A Collection of ‘Tropical’ Dial Rolexes From the ’60s and ’70s Are Heading to Auction This Week
The unique timepieces date back to the 1960s and 1970s.
BY Bryan Hood  |  September 8, 2022
3 Minute Read

In the market for a truly distinctive Rolex? You’re in luck.

Later this week, Bob’s Watches will auction off a collection of Rolexes from the 1960s and 1970s with “tropical” dials. And with four visually distinct timepieces on offer, you’re almost certain to find one that matches your personal style.

A “tropical” dial is a dial that has been discolored over time because of exposure to the sun or a mistake in the manufacturing process. Collectors don’t view the features as a flaw, though. That’s because these dials tend to have a gorgeous and warm patina. And since no two dials age alike, they’re also unique. That has made these Rolexes highly coveted in certain circles and has boosted their values over that of their non-“tropical” counterparts.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 from 1966  Bob’s Watches

The first of the four watches is an Explorer 1016 from 1966 (which is expected to sell for US$30,000 to US$50,000). The dial was originally black but has taken on an uneven brown color in the decades since its release. Up next is a GMT-Master 1675 from 1969 (US$25,000 to US$45,000). Not only has its matte black Mark I “Long E” dial turned chocolate brown, but the red portion of its Pepsi bezel is now fuchsia. Then there’s a “Red” Submariner 1680 from 1970 (US$20,000 to US$40,000). Its Mark II meters-first dial, which has “Submariner” written in crimson, had faded from black to speckled brown, while its jet-black bezel is now a blueish grey. Finally, there’s a “Double Red” Sea-Dweller 1665 from 1972 (US$50,000 to US$80,000). Its Mark II dial features two lines of red text, hence the name, and has gone from matte black to a warm brown, especially around the edges and date window.

“These are all fresh to market watches and each is one-of-a-kind, because no two tropical dials age the same exact way,” Brandon Frazin, director of vintage at Bob’s Watches, said in a statement. “We are passionate about vintage watches and excited to share this collection with the world.”

Rolex “Double Red” Sea-Dweller 1665

Rolex “Double Red” Sea-Dweller 1665 from 1972  Bob’s Watches

Bidding for the quartet of “tropical dial“ Rolexes runs from Thursday, Sept. 8, until Wednesday, September 14. The watches are being sold without a buyer’s premium, meaning what you bid is what you pay. That’s a good thing since none of the four will go for cheap. Each timepiece comes with a one-year service warranty and lifetime authenticity guarantee.