If manners maketh man, patina maketh Rolex. Patina can arrive in many forms: wrist wear, consistent sun exposure, and manufacturing defects are the most common. It is the rare bird which displays multiple forms of weathering. Just such an example is what a have here: an early 16550 which sports both a cream dial borne of a paint defect and tritium applications which have been turned near-gold through UV exposure. The effect is a complimentary and highly unique dial tone, one which we might call cream and honey.
The 16550 updated the classic 1655 design by adding a fully independent jumping hour hand to track secondary timezones. Production ran from 1985 to 1989, with fewer pieces being produced than the references on either side of it. These few pieces had many variations through the production run. Hands and surrounds changed materials. Small variations often occurred in the ‘Superlative Chronometer; Official Certified’ text. Small hands exits. Fat and slim (or often called square vs thin) font bezels exist in the reference. Dials varied by rail (or not), black, white, and the gem we see here–cream.
This 1985 production example sports the desirable white gold indices and hands (not latter black surrounds, the dark photo tone is a lighting artifact). In addition, it sports the correct square or fat font bezel collectors love to see. For what is a clearly worn dial, the case and bracelet on this example are extremely sharp and clean. I am normally suspect of watches with incongruous wear patterns between components, however if you examine the bezel and case closely here you will see a myriad of extremely light marks. This is a watch which has been worn and loved in equal share.
Despite that, full black paint remains in the majority of the bezel. This is not common. Its non-rail dial is even in cream tone. The tritium is also evenly matched across applications and not fallen through in any area. Its case is remarkably sharp and has full factory lines. It comes from a well-regarded German retailer.
Find this 16550 here from Brevet Watches for 29900 EUR.