Anyone come across this Rolex Submariner dial anomaly?

s0nic_2

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Hello all. My first post on the forum, so please bear with me. But I wanted to reach out to this community as I am hoping that someone in the watch-repair realm has come across this anomaly.

I recently came across an interesting 1984 16800 Rolex Submariner with an 8.2 mil serial. At first glance everything seems to be in order. However, upon close examination the dial reveals something interesting ... it looks like it's been stamped/struck twice. Comparing the text font and other features, with the exception of the double stamping it looks to be a MKIV dial with all the right features. But the fact that it seems to have been overstamped certainly raises some questions.

I've posted about this issue on Rolex Forums, and there are two prevailing views there: (1) I've never seen this before and is therefore a fake, and (2) everything about the font/dial looks genuine and it is likely a factory error that got past QC.

In addition, I've reached out to several well-known watchmakers and all that have seen the pictures say that they see no indication of a counterfeit dial, though only one has said that he's heard of a double-strike dial in the past.

I also took the watch a local Rolex AD which has an on-site Rolex trained tech. His verdict, "there is nothing in this watch that would indicate that any part of it is not genuine." Particularly with respect to the dial, in his opinion the text looks correct, the spacing looks correct, the texture of the lume plots show the characteristic waffle pattern, the lume reacts to UV light as it should. Basically he's never seen anything like it but he also couldn't find anything that would make him believe that it's a refinish job and he thinks it likely got past QC without being noticed.

With all that, I am curious if anyone here has come across a Rolex dial like this. Am I holding a one-off fake or a one-off genuine?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone has any thoughts on where else I could go to get a more definitive answer, I'd love to hear those suggestions.


Thanks

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roughbarked

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No. That wasn't what I was saying.
I do note however, that there looks to have been something of a solvent nature in the watch. Maybe dihydrogen monoxide?

I have seen this sort of thing happen to dials when the watch has had something in it. Watches with perfume in them for example.

If the watch was like that from new, either the seller and buyer were needing stronger spectacles or it would have been sent back to Rolex under warranty.
 

s0nic_2

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No. That wasn't what I was saying.
I do note however, that there looks to have been something of a solvent nature in the watch. Maybe dihydrogen monoxide?

I have seen this sort of thing happen to dials when the watch has had something in it. Watches with perfume in them for example.

If the watch was like that from new, either the seller and buyer were needing stronger spectacles or it would have been sent back to Rolex under warranty.
Dihydrogen monoxide you say. Heard that stuff could be toxic if consumed in high enough quantities!

But seriously, are you saying that water damage with actually do something like this?
 

s0nic_2

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I am certainly no expert on dials and am simply asking to learn, but wouldn't the text drift occurring in the case of some kind of a solvent be at least someone less consistent? I mean the shift here is very consistent between virtually every elements of the print.

Also, the lume does not appear to have any indication of water damage.
 

captainscarlet

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I think there was a Milgauss shown on Rolex forums with a similar error a while back. The black text was slightly off but the orange Milgauss text was ok.

Errors on Rolex dials pop up more frequently than you would imagine, but as they produce large quantities of watches, errors are inevitable. I imagine that Rolex themselves would be the only entity who can authenticate your dial definitively, but they would probably return your watch with a new dial.

I’m sure you’re aware that some Rolex watches with error dials fetch prices well over what perfect examples fetch. The question is, would yours? Another thing to think about is that the vast majority of 16800 subs, or any other Rolex for that matter, have never been subjected to the level of scrutiny that yours has, so rarity may not be at the level you might expect. Anyway, an interesting subject. Thanks for posting.
 

s0nic_2

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I think there was a Milgauss shown on Rolex forums with a similar error a while back. The black text was slightly off but the orange Milgauss text was ok.

Errors on Rolex dials pop up more frequently than you would imagine, but as they produce large quantities of watches, errors are inevitable. I imagine that Rolex themselves would be the only entity who can authenticate your dial definitively, but they would probably return your watch with a new dial.

I’m sure you’re aware that some Rolex watches with error dials fetch prices well over what perfect examples fetch. The question is, would yours? Another thing to think about is that the vast majority of 16800 subs, or any other Rolex for that matter, have never been subjected to the level of scrutiny that yours has, so rarity may not be at the level you might expect. Anyway, an interesting subject. Thanks for posting.
Thank you for that. Going to see if I can locate the Milgauss in question. Really curious to see it.

And I don't doubt that error do occur and sometimes something that should have been pulled aside gets through. I have had the RSC tell me to send it to Rolex and then not authorize any repairs, thereby at least learning if its truly authentic or not. I need to look into this a bit further as I would want an absolute guarantee that the dial would not be confiscated, especially if it's uncaught defect.

As far as the value, I am not too concerned if this blemish somehow diminishes the value. (1) I bought the watch to enjoy for years to come and not to flip it, and (2) it came at a reasonable-enough price that even if the double-strike did effect the watch's value relative to its market value, I wouldn't sweat it. My main concern is ensuring that it is authentic or at least being as sure as I can reasonably be of this fact.

