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Back in 2013, Rolex released a new crop of Day-Date with some unique features. For the first time, the Day-Date was sold on a leather strap. But that wasn’t what got collectors excited.
What stood out the most were the dials: bright, vibrant, and completely out-of-character for Rolex. Or was it?
In fact, it wasn’t.
In the 1970s, Rolex took the Day-Date—the refined, elegant, presidential Day-Date—and equipped it with eye-popping dials in a veritable kaleidoscope of colors. Think blue like the waters off St. Tropez, green as bright as mint leaves, or shocking pink that would make even Elsa Schiaparelli blush. This was achieved using layers of lacquered enamel, a material beloved by the watch industry, but known for its brittle fragility.
Originally intended for the Middle Eastern market, these watches—in all their psychedelic glory—stood out from Rolex’s more staid offerings. However, sales weren’t robust enough to justify making them a staple in the Crown’s collection. So they, like many 1970s fashions (bell-bottoms, shag carpets, avocado green curtains…), were discontinued, and faded from the consumer consciousness.
That is until a few years ago, when examples started appearing on the market again. Now, collectors became fascinated with these most un-Rolex of Rolexes. Far from being dated, they were fresh, unique, and incredibly fascinating.
They became known as “Stella” dials, either from the Latin stella for star or for the colors’ similarity to the palette of American artist, Frank Stella.
The “Stella dial” Day-Date we offer here is a Reference 1803 from the late 1970s. Its dial is an absolute stunner: a warm oxblood that calls to mind rich, Cordovan leather. A previous owner chose to echo that stunning color by fitting the watch to a custom Burgundy leather Camille Fournet strap.
Beyond being merely visually arresting, with a sharp case and gorgeous lume, this watch is a veritable time capsule. It comes complete with wallet, calendar, paperwork, hangtag, and punched papers that indicate that the watch was sold in Dubai in 1976. All of this is enclosed in a leather box that is as gorgeous as the watch is.
18K Yellow gold case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Day-Date Reference 1803. Circa 1976.
Overall Condition: 18K Yellow gold case is in excellent condition, with thick lugs and no signs of polishing. Case shows only the slightest signs of use and wear. Oxblood enamel dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing. Luminescent elements of the hour plots show a fine even patina that is matched in the hands. Rolex screw-down crown. Case back is in very good condition with light signs of wear. Includes one 20mm custom burgundy leather Camille Fournet strap with yellow gold Rolex buckle.
Also includes box, wallet, calendar, paperwork, hang tag, and punched papers from Dubai dated 1976.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options