Rolex 1680 genuine Beyeler MKII dial.

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Dec 22, 2018
No need to introduce the famous Rolex 1680 'red' Submariner. Brought out in 1966, for the first few years of production the word Submariner on the dial was printed in red. Then around 1973, 1974 - nobody knows for sure, Rolex changed the printing to all white. Costs may have been a factor, as printing 2 colors on the dial is more complex than 1 color - but that's just a guess on my part.

A little while before RWI went down after the hack, I bought a MKII Beyeler 1680 dial on M2M. It had quite a lot of damage to the paint, but the tritium lume had a beautiful color to it, and was more or less intact on all the plots. The price was reasonable, so I bought it.

This is what it looked like when I bought it:


The aim was to restore the dial to it's former glory, whilst at the same time respecting the natural patina that it had acquired over the last 40 years - I didn't want it to look like a 'refinished dial', NOS is not a look that interests me. Patina, character, history, that's all part of the appeal of a vintage watch - whatever the brand.

It would have been easy to screw up the restoration of the dial - the paint in places had been fragilized, and 40 year old tritium, is incredibly fragile. It took some time, some trial and error to get there, but the end result is quite satisfactory IMO.

On a scale of 1 - 10, painting 0.2 mm high letters by hand is a least a 25.

Even using X20 magnification and a 00000 sable brush with half it's hairs removed it was still not easy.

The dial is now living in a gen' spec' Vietnam case, which was reworked to slim the lugs (way too thick as they come from the factory), the CGs were re-shaped and then the whole case re-polished and brushed.

A set of hands were re-lumed to match the tritium on the dial, and a nice serifed date wheel was lightly aged.

The movement is a low beat Swiss ETA 2878.

Some other genuine parts were used: Rolex 703 crown and tube, a Top Hat T127 and a Rolex insert with tritium pearl, the patina matching the tritium dial nicely.

The 'after' pics:









Thanks for looking !


May 9, 2018
Nice restoration! What kind of paint did you use for the dial base (i.e. to fix the chipping around the date window)?