Rolex 1500 Oyster Date: A Complete Guide

Rolex 1500

Rolex 1500 complete guide

The Rolex 1500 is a reference that is not discussed a lot, but it’s still a watch that is worth considering as it offers great value for money. Launched in 1962, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date 1500 is quite a basic watch from Rolex. It has a smooth bezel, is primarily made in stainless steel, and has no fancy functions apart from a date feature.

The simplicity of the Rolex Date 1500 has made it a true classic that embodies the traditional lines that we think of when we think of Rolex. It’s timeless, it’s simple, but oh so classic.

Rolex 1500
Photo: Catawiki

The watch is equipped with the caliber 1570 which is a movement that has become a highly regarded and appreciated movement, used in countless references and models. In fact, the caliber 1570 was still in production up until the late 80s, used in the Explorer 1016. This just goes to show that it is a movement that proved to be reliable, durable, and robust, which Rolex by no means rushed to replace.

Rolex caliber 1570

The Rolex caliber 1570 is the third generation of the 1500 series and beats at a frequency of 19,800 BPH. The movement is equipped with a free-sprung, self-compensating Breguet hairspring.

The caliber 1570 which is used in the Oyster Perpetual Date 1500 is a certified chronometer. The case and movement are developed to have antimagnetic characteristics, and the movement built to offer resistance to shocks.

The caliber features 26 jewels and a straight-line lever escape movement. Today, Rolex’s date feature at 3 o’clock enlarged by the cyclops has become an iconic element. On this watch, the date function automatically advances to the next date at midnight (automatic date function).

Rolex 1500
Photo: Swisswatchexpo

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date 1500

The Oyster Perpetual Date 1500 is, with its simple yet timeless design a watch that just works well regardless of the occasion. It is casual enough to be suitable for everyday wear, but at the same time, elegant enough to wear with a suit.

The watch was made, like many other Rolex watches, with a number of different dial versions. Most commonly, though, you will see this reference with a brushed silver dial.

The dial features applied baton indices as well as luminous dots next to each five-minute marking. The hands also have luminous material, which is tritium. The black dial version of this watch is rarer as it was used in the early stages of the 1500s production.

Since sapphire crystals were not around at the time, the reference features a plastic crystal. For a magnification of the date, it has a cyclops lens on the crystal, which is also made of plastic.

Rolex 1500
Photo: Catawiki

 The watch has sweeping center seconds. However, since it was in production for a relatively long time, the dial changed over time. Early examples of the Rolex 1500 can be seen with triangle-shaped or diamond-shaped indices. With that said, you will also be able to find examples with both open and closed 6s on the date wheel.

Over the course of its production, Rolex made several special editions of the Oyster Perpetual Date 1500. These special editions have various printings on the dials as they were made specifically for different organizations or countries. Amongst others, it includes a United Arab Emirates version which features the UAE symbol printed on the dial.

The case is 34mm which, by today’s standard is considered small. But for those who prefer a more traditional case size, or enjoy their vintage watches to have a more traditional size, 34mm is just perfect. Whilst the case is a waterproof Oyster case, we wouldn’t recommend going swimming with this one today. Being an Oyster case, it features Rolex’s Twinlock crown and a screw case back.

The Rolex Date 1500 was in production until the late 1970s, which means a production run of more than a decade. This, together with the fact that it is made in stainless steel, was a relatively affordable model, and ultimately produced in large numbers, which means that it is today a watch that offers great value for money.

Rolex OysterDate variants

The Oysterdate 1500 was made in a few different metal combinations, which, naturally changes the reference number for these pieces. It is also available in 14k and 18k white and yellow gold. The Rolex Date 1500 has a smooth bezel and is made of stainless steel, the reference 1501 is the same watch but with an engined-turned bezel. The 18K yellow gold version has the reference 1507, the gold and steel two-tone version has the reference 1505, the 14k yellow gold version has the reference 1503, and lastly, the version with a gold shell has the reference 1550.

Rolex Date
Photo: Catawiki

The Rolex Date 1500 originally came with an Oyster bracelet, but considering the watch’s age, you can see examples with replaced bracelets, for example, Jubilee bracelets.

6 thoughts on “Rolex 1500 Oyster Date: A Complete Guide

  1. will a Rolex 1500 come with a Swiss only dial?

    1. Yes, that will be early days with hands without lume version

  2. Did the Oyster Perpetual ref 1500 come with “mosaic” dial?

    1. Hi,
      Yes absolutely!

      Kind regards,
      Millenayr Watches

  3. I recently acquired a 1501 reference watch. The information that I have found says that the 1500 came out in 1962 and the 1501 came out a year later in 1963. The serial number on my watch is 760,834, which makes it very early 1962. Would this make my watch a rarity? From what I can gather, it must be one of the earliest 1501s made.

    1. Hi,
      The production periods of Rolex watches were not as clear-cut as they are today. In your case, the answer lies in the fact that both of these references use the same case. As such, the case has been manufactured earlier and then assembled at a later point.

      Kind regards,
      Millenary Watches

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