If you’re a loyal reader of our blog, you will surely have seen some of our past articles discussing seemingly small Rolex dial design details that can have a great effect on a watch’s collectability and value. Some of these dials, like the “Paul Newman Dial” or the “Sigma Dial,” are quite popular while others, such as the “Rail Dial” are less so. So if you have no idea about what is a Rolex Rail Dial, let’s find the answer here.
We have to talk about what it isn’t to avoid some confusion before we start to explain the Rolex Rail Dial. When discussing rolex swiss replica watches dials, you will sometimes meet with the term “railroad track” to describe the minute scale that runs around the dial periphery that looks like, well, a railroad track. You may also hear the designation “Railroad watch,” which refers to top-grade timepieces that were approved for use by train crews back in the day.
Another thing to note is that the fake Rolex Rail Dial is not the same as the Rolex Radial Dial. The Rolex Radial Dial is found on select vintage GMT-Master ref. 1675 models and it is featured by smaller hour indexes that are positioned slightly further away from the minute track. Sometimes the terms “rail dial” and “radial dial” are erroneously used interchangeably.
A Rolex Rail Dial refers to the instance where the letter “C” in “Chronometer” is nicely aligned with the letter “C” in “Certified” in the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ text on the dial. While the real origins of the nickname “rail” is unknown, we can only assume it is because the two letters Cs line up like tracks. The words “Chronometer” and “Certified” are not usually arranged that way if you look at a typical Rolex dial; so Rail Dials stand out as an anomaly – and collectors love anomalies.
Rolex Rail Dials can be seen on select vintage Explorer II ref. 1655 and Explorer II 16550 models. Yet the most famous and collectible rolex daytona replica Rail Dials are the ones are those found on vintage Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “Great White” models and vintage Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “COMEX” models.
The Sea-Dweller Rail Dials were made for two short years from 1977 to 1979 by the Stern dial makers. As a result, they are rather rare on the vintage market. This is particularly true since Rolex service dials fitted to these special Sea-Dweller watches did not have the perfectly aligned “Cs” – therefore, they are not considered Rolex Rail Dials.
Generally, the placement and style of fonts on Rolex dials are of great interest to many Rolex watch collectors. Actually, dial inconsistencies have paved the way for the so-called “Mark” categorization of replica Rolex dials among collectors. And sometimes, a dial detail is so said that it obtains its own nickname outside of the “Mark” labels – just like the Rolex Rail Dial.