You may have heard the term ‘tropical dial’ thrown around in watch circles over the last decade or so and seeing as this Rolex Datejust features a fantastic tropical dial, we thought that we would take the opportunity to break it down for you. In the most basic sense a tropical dial is one that has discolored due to UV (read: sun) damage to the dial. This damage was able to take place on certain models due to flaws in the UV protective qualities of the paints and other materials used by certain manufacturers on certain watches. This means that not all watches will go tropical and just because it can happen doesn’t mean that it will. Prior to the last decade or so these discolored dials were seen by most as undesirable and many were even swapped out at services. The last decade has brought a new found appreciation for the individuality and special story that comes with each tropical dial. It seems as if the watch world embraced wabi-sabi and has seen the beauty in these perfectly imperfect objects.
This particular watch is a reference 1600, but when talking about this reference it is also important to also talk about the other references in its family, references 1601 and 1603. All three references were introduced in the early 1960s and featured many common traits including the same oyster case, movement, acrylic crystal with cyclops, and drilled lugs. Now you might think that there is nothing left to distinguish these models but you would be forgetting the all important bezel. The 1600 came with a smooth bezel, the 1601 with a fluted bezel and the 1603 with an engine turned steel bezel like the bezel seen here. We know that this is a little confusing given that the watch shown here is a reference 1600 but it has an engine turned bezel and you would be right. The bezel is not correct for the reference but over the years bezels get replaced and owners often switched to a different bezel to what originally came on the watch due to changing preferences. If you would like to take the watch back to its original state, an original smooth bezel can be sourced for you and installed on the watch prior to delivery for an extra fee.
The Case and Bracelet
The 36mm stainless steel case is in good condition. The case has most certainly seen a polishing wheel during its life with the points of the lugs being not as fat as they were from the factory and the caseback having several deep scratches. As mentioned above, the bezel is incorrect for this reference, but appears to be a genuine Rolex piece. All other components are correct for the watch. The acrylic crystal is in good condition but does show a deeper scratch between 6 and 7 and some light maring on the cyclops. The bracelet fits up to an 8 inch wrist.
The Dial and Hands
The dial is undoubtedly the highlight of this watch. The black pie pan dial has gone tropical to a fantastic, almost metallic, deep brown that is very even across the entire face. The lume plots are all intact but have dirtied as has the lume in the hands. The date wheel looks to be a later replacement item.
This watch features an automatic Rolex 1570 movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown. The seller offers a 1 year warranty on the watch.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic Rolex 1570|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|