The Rolex Practice
The genius behind Rolex is that even though they manufacture droves of watches per year they don’t half ass at anything. They put the same amount of love and care into the Datejust as they do into the Daytona Platinum Pave Diamond Dial. The best part about it is the manufacture has been true to its practice ever since it was a small brand headquartered in the United Kingdom.
Rolex is known for its founding role in the tool watch department with the introduction of the first Submariners and GMT’s, but their role in the sporty-elegance department is also worthy of much attention. Here we’ll cover two watches that are as unique as they are wearable. The Onyx Dial Submariner Ref.16618 and the Lapis Dial Submariner Ref.16618.
The 90’s were an inventive era for Rolex as they began to merge various types of hard-stones with dial production. Take the 1997 Rolex Submariner 16618 Onyx dial as an example. Rolex watchmakers delved into the process of trimming a 1-kilogram the rock into a 0.20mm piece to later be mounted onto the copper dial plate.
Rolex Submariner Onyx Dial
This process of manufacture was so complicated that it’s estimated that out of 10 dials only 2 made it past the rigorous Rolex inspection phase. The rejection ratio was unfathomable but the dials that made it through made it all worth it. Since Onyx rocks cannot be man made no two dials will ever be the same, which is astonishing for a company like Rolex.
Identifying an original Rolex Onyx dial is simple as they all have a small golden frame surrounding the date function. Do not trust a dial that does not have this detail.
Rolex Submariner Lapis Lazuli Dial
The Rolex Submariner with Lapis dial is another work of art, and it’s without a doubt Rolex’s most elusive dial as its production was incredibly sporadic. The manufacturing process of this dial is the same as that of the Onyx dial. A large portion of the stone is needed to then trim it down to a small circular 0.20mm piece.
Rarest Dial Variation
The Lapis stone is entirely blue but it also has specks of green, white, and gold when seen in the light. The look of the dial on a gold Submariner leaves us without words. These are watches that are hardly found and we are not exaggerating. In our 32 years of experience we have only seen a handful pop up.
Lapis Lazuli & Onyx Dials
Our 16618 is a magnificent example as it’s in new old stock conditions and is accompanied by its original papers and box, a true collection item.