Within the World of vintage Rolex watches, there are countless details and variations that are prized by collectors. Features such as Paul Newman dials or cases with pointed crown guards are incredibly well-documented and they also happen to be worth significant premiums, but similar types of variations also exist on modern Rolex watches.
These modern details often receive far less attention than their vintage counterparts, and some of them are not even accompanied by higher resale prices (at least for now). Additionally, Rolex’s production process is continuously becoming more consistent, so significant variations within a single reference number are quite a bit less common today than they were decades ago. With that in mind, here are three details on modern Rolex watches that might be important to future collectors.
Rolex Submariner 116613LB - Flat Blue Dial
Image: Bob’s Watches
Nicknamed the “Bluesy,” the blue version of the two-tone Rolex Submariner is famous for its metallic blue sunburst dial. However, for a few short years following the 2009 release of the reference 116613LB, the watch did not include this signature feature.
Instead, the Rolex Submariner 116613LB was fitted with a glossy flat blue dial, which was rather similar to the blue dial found on the “Smurf” Submariner (except for the fact that it featured yellow gold details instead of white). By 2013, Rolex had switched back to using a sunburst blue dial for the Submariner 116613LB, and although these flat blue dials never experienced quite the same popularity as their sunburst counterparts, they are significantly less common and truly stand out among all other blue Submariner dials.
Rolex Turn-O-Graph 116263 - Green Japanese Market Edition
Image: Swiss Watch Expo
The final generation of the Rolex Turn-O-Graph was characterized by fluted rotating bezels paired with dials and hands that featured bright red accents. However, prior to the model being discontinued entirely in 2011, Rolex produced a very special version of the two-tone Turn-O-Graph 116263 that featured bright green accents and was exclusively sold to the Japanese market.
These green Rolex Turn-O-Graph 116263 watches feature green seconds hands, green calendar discs, and dials with the “Turn-O-Graph” name printed in green letters. However, beyond their green accents, they are otherwise completely identical to other reference 116263 watches. Although it has been confirmed by several authorized Rolex retailers in Japan that there are only 600 examples of the green Turn-O-Graph (300 fitted with white dials and 300 with black dials), the watches themselves do not actually feature any markings that indicate their limited production run. Due to how few examples exist, these green Turn-O-Graph watches are already prized by collectors, but expect prices to only increase in the future as more people become aware of these rare and unusual Rolex watches.
Rolex Dials with Colored Lume
Image: Keep the Time
The type of luminescent material on the dial of a Rolex can often be an important factor when determining value and collectability, but this almost exclusively pertains to vintage watches. When it comes to modern Rolex models, rarely does the type of lume have much of an influence on value. However, that may eventually change when it comes to the unusual colored lume that Rolex briefly used on select watches before it completely switched over to Chromalight.
Traditionally, both Super-LumiNova and Chromalight appear white in the daylight, but if you look at the dials of certain discontinued Rolex models (most frequently from the Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, and Air-King collections), some examples will have dials with colored lume that appears either blue, pink, or orange. While this lume doesn’t actually glow the same color that it appears in the daylight (just like how the orange lume on the Milgauss actually glows blue), it does add a pop of color, and since these dials represent an unusual time in Rolex’s history, they have the potential to be a hot commodity for future collectors.