Bloodstone Dial 18239 Rolex Day-Date
Stone dial Day-Dates are having their moment. But this, a bloodstone, defies comparison within Rolex. There are maybe a handful of dials as rare as a white metal bloodstone Day-Date across all Rolex models. There are fewer than 10 known, 8 is my best estimate currently. That makes this humble dial more scarce than a Qaboos Dial Daytona, Explorer Dial Milsub, or just about anything except the one-offs. And that’s what’s so special about the white metal bloodstone, it wasn’t a one off, a part of normal production only made in vanishingly rare numbers. Is it the ultimate stone dial? Very possibly.
Bloodstone is almost always seen in a yellow gold case. But what is it? ‘Bloodstone’ is a chalcedony called heliotrope with veins of iron hematite. To you and I, that’s a type of green quartz with some red in it. But it isn’t the red spotting (which this one has more of than most) or the green on this dial that’s interesting, it’s the white. We know this dial was born for this case and not the vastly more common yellow gold because its printed script is not the usual gold but white. More obviously, the precious metal aperture surrounds.
Here’s what’s known. There’s one in Pucci Papeleo’s book on the Day-Date, one previously sold from Menta Watches, one before from AVW (where this is now), and one or two known by our friend @johnson167. They’re mostly white gold but there is one documented 18206, platinum. That’s it. None have ever appeared at auction from Sotheby’s, Christie’s, or Phillips.
Now, it should be noted that this dial is signed with T SWISS T but has non-luminous hands. This is entirely correct. Prior to the 2000s, Rolex would frequently print all dial blanks at once, all with the same signature. Luminous or non-luminous hands would be applied depending on the dial. It seems careless, but is a mark of charm indicating how Rolex operated back then. Just like the Eastern market no lume dials are also signed T. In the immortal words of @johnson167, ‘it’s like my bank account, it says cash, but empty inside’. The last we saw trade hands publicly had fractures in the dial, and traded just above 100K. This one has none and is about triple that. I think we just figured out why your bank would be empty too.
This example is mega. I would dare ship it, I’d fly to pick it up. Most you’ll find have hairline fractures in the stone, as is very common in many stone dials but particularly bloodstone. This example is without the most thin hairline. Its case is strong, light wear and great lugs. It comes on its original concealed clasp President from a well-regarded Dutch retailer.