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A Comprehensive Guide to Rolex Mother of Pearl Watches

Published on
rolex mother of pearl

Rolex’s Mother of Pearl (MOP) watches stand out as masterpieces of sophistication, beauty, and craftsmanship, transcending mere timekeeping to become iridescent art pieces. 

This article explores their historical significance, the meticulous creation process, and highlights five distinctive models, from the classic Datejust to the bold Cosmograph Daytona. 

Additionally, we offer insights on maintaining these exquisite watches, providing readers with a holistic view of their aesthetic charm, lasting value, and the craftsmanship that underpins their allure.

Historical Significance and Popularity

Rolex incorporates mother of pearl, a material with ancient historical roots, into the dials of some of its watches, introducing this feature in the 1980s. 

Despite the term “mother of pearl” not being exclusive to Rolex or invented by the brand, it has become a signature element across various models. 

Rolex selects from several types of mother-of-pearl, including Tahitian, white, black, and yellow, to bring unparalleled elegance to its designs. 

The unique nature of each mother-of-pearl piece, akin to a fingerprint, ensures that every Rolex watch adorned with it has a distinctive and unmatched face.

Some mother-of-pearl dials’ features that keep collectors coming for more are:

  • Luxurious Appeal: Women appreciate the mother-of-pearl dials’ natural beauty and opulence.
  • Collectible Nature: Watches featuring this material are often considered more collectible due to their unique patterns.
  • The mother of pearl’s ability to catch light and display a spectrum of colors: This adds to a watch’s allure, complementing Rolex’s reputation for craftsmanship and luxury. 

The Essence of Mother of Pearl

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is a unique and beautiful material that lines the inner shell of some mollusks, such as pearls, oysters, and abalones. It is the same substance that forms pearls, hence its name.

It’s naturally formed by some mollusks as a protective lining for their shells. It serves to protect the mollusks’ soft bodies from potential threats and parasites. The process begins when an irritant enters the shell, and in response, the mollusk secretes layers of nacre around the irritant. Over time, these layers build up to form pearls or coat the inner shell with mother-of-pearl.

The Process of Creating Mother of Pearl Dials

The creation of mother-of-pearl dials is a meticulous one. First, the raw nacre must be carefully selected for its quality and iridescence. Then, it’s precisely cut into thin dials, a process that demands skilled craftsmanship to prevent damage to the delicate substance.

Rolex takes the selection process to exceptional levels, only choosing the highest quality mother of pearl. Its experts scrutinize each piece for its color, intensity, and texture to ensure that it meets the brand’s stringent standards.

Incorporating mother-of-pearl into watch dials is an art form. The natural variations of this material mean that each dial is unique, and Rolex takes advantage of this characteristic to craft timepieces with one-of-a-kind beauty. 

The reflection and reaction of light on the surface create a graceful elegance, making each Rolex watch with a mother-of-pearl dial a distinct masterpiece of art and time.

Best Rolex Mother of Pearl Watches

Here are five specific Rolex models that boast the mother-of-pearl dial exclusivity:

1. Rolex Datejust 31 – Yellow Rolesor, Mother of Pearl Dial ref. 278273-0028

Rolex Datejust 31 ref. 278273-0028

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$14,385
  • Pre-owned Price: S$22,900

The Rolex Datejust 31 ref. 278273-0028 is a luxury women’s dress watch notable for its Yellow Rolesor case, mother-of-pearl dial, and beautiful Jubilee bracelet. Its fluted bezel accentuates the dial while adding a sense of prestige and luxury.

2. Rolex Day-Date 36 – White Gold, Mother of Pearl Dial ref. 128239-0007 

Rolex Day-Date 36 ref. 128239-0007

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$50,954
  • Pre-owned Price: S$52,900

Still on the dressy theme, the Rolex Day-Date 36 ref. 128239-0007 is a unisex luxury watch that commands attention with its monochromatic White Gold design, beautiful mother-of-pearl dial, and authoritative President bracelet. Its fluted bezel effortlessly blends into the elegance.

3. Rolex Yacht-Master 35 – Yellow Rolesor, Black Mother of Pearl Dial ref. 168623-0018

Rolex Yacht-Master 35 ref. 168623-0018

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$16,537
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$11,334

The Rolex Yacht-Master 35 ref. 168623-0018 is a discontinued luxury ladies’ sports watch that turns heads with its breath-taking Yellow Rolesor design, bidirectional rotatable Yellow Gold bezel, and the highlight- its black mother-of-pearl dial.

4. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona – Yellow Rolesor, Mother of Pearl Dial ref. 116503-0007

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116503-0007

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$30,115
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$34,900

Want a bulkier luxury sports watch with more sophistication? The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116503-0007 is a luxury men’s piece that fits the description. It features a 40mm Yellow Rolesor case, a mother-of-pearl dial, and chronograph and tachymeter functions to help measure time.

5. Rolex Lady Datejust 28 – Everose Rolesor, Mother of Pearl Dial ref. 279171-0013

Rolex Lady Datejust 28 ref. 279171-0013

Market Price

  • Retail Price: S$13,646
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$20,800

The Rolex Lady Datejust 28 ref. 279171-0013 is a luxury dress watch ideal for women with smaller wrists. It may be smaller than most watches, but its Everose Rolesor case, mother-of-pearl dial, and classy two-tone Jubilee bracelet prove it’s a force to reckon with.

Care and Maintenance Tips

The following tips are aimed specifically at caring for the aesthetic and delicate features of mother-of-pearl dials.

Regular Cleaning

  • Frequency: Routinely clean your Rolex to prevent the accumulation of substances that could affect the watch’s functionality and appearance.
  • Materials: Use a soft, lint-free cloth for cleaning the case and the bracelet.
  • Procedure: Gently wipe to remove surface dirt.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

  • Chemicals to Avoid: Keep the watch away from perfumes, cleaning agents, or any other harsh chemicals that may damage the mother-of-pearl dial.

Professional Servicing

  • Recommendation: Every few years, have a professional service to ensure the internal mechanisms are functioning correctly. Trust Rolex-certified jewelers with this delicate task.


  • Conditions: Store the Rolex watch in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or high temperatures to prevent damage to the mother-of-pearl dial.


Contact: Be mindful when wearing the watch; Mother-of-pearl can be sensitive to scratches and impacts.

Final Word

Rolex Mother of Pearl watches flaunt a distinctive charm and elegance. The material’s unique feature is its iridescent quality, which ensures that no two Rolex dials are the same. Depending on its origin, it can exhibit various colors—from pink to white to black to yellow—enhancing the uniqueness of each watch.

Key Takeaways

  • Each Rolex mother-of-pearl dial has a one-of-a-kind pattern, with the nacre’s origin playing a critical role in its final hue and iridescence.
  • The material is not just about aesthetics; durability is also a hallmark of Rolex’s use of mother-of-pearl, as the watches are designed to last a lifetime.
  • Rolex adheres to strict standards for the mother-of-pearl it uses, ensuring that it is never artificially colored, which preserves the natural beauty and value of the timepiece.

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