Today we are going to look at something a bit different from the brand with the crown. The Rolex Day-Date with rubellite dial. We are all familiar with Rolex and what they do so I will keep this introduction to the brand succinct. Hans Wilsdorf founded a watch distribution company in London in 1905, it wasn’t until 1908 that the name Rolex was discovered after a Genie whispered the name into Wilsdorf’s ear. The result of this uncommon naming process was to grace the dials of watches for years to come.
In 1910 a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne. This was followed by Rolex receiving the class “A” precision certificate, a distinction which until that point in time had been reserved exclusively for marine chronometers. These two major achievements early in the life of Rolex, set the precedent.
The Day-Date has been a staple of the Rolex range since its introduction in 1956 and is famous for being on the wrist of everyone from sports mega stars to presidents. What is it that makes this watch so special? The advertising for this range surely has a part to play, leaning on the personalities of stars like Eric Clapton and Sir Jackie Stewart to sell the experience of this watch, but it is more than the advertising that has made the Day-Date what it is.
The heavy gold bracelet, the links to successful owners, the provenance of the brand combined with the incredibly well proportioned 36mm case and the various super accurate movements available, lead to a sense of real presence and almost achievement from the wrist.
Once seen as the older generations Rolex, the Day-Date is becoming more and more popular with younger watch fans as it is a seen as a wearable sign of how well things are going. The Day-Date and the Datejust have always had the largest variety of dials so it made sense for the stone dials to be a part of this range.
This doesn’t mean exclusivity for these models however, we have seen stone dials across the GMT-Master II range, in the occasional Cellini and of course the Daytona. The Daytona is an interesting one, and we have a Grossular dial Daytona available for viewing under the code W007840. Rolex also used meteorite in their dials, specifically Gibeon meteorite named after the town in Namibia where the meteorites were said to have fallen in prehistoric times. Xupes also has a meteorite dial Daytona presented in white gold, viewable under the code W007768.
Back to the matter in hand, what is the mysterious rubellite? From the Latin ‘Rubellus’ meaning reddish, rubellite is a precious stone, can found in Brazil, Mozambique, Pakistan, Madagascar and Nigeria. Its colour can vary from violet all the way through to light pink. Often compared with a ruby, Rubellite is more sought after and therefore more expensive. It is also highly crystalized in structure and naturally this makes it difficult to cut and set, however unlike most precious stones the more inclusions in the stone the better. The stone itself is pyroelectric, meaning it becomes electrically charged when heated. So, an interesting, rare and highly volatile stone, what better choice to use as a watch dial right?
Our Day-Date, that can be viewed on the Xupes website under the code W007842, is the 36mm case size with the rubellite dial being complemented by the 18ct yellow gold case and bracelet. The case and bracelet are produced by Rolex’s own in-house foundry ensuring the quality is top notch, the richness of the 18ct yellow gold provides a juxtaposition from the purple dial. The dial diameter of 36mm belies the size of the watch when on the wrist. The weight and solid end links of the bracelet allow for some serious wrist presence, whilst also managing to be suitable for admirers with a smaller wrist. What more regal colour combination than purple and gold from the brand with the crown.
The bracelet has matte outer links and polished centre links. This polished look is continued onto the case and the lugs are polished too, as are all top lugs on Day-Dates post 2000. This effect catches the light amazingly well. Internally we have the caliber 3155, allowing for the double quickset function. This function allows the wearer to adjust the date by the clockwise winding of the crown and the day with a counter clockwise wind.
The exquisite dial is what the wearer looks at most, and to create this out of a block of solid stone requires great skill and expense but as you can see the hard work is worth it. Rolex purchased a dial production company in 2000 in order to create dials in house. Our Rolex Day-Date rubellite is sat between pink and purplish in colour and has a uniform crystalised imperfections throughout, allowing for an illusion of movement when the wrist is moved.
The dial is complimented by gold surrounded baguette and round brilliant cut diamonds markers. Rolex continues the trend of using the very best when it comes to the gemstones used. Rolex’s own gemmologists select and test each diamond that is used in their watches, they will only use diamonds that are Internally Flawless (IF) in clarity and between D and G in colour.
One thing to be wary of in this myriad of options and exciting stone dials is that of aftermarket dials. There have been cases of people swapping regular Rolex dials for aftermarket stone dials. This can drastically affect the market value of the watch, the same way aftermarket diamond bezels can. When people are looking to purchase one of these special watches, they are looking for everything to be up to the high standards of Rolex and these aftermarket dials may look the part, but they aren’t necessarily able to live up to expectations.
Our Rolex Day-Date rubellite has been fully inspected by our team of watchmakers for authenticity and timekeeping as well as a full condition report being provided. The condition has been reported as between unworn and excellent with little to no signs of wear and we are able to award this watch with our comprehensive 2 year warranty.
If you are looking for the epitome of luxury, craftmanship and quality whilst also providing something away from the norm then look no further; the Rolex Day-Date 118238 rubellite dial is the watch for you.