Malachite Dial 1601 Rolex Datejust

There is no dial like a stone Datejust dial. The charm here is that this was effectively the base model Rolex at the time, elevated above the RRP of most Day-Dates because someone wanted a stone dial. That’s why we don’t see as many stone dials in 1601 as 1803, the premium was such that it didn’t really make sense to create this. It’s a well-crafted vodka martini of a watch, taking a very proletariat, strong base and elevating it to something that doesn’t look out of place when Bond drinks it. Actually, this would be a damn sight more interesting than an Aqua Terra for evening-dress Bond. Come at me.


The stone dial here is Malachite, which many have speculated might be the material inspiration for the green wave background we see in the design of many Rolex retailers and their own displays at media shows. Good old Hans (Wilsdorf) was married to an Irish lady and chose green for his stores as a tribute to her. But the green today isn’t just green. It’s aqua, green, forest green, all woven together in waves. Remind you of anything? This is totally unsubstantiated, but it’s not difficult to see why some speculate that direction.

In any event, the green depth of malachite appears otherworldly in person. It’s layered, dimensional, and with gilt print that matches the yellow gold of the case. Everything seems cohesive and in harmony in a way that some stone dial materials don’t. The market will tell you this as well, because recent results have oscillated between 50-75K. For a 1601, that’s a level only red jasper can match. Onyx and lapis come close, but are generally considered to be slightly more widely produced, which reflects in values. Plus, you get to pay tribute to the lineage of Rolex itself, which is just a beautiful coming full circle for an already beautiful 1601. Maybe I’m a romantic, or perhaps it’s just the vodka martini. Either way, I actually see the value prop here, as absurd as that is. The buyer clearly did too, they doubled down with a President bracelet (pre-concealed clasp) to elevate this thing out of the solar system.

This case is quite full, but has probably seen a light polish. Its dial, most importantly, has zero hairlines or fractures. And it comes on the President pre-concealed clasp, which is exactly what you want here. No idea of the bracelet is original to the watch. It comes from a well-regarded Malaysian retailer.