Odd dial variants that are far from the traditional aren’t very popular with Rolex aficionados. But, if you like standing out from the pack but still want the classic wrist feel of a Rolex Oyster case, check out the “Harley Dial” Oyster Perpetual model 116000, which can still be found in some jewelers’ cases brand new. Check out watchbox.com's review of the plain black version here.
The Harley Dial is a hobbyist created nickname for the black dial with orange markings with a similar configuration to the modern Air-King reference 116900 which has 3, 6 and 9 numerals marking the hours and a minute scale for navigational time readings. The nickname is born from its resemblance to the motorcycle manufacturer’s orange and black brand colors.
Image Source: Rolex Forums
This particular dial variant comes in the 36mm Oyster Perpetual case size and also was made with a blue on white version and white on white as well as a version with silver outer dial and dark blue inner dial. White gold applied, lumed 3, 6, 9 markers and applied Arabic minute scale give this watch an Explorer dial feel but with a distinct mash up of elements that most people will either love or hate. Here is pre-owned example (reference 116034) with a fluted bezel that was available at the time of publication. This example is available brand new (at the time of publication) with a smooth bezel.
Image source: Loppleman.com
While this watch is not likely to be the single Rolex model in a collection, but for the collector who seeks something more whimsical and perhaps looking for a smaller case size when compared to the modern Air-King, this dial variant fills that need.
What’s so great about the 36mm Oyster Perpetual lineup is they wear large due the overall case shape, so this model works on a range of wrist sizes. With 100 meters of water resistance, OP36s are ideal when your lifestyle leans more to business casual. The OP is never out of place with jeans and a T-shirt, and at the same time, it looks great with a blazer and white button up.
With the “Harley Dial” version, you get Rolex’s most stripped down model with an element of surprise. For some this subtle style choice is perfect to add intrigue to an understated outfit.
You know if you are a candidate for the “Harley Dial” Oyster Perpetual. You don’t follow convention, and you enjoy new takes on the classics. Odd-dial Rolex models are conversation starters and may give you a personal satisfaction that is at the heart of watch collecting. Buy what YOU like is one of the most important principles in watch collecting.