Four digit Rolex are highly collected and often discussed, the era where many consider Rolex to have ascended its all-time apogee. Even so, the depth of Wilsdorf’s catalogue is such that one or two references have escaped the watchful eyes of collectors. The humble 1500 Oyster Perpetual is a distilled offering; this is everything that it means to be a vintage Rolex, taken to its most simple yet recognizable form. Moreover, this 1500 is made more lovely for its sigma dial with warm sunburst taupe tones.
This example hails from 1971 and in that respect it seems only fitting that its dial should be the hallmark hue of the 70s: taupe. That said, this is not the way this dial will have looked in the display new, the taupe tones you see here have been made more intense with sun exposure. Further, the ‘σ T SWISS T σ’ signature below 6 was used by Rolex to indicate that a watch’s indices and handset were made of precious metal, here white gold. Interestingly, the dial still sports the T signature surrounding Swiss, despite being non-luminous. Rolex’s production methods at the time mean dial blanks were printed often before application was known.
The rest is straightforward period OP: 34mm steel case with 7835 bracelet, calibre 1575, and plexi crystal. I have remained somewhat surprised that despite all the love of the recent colorful OP offerings, four and five digit equivalents have not yet been dragged up in the market. I may be in the minority for appreciating the no-nonsense, down-to-basics superlative chronometer. But there are few hills I am more ready to die on.
This example is in excellent overall condition. The case is full with moderate to light surface wear. Its bracelet and case back are of the same date range as the case serial. Correct signed crown. For being a mildly tropical dial tone, there is no degradation visible in printing or elsewhere. The watch comes from a private collector in the US.
Find this Sigma dial 1500 available here from @nashvillewatchguru on Instagram by DM for 3200 USD.