As a side-note, I've reached out to quite a few people on this matter, including vintage watch sellers like HQ Milton, Bob's Watches, and Hodinkee, and none have seen this kind of an issue before. Sure, there are many other 16800 in existence and unless examined closely they might simply be going unnoticed. But so far its proving to be a rather usual issue, which only adds to the intrigue (unless I find out that it's a fake :)).
 

gmorse

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Hi,

If the dial was produced by the offset printing method, this effect could be produced if the printing pad was accidentally pressed in twice, although both impressions appear to have the same ink density. Perhaps the operator sneezed! Do we know what technology was used by Rolex to print these dials?

Regards,

Graham
 

s0nic_2

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May 2, 2021
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It isn't fake as far as I can tell from here but it has had something in it because the hands also show damage. I do agree that water may shift a bit of it rather than all and that it may not be so uniform. However, we don't know what has been in the watch yet.
From what I have seen, it is relatively common to see Rolex's tritium hands in such condition. Now I can't say for sure that the watch has always been water/air tight. But the movement and the dial are clean enough to where it doesn't seem like any appreciable foreign material was in the case.

I believe that with water, tritium often begins to develop dark spots ... something that is absent here. So I suspect that the watch has never suffered issues related to water damage.


Hi,

If the dial was produced by the offset printing method, this effect could be produced if the printing pad was accidentally pressed in twice, although both impressions appear to have the same ink density. Perhaps the operator sneezed! Do we know what technology was used by Rolex to print these dials?

Regards,

Graham
From all the feedback that I have received, that is exactly the case (not the sneezing part, but the dial production part). At this stage, after having done enough research, I am satisfied that the dial is authentic.

The watch is now disassembled on my bench waiting to be overhauled. Couple of things that will need to be done is I will likely send the hands off to get the lume stabilized, and it seems like the dial has a few oil spots from, what the Rolex tech suspected, silicone being used on the caseback and migrating down to where the dial meets the case. These I will try to clean with the cleaning swabs very carefully. If it makes any difference, great, if not, I will just enjoy it as it is.
 

SpringDriven

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Dec 22, 2010
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Why not send it to Rolex in New York. For a $150 assessment fee you will know if it is genuine or fake, and have paperwork from Rolex to back it up.
 

s0nic_2

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Why not send it to Rolex in New York. For a $150 assessment fee you will know if it is genuine or fake, and have paperwork from Rolex to back it up.
Rolex ADs have mentioned sending it to Rolex for a service estimate, but none have mentioned of such service. Would gladly spend $150 to get a written opinion. Can you shed anymore light on this?
 
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SpringDriven

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Rolex ADs have mentioned sending it to Rolex for a service estimate, but none have mentioned of such service. Would gladly spend $150 to get a written opinion. Can you shed anymore light on this?
I would reach out to your local Rolex ORJ and they can call their Rolex customer service number and get the details on your behalf. I have done this once before for a customer but we decided that authenticity was not in question and therefore it did not serve a purpose in the case of his vintage Rolex.

But as I understand Rolex offers an assessment for insurance purposes in New York. As your watch is older, they may not provide the insurance quote, but I am fairly certain they will still perform the assessment. I know it is a process, but it varies as the watch gets older. But it starts with getting the full details from the ORJ that can help you with the process and get it going!
 

s0nic_2

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May 2, 2021
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I would reach out to your local Rolex ORJ and they can call their Rolex customer service number and get the details on your behalf. I have done this once before for a customer but we decided that authenticity was not in question and therefore it did not serve a purpose in the case of his vintage Rolex.

But as I understand Rolex offers an assessment for insurance purposes in New York. As your watch is older, they may not provide the insurance quote, but I am fairly certain they will still perform the assessment. I know it is a process, but it varies as the watch gets older. But it starts with getting the full details from the ORJ that can help you with the process and get it going!
That's great info! Have to be honest, not sure what ORJ means, but I am guessing you're referring to an authorized dealer. But either way I had no idea this was done on any kind of a level other than there being a $500 service to authenticate a Red Submariner where the watch has to go to Switzerland. Once the watch is put back together I will definitely reach out to the AD once more and inquire about this.
 

SpringDriven

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Dec 22, 2010
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Rolex ADs have mentioned sending it to Rolex for a service estimate, but none have mentioned of such service. Would gladly spend $150 to get a written opinion. Can you shed anymore light on this?
Also, I wanted to add, that if you did send it in for a service quote, it is similar to an assessment, but at no charge to you. You will get a service estimate and if they say the dial is fake and needs to be replaced, well there you have it. The service estimate will clearly spell out any issues with the watch.

You can of course decline the service. There is no charge for this, nor is there a shipping charge, unless you are having the watch shipped to you versus picking it up from the ORJ.

ORJ is Official Rolex Jeweler. Or as you say Authorized Dealer.
 

s0nic_2

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May 2, 2021
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Also, I wanted to add, that if you did send it in for a service quote, it is similar to an assessment, but at no charge to you. You will get a service estimate and if they say the dial is fake and needs to be replaced, well there you have it. The service estimate will clearly spell out any issues with the watch.

You can of course decline the service. There is no charge for this, nor is there a shipping charge, unless you are having the watch shipped to you versus picking it up from the ORJ.

ORJ is Official Rolex Jeweler. Or as you say Authorized Dealer.
This was exactly the thinking behind sending it to Rolex. However, if I can have a paper which attests to the authenticity of the watch, to me it would be well worth it. All things considered, whether it costs me $25 or even $250, given the value of this watch, to me it is a small price to pay to get a complete picture of what I am holding.
 

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