3 Rolex Dial Imperfections to Love


The dial is typically one of the (if not the) most valuable part of a watch – after all, it’s the most visible part of the timepiece. The smallest details of the dial can tell us a lot about the watch: its age, the elements it was exposed to, and most importantly, whether it’s an original piece or has been refurbished.

While the slightest flaw or sign of damage can have a drastic impact on the value of a watch, there are some imperfections that are desirable, even sought after. For Rolex – a company so obsessed with quality and perfection – any flaw or defect, especially when it is made by the company, is considered a rarity and may command a premium.
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Here are 3 Rolex dial imperfections that are considered desirable:
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SPIDER DIAL
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In the mid-to-late 1980’s, Rolex sought to improve their watches and experimented with new materials. One of the changes they made was the switch from matte to gloss dials in their sports watches. The lacquer finish they used then had not been perfected, resulting in crazing, or an almost “spider net”-like effect on the dials.

While these cracks don’t necessarily put a premium on the watches, they do make the dials more interesting and collectible, and are a sight to behold when hit by light.

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TROPICAL DIAL
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“Tropical” dials refer to those whose original color has changed, due to exposure to sunlight and other elements. These are usually blue dials or bezel inserts that have turned purple or fuschia, or black dials that have turned into various shades of chocolate brown.

True Rolex Tropical dials can only be achieved through time, and can never be truly identical, and that’s what gives them a cult following. In fact, some bogus dealers even resort to refinishing dials to simulate the Tropical color or use a cavity magnetron to “bake” the watch and speed up the aging process.

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FAT LADY DIAL
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After releasing three references of the GMT-Master for over 30 years, Rolex decided to upgrade it in 1983. The result was the GMT-Master II ref 16760, which had a Coke bezel insert, thick steel case, and broader crown guards. It earned the nickname “Fat Lady” because of its heftier size.On certain pieces, Rolex made a small misprint on the dial which often goes unnoticed – below the Rolex logo reads “Oyster Perpetual” when, for Oyster date models such as the GMT-Master, the standard should have been “Oyster Perpetual Date”. While rare and interesting, these variants are usually priced lower than other rare GMT-Master models, making them ideal collectibles.

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