In the last few years, there has been a rise in the interest in the Rolex Day-Date. As such, unusual dials and references have become increasingly sought after. One of the most notable examples has been the so-called Stella dial. However, since this area of Rolex-collecting is still relatively undocumented, I will try to bundle the information that’s out there, and maybe add some new insights.
With their delicate finish and vivid colours, the Stella dials add a touch of exotic flavour to the Rolex Day-Date – and of course the Datejust and lady-Datejust.
Please consider this a work in progress – for now I will start with a few FAQ’s:
In what Day-Date references can I find the Stella dials?
The Stella dials can be found in the 1800- and 18000-series Day-Dates. Some double quicks may exist.
Are the Stella dials true enamel?
The Stella dials are not true enamel. Enameling is a specific process – glass powder is heated and fused to the base material. The Stella dials however feature a thick layer of paint. While resembling enamel and its distinctive glossy finish, the process is nothing alike.
What are the characteristics of a Stella dial?
Well, this is a tricky question. Stella dials have been made in both pie-pan as well as the flat (18000) style, spanning at least two decades. In the 1800-series alone, two types of markers have been used.. And in the later 18000-series, there have been some changes as well – most notably in the minute track. Additionally, there have been at least two distinct manufacturers – note this was a time well before Rolex was a 100% vertical operation in terms of manufacturing. I will get into depth regarding the various styles in the future. But for now; the thick paint causes the edges on the windows -and in the 1800-series, the natural slope of the dial towards the edges- to be more rounded and soft than on the regular dials.
Do diamonds add value to a Stella dial?
Taste notwithstanding, diamonds do not necessarily add value to a Stella dial. The thing is – the markers and crown are loose bits. They CAN be pressed out from the back. Switching a YG crown for a WG -or even RG- one is a minor operation compared to switching out all markers. With diamond Stella dials however, only the crown needs to be changed to get it matching to the case. Do the math.
Why are they called Stella?
As far as I am concerned, no one is sure. Some old-skool stuff right here. In Latin, stella translates to star. Italian likewise. So? I’m sorry, no punchline. This is it.
Straight, non-sloping markers, rail
Straight, non-sloping markers, non-rail
Sloping markers, non-rail
Sloping markers, standard minute track
Sloping markers, closed minute track with Roman numerals