Blue Stella 18039 Rolex Day-Date
From lilac to yellow, Stella dials are ‘in’, whatever that means. Every time I see a great one come up for sale these days, and the accompanying punchy ask, the ‘so hot right now’ Zoolander meme comes immediately to mind. I normally totally eschew anything fashionable; fashion is of the now. By definition fashion cycles. Style does not. As I see it, style is the timeless side of fashion. I aim for style, in watches and everything, really. But the Stella dial is that rare case where the watch is both fashionable and stylish. Eric Ku thinks they’re hot right now. Tariq Malik too. And don’t get me started by calling this Tiffany blue. But it will be coveted still in five decades, despite the loud dial, this is style for Day-Dates.
Stella dials are handcrafted (multiple hand mixed lacquer layers built up over time to achieve this depth, Stella was a company based in Châtelaine and Geneva who supplied the a special brightly-pigmented lacquer to Rolex), made in relatively small numbers, riotously bright, and today buying one generally means you have oil-level money. In fact, these were originally produced for the Middle East and Asia then proliferated to other markets. This blue is one of the rarer tones, behind yellow, light pink and light purple. This is what is traditionally called a series 4 Stella dial, which has no pie-pan shape, a Roman outer track, and T SWISS MADE T signature.
Long time readers will know we’re fond of a metaphor for Day-Dates: drink. We’re talking Day-Dates here, it’s definitely a cocktail. It’s floral, light, and in white metal fairly classic. It came before the OPs it so clearly inspired. It has to be a Boulevardier. This was the signature drink of Erskine Gwynne, author, socialite and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt. It helped inspire the Negroni, effectively the same but with bourbon in lieu of gin. This definitely helped inspire the more famed OP which came latter. The name Boulevardier translated at the time to mean ‘a wealthy, fashionable socialite’. The only difference is that a blue Stella in white gold is the watch of a wealthy, fashionable, and really rather stylish watch-socialite.
This dial is a magnificent in all respects. There’s no cracks in the lacquer, which most have. All the printed script is great. The case has seen a polish, but it’s nothing egregious. It comes on a correct matching bracelet from a well-regarded California retailer.