Meteorite material adds aesthetic appeal and a touch of celestial wonder to the watch’s face. Rolex selects these meteorites with a particular emphasis on their crystalline structure, which becomes pronounced and reveals its intrinsic beauty once etched with acid.
Manufacturing meteorite dial watches involves an intricate process. The meteorite material is delicately cut, finished, and often paired with sublime embellishments like diamonds. Every piece is unique as each meteorite slice differs from the next, bringing sophisticated elegance and a story of the vastness of outer space to a personal scale.
Which are the Rolex watches with a Rolex meteorite dial? Are they still in production? Join us as we discover the answers to these and more questions in the article below.
History of the Rolex Meteorite Dial
Rolex’s use of meteorite material for watch dials is a fusion of cosmic wonder and horological craftsmanship. These dials are renowned for their unique patterns, each telling the story of cosmic travel that has ended on a luxury timepiece.
Discovery and Origin
The meteorite material used in Rolex dials is a major feat in Rolex’s history. It primarily comes from the Gibeon Meteorite, discovered in 1838 by Captain J.E. Alexander.
This Class IVA meteorite’s history extends millions of years, falling to Earth in prehistoric times and landing in the Namibian desert in Africa, close to the town of Gibeon.
It landed with great impact, shattering upon entry and scattering more than 26,000 kgs of interstellar metal along the east side of the Great Fish River in Great Namaqualand.
Its crystalline structure, formed over eons, creates the distinctive, shimmering patterns that make each dial one-of-a-kind.
What makes the Gibeon meteorite particularly fascinating is its Widmanstätten patterns, which are intricate, crisscrossed patterns that form when the iron and nickel alloys within it cool over millions of years. These patterns are unique to meteorites and are highly prized by collectors and researchers alike.
Due to their striking appearance and rarity, Gibeon meteorite fragments are often used for making jewelry, knives, and other ornamental items. The meteorite’s beauty and scientific significance have made it a sought-after material in various fields, from astronomy to artistry.
Evolution in Rolex Models
Ever the one to seize a good chance, Rolex has added meteorite dials on occasion to a number of its high-end watch models. It was the first watch company to use the space fragment in one of its creations.
It combines the pieces with priceless metals, such as 18K gold and 950 platinum, to further improve the overall appearance with a subtle surface shine. The end product is a line of opulent watches with a hint of celestial elegance that are both practical and beautiful.
Every dial is the result of a meticulous selection procedure that guarantees exquisite quality and enticing beauty.
The skillful process of choosing and honing rare materials is evident in the production of Rolex meteorite dials. This precise work reflects the brand’s commitment to excellence.
Rolex selects meteorite slices of superb quality that consist primarily of iron and nickel. These meteorite materials are known for their rarity and originate from celestial bodies that have journeyed through space before landing on Earth.
Dial Cutting and Polishing
Cutting the selected meteorite stone into a dial is challenging due to the material’s brittle nature. The craft involves shaping a thin, precise slice without compromising its integrity. After cutting, the dial is meticulously polished to a smooth sheen that enhances the visibility of its natural patterns.
Unique Patterns and Aesthetics
Each Rolex meteorite dial boasts a one-of-a-kind Widmanstätten pattern resulting from cooling in nickel-iron crystals over millions of years.
The Widmanstätten pattern is a distinctive crystalline structure found in iron-nickel meteorites, such as the Gibeon meteorite. It forms over millions of years as the metal cools extremely slowly in the vacuum of space.
This unique pattern is named after Count Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten, a Viennese scientist who discovered it in 1808.
The pattern arises due to the slow cooling rate of the metal in these meteorites, which allows large interlocking crystals of two different nickel-iron minerals (kamacite and taenite) to form.
When these meteorites are etched with an acid, the different compositions of these minerals react differently, revealing a striking geometric pattern of intersecting lines. This pattern is characterized by a distinctive series of crisscrossing bands or lines, often in a geometric or honeycomb-like arrangement.
The crystal structures and compositions of the minerals involved determine these patterns’ precise angles and widths. These patterns are unique to iron-nickel meteorites and are highly prized for their beauty and scientific significance.
These unique patterns ensure every meteorite dial Rolex produces has a distinctive aesthetic, making each watch an individual masterpiece.
Rolex Meteorite Dial Models
Rolex offers a variety of models featuring the distinctive meteorite dial, prized for its unique patterns and luxurious appeal. Each collection brings its character to the rare and natural aesthetic of the meteorite material.
Introduced in 1956, the Rolex Day-Date was Rolex’s first timepiece to display the day of the week in full and date. It comes in various delicious metals like the aforementioned 950 Platinum and 18K gold and dial options.
The Day-Date collection showcases Rolex’s meteorite dials alongside the brand’s signature President bracelet.
