finally, the watch’s smooth stainless steel bezel was removed and replaced with a period correct bezel in engine-turned steel (not pictured) which references the interplay between automotive and horological design.

The final element added to this Datejust was the a custom fabricated exhibition caseback with sapphire crystal. Additionally, the cyclops lens on the acrylic crystal was polished off by hand (not pictured). The original jubilee bracelet was retained but supplemented with a period-correct oyster-link band, pictured here.