Anthracite, Matte Grey Dial 1803 Rolex Day-Date
Stone dials are fraught, Tiffany stamps are equally perilous, and the only thing less common than a Stella dial is one without a crack in the lacquer. That’s the cynic’s view of the state of Day-Dates, and it’s definitely somewhat supportable. However, not all that glimmers in Day-Date is quite so loud or need be gem set. This is most commonly known as the anthracite dial, also occasionally listed as ‘matte grey’. It’s darker than the light grey soleil with white print and obviously lighter than the matte black with gold print. The surprising thing here is that it’s rare at all, but, without question, it is.
These dials are seen with something like 1/10 the frequency of light grey and, this is just conjecture, but what seems like 1/50th as frequently as something more common like silver or gold at least by how often they circulate in the market. The anthracite isn’t at all as produced as it seems like should be, given how, well, normal-looking it is. You kind of just assume that Rolex has always made a darker grey Day-Date, like you assume there’s a Laphroaig 12. There is a Laphroaig 12, but not at any bar. It’s a special release always, though the 10 is everywhere. And you’ll find light grey Day-Dates always available. Go looking for an anthracite, and chances are there probably won’t be one on offer. Plus, don’t go looking for this dial in five-digit, it’s an 1803-only affair.
The real question is, does anyone care? Going by market values, not really. Or only a tiny bit. These trade hands at minimal premium. I care, but only because this is what I spend my time studying. It’s not really the modern buzzword ‘stealth wealth’. It’s just stealth. Or stealth cool. As Day-Dates seem to only be more studied, collected, and valuable in recent years, the darker corners are becoming lit. Grey dials usually work on an aesthetic level for me, but I’m a boring guy. I dare say they work on Day-Date as well. These are never going to be on the same value level as coral, Oman, or any of the above mentioned varieties. But they are quite interesting as one of the lesser seen but totally standard models. A bit like how a very well-spec’d base 911 is always the most fun. GT3s be damned. This is the 1803 equivalent.
This example is in decent condition overall, I’d say. The case is definitely polished, not aggressively but noticeable. The dial is a standout, tritium lovely and not damaged. The day wheel is in Spanish, which definitely doesn’t hurt. The bracelet is likely not original, but pretty great. It comes form a well-regarded California retailer, with box and papers which is quite the uncommon thing. Someone really lovely this. Hopefully the next owner will too.