Renowned for its prestige, the Day-Date with a meteorite dial emphasizes exclusivity and is often enhanced with diamond hour markers, providing a striking contrast against the natural pattern of the celestial material.
The watches in this collection with meteorite dials are:
1. Rolex Day-Date 40 White Gold ref. 228239-0055
- Retail Price: S$55,357
- Pre-Owned Price: S$83,796
Boasting a unique, mostly monochromatic look, the Rolex Day-Date 40 ref. 228239-0055 is a luxury men’s timepiece. It has a 40mm White Gold case, fluted bezel, and matching President bracelet that are excellently contrasted by the beautiful meteorite dial with baguette-cut diamond hour markers.
2. Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum ref. 228396TBR-0027
- Retail Price: S$149,130
- Pre-Owned Price: S$152,430
The Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum ref. 228396TBR-0027 is a luxury men’s timepiece. It was introduced in 2018 and features a polished 40mm Platinum case, a diamond-set bezel, and a President bracelet with polished center links. Its highlight is the majestic meteorite dial, whose beauty is amplified by its 10 baguette-cut diamond hour markers.
Rolex’s GMT-Master II includes a meteorite dial option that stands out with its functionality and style.
As of now, the only GMT-Master II with a meteorite dial is:
1. Rolex GMT-Master II White Gold ‘Pepsi’ ref. 126719BLRO-0002
- Retail Price: S$54,156
- Pre-Owned Price: S$71,900
The Rolex GMT-Master II White Gold ref. 126719BLRO-0002 is a luxury men’s watch. It was presented in 2019 and has a 40mm White Gold case, a two-color Cerachrom bezel insert in red and blue ceramic, an additional arrow-tipped hand for tracking a second time zone, and the best Rolex meteorite dial with luminescent hands and hour markers.
In the Cosmograph Daytona lineup, the meteorite dial adds a unique touch to Rolex’s iconic chronograph.
There are five Daytona models with a meteorite dial:
1. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Yellow Gold ref. 116508-0015
- Pre-Owned Price: S$140,053
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116508-0015 is a discontinued luxury men’s sports watch. It has a 40mm Yellow Gold body, a matching Oyster bracelet, a non-ceramic bezel with a tachymeter scale, and a meteorite dial with luminous gold-tone hands and hour markers.
2. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Rose Gold ref. 116505-0014
- Pre-Owned Price: S$179,943
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116505-0014 is a discontinued luxury men’s sports watch. It was introduced in 2021 and has a 40mm Rose Gold body and matching Oyster bracelet, a non-ceramic bezel with a tachymeter scale, and a meteorite dial with 3 subdials and luminous gold-tone hands and luminous hour markers.
3. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona White Gold ref. 116519LN-0038
- Pre-Owned Price: S$129,382
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116519LN-0038 is a part of the Daytona with a meteorite dial 2021 series.
It’s a luxury men’s sports watch that excellently balances sportiness with luxury with its 40mm White Gold case and eye-catching meteorite dial contrasted by a strong Oysterflex bracelet and bezel with a black ceramic Cerachrom insert with a tachymeter scale.
4. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Everose Gold ref. 116515LN-0055
- Pre-Owned Price: S$158,667
Continuing with the Oysterflex theme, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116515LN-0055 is another sportier discontinued luxury men’s sports watch with a touch of celestial elegance.
It has a 40mm Everose Gold case with an Oysterflex strap, a meteorite dial with luminous baton hour markers and hands, and a bezel with a black ceramic Cerachrom insert with a tachymeter scale.
5. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Yellow Gold ref. 116518LN-0076
- Pre-Owned Price: S$107,039
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116518LN-0076 is a luxury men’s sports watch that was in production for two years (2021-2023).
It reflects Rolex’s excellence with its 40mm Yellow Gold case and sturdy Oysterflex bracelet- amplified by its meteorite dial with a distinct pattern and luminous hands and hour markers. It also has a bezel with a black ceramic Cerachrom insert with a tachymeter scale.
The Rolex Datejust was an expected candidate for a meteorite dial, considering its already seamless beauty with the trademark date display at 3 o’clock. The meteorite dial amplifies its luxury while adding texture and contrast to its overall timeless design.
There’s currently one model in its catalog with a meteorite dial:
1. Rolex Datejust Steel Rose Gold ref. 179171
- Pre-Owned Price: S$19,890
The Rolex Datejust Steel Rose Gold ref. 179171 is a discontinued luxury women’s watch. It reflects ingenuity and feminine grace with its 26mm two-tone case, Rose Gold fluted bezel, and matching two-tone Jubilee bracelet.
Its meteorite dial has 10 diamond hour markers outlined in Rose Gold for a balanced and complete look.
