Serial Range: 15xxxxx-35xxxxx (possibly also 44xxxxx, 51xxxxxx)
Known colloquially as the frog foot because of the splayed points of the coronet, the Mark 1 dial marks Rolex’s move away from gilt dials toward the more utilitarian matte dial. The Mark 1’s had a long lasting run: there are groups of examples seen in 4.4 and 5.1m range cases — thus far it’s been hard to decipher if these later serial groups are original to the watches or if these dials made their way into the cases later.
For early matte dials there are several things to note about Mark 1 examples:
- Flat handsets are seen until 1.7m (see this page for an in depth explanation)
- The early lume is puffy and reacts to UV strongly until 1.8-1.9m, after which there is very little reaction to UV. This is due to a change in the phosphorescent compound that was activated by the tritium.
- Fat Lume Mark 1 dials are seen in the 15xxxx-17xxxxx range. These are pretty simple to pick out since the 3 / 6 / 9 lume plots of the dial look like they’ve had one too many chocolate eclairs.
The Tell: These are the easiest matte dials to differentiate – just look at the funky crown and voila. No need to do a deep dive into the font spacing to tell which it is, though make sure that it matches the examples below so you don’t end up buying one where the text has been touched up.
Picture Credit: HQ Milton