Burlwood-Dial-Rolex Day-Date-18078-Bark-Finish

Burlwood Dial, Bark Finish 18078 Rolex Day-Date

Not only is this a burlwood Day-Date, quite an uncommon thing already, but it rather fittingly is sporting a what is known as (and I’m not making this up) a bark finish case. You see how the bezel and centre links are almost textured like tree bark? It’s a finish that was made at Rolex often for some of their better Middle Eastern and Asian clients as it wasn’t popular in the West, though it was available from the main catalogue. With no sense of irony whatsoever, this is the inarguably the grooviest of all Day-Dates.

Burlwood-Dial-Rolex Day-Date-18078-Bark-Finish

The rare case finishes like bark and Florentine are a fraction of overall production, made from the early 70s until the late 80s. While not entirely handmade, from what I understand the process was quite time and labor intensive. A greater percentage of both were made with unusual dials like Oman signatures, stone, diamond, or the wood we see here.

And we haven’t even gotten to the dial yet, which is a walnut burl. When a tree experiences an acute stress such as storm, injury, or virus, small and bizarre outgrowths known as burrs or burls appear. This wood’s grain is almost knotted, twisted, or tangled. That grain was chosen by Rolex for its beauty alone. It is often said that Rolex would produce ten wood dials and only select the best looking of ten to be cased. Depending on the type of wood, the print could either be black or the gold we see here (though this is gold print and not gilt). The irregularity of the bezel texture, for once here, matches perfectly the irregularity of the walnut dial.

Wood dials, despite the rise in Day-Dates broadly in the last 5 years, haven’t garnered the same level of interest that their stone or stella peers have. But even moreso, bark (and group Florentine in here as well) Day-Dates haven’t even come close to having their moment in the sun yet. Both are louder on the bracelet, but surprisingly subtler on the bezel. Nothing catches light like a fluted bezel. Place both together and this is something of an alternative knockout, the Foo Fighters of Day-Date world. To quote Dave Grohl, ‘One of these days the clocks will stop and time won’t mean a thing.’ I’m not sure the time really matters if you’re wearing this. It’s more of a vibe, I think the kids call it, than it is a Rolex.

This example a fantastic dial, with what looks like a Swedish day wheel which, as a Swede, is killer. It’s T signed with tritium hands and looks truly perfect. The case has been polished but only lightly. Lugs are doing just fine. The bracelet looks quite tight still. It comes from a well-regarded Swedish retailer, watch only.