The five-digit ref. 180XX range brought the replica Rolex Day-Date its original high beat movement – the Cal. 3055 with a frequency of 28,800vph. What’s more, it consisted of a Quickset function, giving allowance for the day of the month in the three o’clock window to be advanced with the winding crown, without also adjusting the hands.
Repeatedly, it is the direct replacement for the ref. 1803 which is the least expensive. The ref. 18038 is rendered in solid 18k yellow gold and has the same fluted bezel with a big variety of different dial colors and materials. A popular model upon its release, and particularly in certain parts of the country, it was the ref. 18038 which earned the Day-Date yet another nickname; the Texas Timex.
The difference in price between this replica watch and the previous one is slight. At the lowest end of the scale, you should have no trouble tracking down pieces with matching gold President bracelets starting at just a couple thousand dollars above comparable examples from the previous generation.
The ref. 18038 has an altogether more modern feel than the ref. 1803. The dials are now flat instead of being of the ‘pie pan’ style of the previous generation, and the crystal is now made from scratch-resistant sapphire rather than being crafted from acrylic.
However, the reference 18038 wasn’t in production for as long as its predecessor. As its Quickset feature only freed up the date numeral it was apparent what the next development was going to be. In 1988, a new generation of the fake Rolex Day-Date President emerged, driven by a more advanced movement.
Taken together, it stands to reason that no one but the super-rich should have access to every example of the flamboed old statesman. In reality, however, you can easily find iterations whose prices are well understood by a wider audience. Here’s a look at which Rolex presidential references offer the best value.