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by Li Wang August 23, 2020 2 min read

There’s a moment in the very first Talking Watches video series by Hodinkee featuring John Mayer when host Benjamin Clymer asks about John’s Patek Philippe 5164A Travel Time Aquanaut: “Tiffany dial, as well?”

why is the tiffany dial so specialScreen grab from Hodinkee

It’s perhaps a watershed moment within the inaugural episode of an interview that helped propel Hodinkee to becoming the premier tastemaker in the watch industry. One of the coolest of cool kids, Mayer, has professed (and embraced) his love of the details that make certain watches so special. Suddenly, digging into the smallest details of a watch dial became acceptable.

“Look closer. Look closer. Look closer, still,” Mayer reenacts what one watch collector might beckon another when enjoying very special tiny print on a watch dial.

why is the tiffany dial so special
Screen grab from Hodinkee

In the past we covered the sillier side of unique Rolex dials and explored the significance of their relationship with the very common pizza chain Dominoes. Today, we examine the significance of the higher brow Tiffany & Co. dial found on Rolex and Patek.

why is the tiffany dial so special
Photo courtesy of Bob’s Watches

Not just a waitlist

If you’re wondering how significant a Tiffany dial is in 2020, GQ wrote about the one woman in the world who decides about the very slim allocation of Tiffany stamped Pateks: “For clients, getting their hands on one can feel like an odyssey worthy of myth, which often requires the approval of Patek and Tiffany’s own hundred-headed dragon: Kelly Yoch, the senior Patek Philippe consultant for North America at Tiffany & Co.

In the article, producer Jonathan Schwartz declares that Yoch is “the most important person in the watch world.” 

No longer in production with Rolex

The Tiffany co-branded watch with Rolex was discontinued in the 1990s. So the fact that they are no longer produced has created a feverish fervor of any that may remain on the secondary market. The Hodinkee shop had a Tiffany dial 16220 Datejust from 1990 in its shop, which, of course, is no longer available. The later production run of this collaboration has become very elusive and expensive to obtain.

why is the tiffany dial so special
Photo courtesy of Revolution Watch

In the 1960s the prestigious jeweler sold high-end watches in its retail locations and the Tiffany logo was printing its name on the Rolex watches they sold at the beginning. Rolex started printing “Tiffany dials” in their own factory and some versions started coming directly from Rolex and some even emerged from Tiffany’s own service center as replacement dials.

why is the tiffany dial so special
Photo courtesy of Theo & Harris

Be careful out there

If you are on the hunt for a Tiffany dial Rolex, you probably need help from an expert to make sure it is the real deal. Because the production was not as controlled to Rolex’s usual standards there are inconsistencies with authentic versions. Coupled with the fact that counterfeit versions can look like the real thing, always make sure the seller is reputable.

Header Image Source is a screen grab from Hodinkee.
Li Wang
Li Wang



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