While they aren’t the end of the world, the vast majority of collectors prefer and value original dials much more than service dials. Sure, there are exceptions – both in collectors that don’t mind service dials and exceptionally patinated service dials (see here) – but if you have a standard, original 1016 and one with a standard service dial, the original one will be much more highly valued.
I’d like to clarify that my definition of a service dial is a dial that is not the original one installed by Rolex but was later replaced at a Rolex/authorized service. This definition is necessary because the same dial variant, produced in the same year, etc., can be a service dial in one watch and original in another. Rolex produced 1016 dials for a long time and it makes sense that they didn’t originally produce completely different dials for servicing watches as for new ones. As the 1016s were discontinued different service dials were made because, presumably, the original dial variations were not longer available.
There appear to be three “standard” dials that were also used as service dials and one “service only” dial variant. If you find a watch with a dial that is slightly before the stated serial range for a dial – buy the seller and look to see if there are other signs of service parts or a mismatched appearance of parts. This site is not the “Explorer Bible,” stated serial ranges are my educated estimations and not written in stone. And let me know what you find, if we find that a range extends beyond what I’ve found, we should verify and update the site!
Standard Dials also used as Service Dials:
- Mark 3 & Mark 4 – used only as a tritium service dial
- Mark 5 – used as both a tritium service dial and a Luminova service dial — both types are marked “Swiss T<25” at the bottom
Service Only Dial:
- Service Dial – used as both a tritium service dial and a Luminova service dial — both types are marked “Swiss T<25” at the bottom
Picture Credit: HQ Milton & Oysterator on VRF