Finds Vintage

Pleiade 18038 Rolex Day-Date


I must admit outright, I am not much of a diamond dial person, factory or otherwise. But I do strive to educationally Where to begin a diamond Day-Date as uncommon as this? Masterfully crafted and ostracized or adored in equal measure depending on one’s stance; I must admit outright not to be much of a diamond dial person, factory or otherwise. But I do strive to educationally appreciate that which I do not necessarily desire. And, where diamond dials are concerned, it’s hard to think of a more deserving watch than an early Pleiade. Pleiade dials were made available to friends of Rolex (uncatalogued) starting in, you guessed it, the early 80s. The option would add around 7K CHF to the total ask and, as one might imagine, these were not widely sold.


In Greek mythology, Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, who turned his daughters into stars to protect them from the hunter Orion. The star-like aesthetic is something a bit too flamboyant for many, but undeniably well-executed. The dials were made of solid gold and used very closely matched diamonds, some with pavé indices. 


These diamonds were also all selected and set by hand, rare touch of true handcraft from Rolex’s otherwise near-entirely automated processes. The underlying 36mm 18038 was where the pie-pan dial of the 1803 died, and so we have a flat disc which was perfect for setting in this manner. In addition, it was the first Day-Date to feature a quickset for the date, making the complication much more usable. The 18038 was in production for almost exactly a decade, and diamond dials, particularly this Pleiades, make up only the tiniest fraction of that production.


This 1987 example has a full case with strong lugs. Its dial is perfect, nothing visible out of place. I particularly adore the plaques on which Rolex and Day-Date are written. The fluted bezel shows no bashes and its bracelet is showing only the lightest signs of use. It comes with booklet, box, and service card from recent RSC service.

Find this Pleiade 18038 here from @mh1717 on Instagram by DM for 35000 USD.

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