A prized attribute among vintage Rolex collectors is a “tropical dial,” a dial that has turned shades of brown due to sun and weather exposure. Hodinkee reported that a Paul Newman Daytona that would typically sell for around $100,000 was sold for over $470,000 because it had a tropical dial.
Jacek Kozubek owns the e-commerce site Tropical Watch, which specializes in topical dials. He explained to GQ that when you get older, “That's when you start appreciating them. You accept the fact that they are aging, just like you accept the fact that you are aging.”
Rolex Big Crown Submariner with tropical dial. Photo courtesy of A Blog to Watch.
Well, here at the Everest Journal, we’re not into just accepting aging, especially not on our watches.
The idea that a weather dial is more valuable feels like manufactured hype, which is something that happens frequently in the watch enthusiast community. One thought leader declares a notion, and the group thinks supporting the idea perpetuates it.
We get the reason vintage collectors want them. Modern dials simply won’t fade in the same way, so tropical dial watches represent a moment in time. We do appreciate how a well-worn vintage piece tells a story of its owner’s life. We can imagine a waterman in the Florida Keys wearing his Submariner through a lifetime of adventures on the ocean.
A very unique tropical dial Submariner. Photo courtesy of Hodinkee.
Yet, we don’t think it’s a reason to pay more for a damaged watch. You can earn your own wear marks on your vintage or modern Rolex watches, and cracked or sun-faded dials can simply be appreciated from afar.
As Cam Wolf wrote in a different article in GQ: “Even the term,tropical, conjures an image of a watch packing its bags, leaving its cloudy home in Switzerland, and bumming it on beaches across the world.”
The blog Crafted and Tailored expressed the difference between damage and patina well:
However, a color change—even a very aesthetically pleasing one—that occurs due to an isolated incident is not the same thing as a patina that slowly develops due to the unavoidable passage of time. Many watches with spotted, stained, or otherwise damaged dials frequently get incorrectly labeled as having a patina or being tropical; however in reality, they are simply damaged.
If you really want to wear a watch that looks like it has had years of exposure to the elements, we won’t fault you for picking up a new watch that has designed to look older. That design choice has been dubbed “fauxtina” and evern top manufacturers such as Omega and Blancpain have offerings with lume with a yellow tint. Hodinkee penned an in-depth article on the pros and cons of this, which you can read here.
But, if you’re not ready to chase after a tropical dial Rolex watch or a "fauxtina" style, Everest’s Swiss-Made leather watch bands patina beautifully. You can see eye-catching Swiss-Made Everest leather watch bands for your Rolex, Tudor and Panerai here. And with a limited supply left, complete your watch collection with your newly acquired Everest watch roll. Your vintage watches will be beautifully displayed and protected.
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