1807 Bark Finish, Havana Dial Rolex Day-Date
At the risk of being terribly passé, I’m about to quote myself. Sorry. In writing about about different 1803 a few months back, I said that ‘The joys of Rolex Day-Date collecting are in many ways like the joys of mild alcoholism. In both, the satisfaction is to be found in minor variation.’ Since that fortuitous feature, I haven’t been able to stop myself imagining Day-Date-Drink metaphors. For example, the modern Arabic dial platinum has to be some pomegranate martini you’d be served in New York where they try a bit too hard and serve it with a glass top that’s been filled with flavored smoke that you’re supposed to sniff before drinking. Really quite lovely I’m sure, but also a bit much. This 1807 with its bark finish and Havana dial are what trying hard looked like 56 years ago, with a twist. Today, that’s perfectly-judged and classic. In other words, a strong dirty martini.
The twist here is not the Havana dial, lovely as that rich brown and white text is. No, the 180X-series Day-Date introduced a variety of bezel and bracelet textures. This finish, known as bark, was produced from the late 60s until very early 80s and applied to the bezel and center links. The texture isn’t crazy rare, but it’s not common either. Very often it went hand-in-hand with more elevated DDs such as diamond indice, stone, or wood dials. On a straight Havana dial, there aren’t many barking up this tree.
There’s a lot look forward to here as well, because Havana dials have a tendency to ghost in age and this one is only just starting. Most Day-Dates have black printed text. White text capable of fading out only occurs on a few 1803 dials, amongst them the Havana. You have a great gin base in the 180X series. A robust vermouth like Bordiga in a Havana dial. And aggressive splash of brine in the Bark finish. In fact I’m about to go make that right now. And it better be stirred; because we wind watches. If you shake your Day-Date in order to start it, I believe it is fair to call you a philistine. And if you want to make me happy, I’d love to hear your takes on a few Day-Date-Drink metaphors. This seems territory worth exploring. Trust me, you can’t stop once it’s there.
Moreover, the case on this one is incredibly sharp. Full marks for these lugs. It has an interesting and deep caseback engraving which is of the original owner and son’s initials. The dial is equally remarkable for its lack of any real damage, perfectly aged tritium. It comes from a well-regarded Dutch retailer.
Find this 1807 Day-Date here from Vintage Times Amsterdam for 28800 USD.