The Rolex Cellini was part of Rolex’s collection that was unique for its dress watch-leather strap combo. It was introduced in 1968 and named after famed Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini.
However, it was discontinued in 2023 and replaced by the Rolex 1908 collection, which carries on the legacy but with a more personal touch.
The Cellini wasn’t left out of the lunar meteorite dial fun, boasting one model with the coveted dial design:
1. Rolex Cellini Moonphase Everose Gold ref. 50535-0002
- Retail Price: S$35,615
- Pre-Owned Price: S$31,183
While not technically a piece with a full meteorite dial, the Rolex Cellini Moonphase ref. 5035-0002 is a discontinued luxury (men’s) dress watch with a hint of meteorite. The watch features a 39mm Everose gold case and domed sapphire crystal, contrasted by a brown alligator strap and breath-taking double-tiered, domed, and fluted bezel.
Its highlights are the date display against a white lacquered dial and blue enamel disc (moon phase indicator) at 6 o’clock. The disc shows the waxing and waning of the moon and has tiny stars scattered around, an outline representing the full moon, and an applied moon meteorite crafted from a small meteorite fragment.
Note: Rolex still creates models with meteorite dials. However, they’re limited to Daytona, GMT-Master II, and Day-Date timepieces.
Collectibility and Value
Rolex’s meteorite dials are renowned for their exclusivity and aesthetic appeal, consequently influencing their collectibility and value in the watch market.
The market demand for Rolex watches with meteorite dials remains consistently high, as they represent a slice of celestial wonder. Collectors and enthusiasts are often drawn to the distinct patterns unique to each incredible dial, contributing to their desirability.
The value of the meteorite dial watch depends on the model and availability. Watches that are no longer in retail- like the discontinued Daytonas have a higher demand and fare better on the secondary, pre-owned, and private markets.
Looking to buy a meteorite Rolex watch with a meteorite dial? Some factors worth considering are:
- Lifestyle: The Rolex Daytona, GMT-Master II, and Datejust are good picks if you’re always on the go. Their rugged cases and designs make them better placed to survive daily adventures outdoors.
On the other hand, the Day-Date and Cellini Moonphase are better options if you’re out occasionally and want to impress in formal events.
- Budget: Want a quality watch at a lower price? The Datejust, GMT-Master II, and Cellini Moonphase fit are worth considering. Meanwhile, the Day-Date and Daytona are excellent choices if you have a higher budget.
Investment in a Rolex with a meteorite dial could be pretty promising due to its rarity. As the supply of these dials is inherently limited by the availability of meteorite material, the watches may appreciate in value over time. This is reflected in the increasing prices of these watches in the secondary market.
Rolex watches are known for their value retention, and those featuring meteorite dials are no exception. Due to their rarity and the brand’s status in the horological world, watches like the Rolex Day-Date 40 with a meteorite dial are likely to maintain or even increase in value, ensuring their status as cherished assets for collectors.
Care and Maintenance
Owning a Rolex with a meteorite dial requires attention to proper care and maintenance to ensure this exquisite timepiece’s longevity and pristine condition.
Owners should routinely wipe the meteorite dial’s surface with a soft, lint-free cloth to get rid of any dust or fingerprints.
It is impеrativе to rеfrain from utilizing any abrasivе or harsh chеmicals that can scratch or harm thе spеcial mеtеoritе surfacе.
Evеry ten years or whеn thеrе is a discernible dеclinе in thе watch’s pеrformancе, Rolеx advisеs having it profеssionally sеrvicеd.
To maintain thе pеrformancе and appеarancе of thе watch, a trainеd Rolеx tеchnician will do a thorough inspеction, clеan еvеry componеnt, and replace any worn parts with authеntic Rolеx piеcеs.
Tips for Wеar and Carе
Thе watch should always bе kеpt dry and in a tеmpеraturе-controllеd spacе to avoid moisturе accumulation that could causе rust or othеr damagе.
Prеsеrvе thе watch’s dial’s bеauty by not subjеcting it to sеvеrе temperatures and long strеtchеs of sunshinе.
Rolex’s dedication to distinctive luxury is demonstrated by the Rolex watches with meteorite dials. It’s possible to recognize their unique style and the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into it. Thеsе dials are sourced from thе hеаrt of an asteroid or a planеt, making еach piеcе a slicе of cosmic history.
- The Gibeon Meteorite, which Captain J.E. Alexander discovered in 1838, is the primary source of meteorite material used in Rolex dials.
- Every Rolex meteorite dial is different because of the striking geometric Widmanstätten patterns that are characteristic of these watches. The watch faces are very sought after because of their uniqueness and style.
- Rolex offers meteorite dials in several models, namely the Daytona, Day-Date, Datejust, and the GMT-Master II. Each model showcases the material in a way that complements the watch’s overall design and functionality.
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