The Datejust model remains Rolex’s top selling model and is popular with preps, pioneers, artists, and older dudes. It's one of the Crown’s most well-embraced designs, with numerous configurations available to suit a variety of tastes. Options include fluted vs. smooth bezel, Jubilee vs. Oyster bracelet, and various dial colors and metal mixes to choose from. If you are the type that wants to get noticed without shouting, check out the understated Buckley dial version of the Datejust.
Image credit: Bulang and Sons
The Buckley dial features printed Roman numerals in a refined thin font. Buckley dials are named after John Buckley, the owner of Tuscany Rose, a renowned vintage watch dealer based in New York City’s famed Diamond District. This painted-on dial variant isn’t officially named the Buckley dial by Rolex, but it was Buckley’s avid support of these not-so-popular dials in the vintage watch community that led to his name being associated with the dial.
Legend has it that Rolex created the dial to cater to those who had issues reading the standard applied markers on a Datejust dial. It’s not the first time Rolex has created a design for the visually impaired. It has been reported that Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf invented the trademark date window magnifier cyclops lens for his second wife Betty Wilsdorf-Mettler, who had issues reading the date on her non-magnified watch.
Image credit: Hodinkee Shop
Today, the Buckley dial, due to its lack of popularity, is not very common but can be sourced on online shops and brick-and-mortar dealers. A five-digit model was recently sold on Bob’s Watches, and if you do some careful Googling, it’s not hard to find Buckley dial Datejust models in good condition.
The Buckley dial is seen on vintage Datejust models, including references 1601, 1603, 16014, and 16030. In the early 2000's there was a renewed interest in the dials because collectors enjoy obtaining rare models that are also handsome and elegant. Buckley style dials can also be found on Oysterquartz models, Day-Date watches and even Tudor references.
This may mean that other Datejust models with Buckley dials could have been changed. But the Buckley dial production and usage is not clear-cut (like with most vintage Rolex watches), so there are exceptions to this rule. In fact, Oysterquartz and even Day-Date versions have been made with the Buckley dial.
Of course, one drawback to the Buckley dial is there is no lume on its hour markers. But the overall elegance of the look makes owning one worth it if you are seeking a very distinctive way to stand out in a sea of Datejusts.
Let us know what you think of the Buckley dial in the comments below.