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The Ultimate Guide to Rolex Submariner Dials

The Ultimate Guide to Rolex Submariner Dials

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Rolex’s motto has always been precision and durability, be it is at the top of the world or to the bottom of the sea. And, the brand proves reliable in all fields.

The Rolex Submariner, the ultimate dive watch, has been in production since 1953. It is one of the most successful Rolex models in the luxury watch industry.

However, Rolex has made many changes to the design of this famous model, including its legendary dial. Interestingly, a dial can convey you a lot about a timepiece if you properly identify it.

Here is a guide to the four major types of Rolex Submariner dials. Please continue reading below to know their significant identifying features.

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The Gilt Dial

When Rolex introduced the Submariner, the watch flaunted a glossy gilt dial. The dial features a gold text and other details against its black glossy surface.

However, many current iterations sport the luminescent markers that have aged to a golden tint.

The configurations of the gilt dials may vary slightly based on the Submariner reference and its year of production.

However, the variations typically subsist in the features like logo, name, depth rating and minute track.

A gilt dial can be easily identified by their golden lettering.

Ideally, the most valuable and rarest Submariner dials are gilt dials.

Rolex have replaced many Submariner watches featuring original gilt dials with later-period components. Eventually, while these well-preserved iterations are today scarce, they are pretty valuable.

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The Matte Dial

In the 1960s, the Rolex Submariner gilt dial was replaced with the matte dial. The dial sports white text and luminescent Tritium plots on a non-glossy, slightly textured surface.

Two iconic Rolex Submariner references with matte dials are:

The first Rolex Submariner reference 1680 featuring a date complication

The first Submariner reference 5512 with crown-guards.

However, vintage Rolex Submariner timepieces also exclusively feature matte dials. They indeed have a little bit more functional and contemporary appearance.

While the matte dials are less rare than the gilt ones, they are more obtainable and ideally, more affordable in the second hand market.

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The Gloss Dial

During the production of modern Submariner timepieces in 1980s, the matte dial paved the way for gloss dial. The dial flaunted white text and luminescence hour markers with white gold edges on a black glossy surface.

However, the glossy finish and applied 18ct white gold markers offer the dial more luxurious and contemporary aesthetic. Eventually, it is continuing to dominate the pre-owned market.

The most common Rolex Submariner with a matte dial is the classic Rolex Submariner Date reference 116610.

The Maxi Dial

Like its previous generation, the latest generation Maxi dial bears a similar classic aesthetic. However, it features more prominent hour markers and broader hands.

The Rolex Submariner 50th Anniversary Edition ref 16610LV “Kermit” introduced the Maxi dial on the Submariner collection. However, the latest 6-digit, Cerachrom bezel references and all contemporary Submariner watches feature the maxi dial in different colours.

The dial is now paired also with a new style bracelet and a “Super Case”. Although Rolex has made several updates to the iconic diver watch’s dial, the design has always stayed true to its roots.

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