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Rolex Nicknames: What Are They and Where Did They Originate

September 29, 2019

BY Paul Altieri


Whether referring to a famous person, a specific color combination, a particular shape, or a distinct dial design, Rolex nicknames are ubiquitous in the watch collector community. Some of these Rolex nicknames are familiar while others are relatively obscure; read through our comprehensive list of Rolex nicknames and see how many you recognize.

Rolex Nicknames: What Are They and Where Did They Originate

Rolex GMT-Master Nicknames:

Pepsi: The “Pepsi” nickname refers to the blue and red bezel of specific Rolex GMT-Master models, named after the colors of the famous soda logo. Sometimes also called the BLRO, which stands for “bleu rouge” or “blue red” in French.
Coke: Following the above soda logo theme, the “Coke” nickname refers to the black and red bezel of specific GMT-Master watches.
Root Beer: Yet another carbonated drink reference, the “Root Beer” GMT-Masters have bezels that are brown, beige, and gold.
Clint Eastwood: The “Clint Eastwood” is the nickname for the GMT-Master 16753 with a Root Beer bezel, named after the famous Hollywood star. Interestingly, Clint Eastwood wore his Rolex GMT-Master 16753 in several movies, playing different characters.
Blueberry: A rare and somewhat controversial Rolex, the “Blueberry” refers to special order GMT-Master 1675 watches that were (apparently) fitted with all-blue bezel inserts.
Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 Blueberry - Rolex Nickname
Batman: The “Batman” refers to modern GMT-Master II models with blue and black bezels. Sometimes also referred to as BLNR, which stands for “bleu noir” or “blue black” in French.
El Cornino: When Rolex released the GMT-Master 1675 in the late-1950s, early examples had pointed crown guards (later replaced by flat ones). This led to the “El
Cornino” nickname because of their horn-like appearance.
Fat Lady: The very first GMT-Master II, reference 16760, released in 1983 is nicknamed the “Fat Lady” thanks to its extra-thick case. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Sophia Loren” because of the curvier case silhouette.
Pussy Galore: The very first Rolex GMT-Master, the reference 6542 was worn by the character “Pussy Galore” in the 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger and has shared the nickname with the fictional female character ever since.
Ice: One of the highest-priced Rolex watches (at retail) ever made, the white gold GMT-Master II ref. 116769TBR “Ice” is entirely covered in diamonds.
Rolex Nicknames - Red Line


Rolex Submariner Nicknames:

Kermit: The 50th-anniversary Submariner ref. 16610LV is nicknamed the “Kermit” because of its green bezel and black dial – the first green Submariner in Rolex’s history.

Hulk: The stainless steel Submariner ref. 116610LV earns the “Hulk” label because of its broader case shape and its green bezel and dial.

Smurf: The Submariner ref. 116619LB was nicknamed the “Smurf” by collectors due to its bright blue bezel and dial on its white gold case.
Bluesy: The nickname “Bluesy” refers to the two-tone Submariner ref. 116613LB with a blue dial and bezel.
Rolex Submariner Watches: Kermit and Hulk

James Bond: The vintage Submariner ref. 6538 is commonly known as the “James Bond” because Sean Connery wore this particular reference on a nylon strap in the first 007 film,
Dr. No. The watch also appeared in other James Bond films including GoldfingerFrom Russia with Love, and Thunderball.

Red / Red Line / Red Sub: The “Red Submariner” ref. 1680 was the first Submariner reference with a date window. However it picked up its nickname due to the red SUBMARINER text that appeared on the dial of early examples.

Bart Simpson: The “Bart Simpson” refers to a particular style of a Rolex coronet with squat and flat points (similar to the Simpsons cartoon character’s head) that is found on some mid-1960’s Submariner ref. 5513 models.

Rolex Nicknames - Paul Newman Daytona


Rolex Daytona Nicknames:

Paul Newman: The “Paul Newman” nickname refers to a specific dial style found on select vintage Daytona watches. Rolex called them “exotic dials” but they later became known as “Paul Newman” dials because the famous actor wore one. The most expensive watch ever sold at auction was Paul Newman’s very own “Paul Newman” Daytona, which sold for $17.8 million.

Solo: The vintage Daytona “Solo” examples are characterized by dials without the names “Oyster,” “Cosmograph,” or “Daytona.” Only “Rolex” is written out on the dial.

Big Eyes: The “Big Eyes” nickname refers to larger than normal subsidiary dials on select vintage Rolex Daytona models.

Oyster Sotto: The word “sotto” means “under” in Italian so vintage Daytona “Oyster Sotto” watches are those examples where the word “Oyster” was added below the words “Rolex Cosmograph.” These are also known as “RCO” Daytona watches.

John Player Special: Vintage Rolex Daytona “John Player Special” watches are yellow gold editions with black bezels, black dials, and gold subsidiary dials. They were nicknamed after the black and gold John Player Special livery of the Lotus Formula One team.

Rolex Nicknames - Patrizzi Daytona

Patrizzi: The stainless steel Daytona ref. 16520 with black dials came out of the factory with silver rings outlining the trio of registers. However, the rings on some of them – estimated to be made in the mid-1990s – have since oxidized to brown due to the type of varnished used. These Daytonas are nicknamed “Patrizzi” after the author Osvaldo Patrizzi, who highlighted the phenomenon.

Zenith: There have been three generations of the Daytona chronograph to date. The first ran on manual-wound movements, the second on Zenith El-Primero automatic movements, and the third on in-house automatic movements. As a result, the second generation is often referred to as Zenith Daytona watches.

Rainbow: The “Rainbow” Daytona chronographs are special edition models available in yellow, white, or rose gold and fitted with rainbow gradient colored sapphires on the bezel.

Unicorn: The one-of-a-kind white gold Daytona ref. 6265 “Unicorn” that once belonged to the renowned collector and Rolex scholar, John Goldberger, became the second highest-selling Rolex sold at auction with a price tag of $5.9 million.

Rolex Nicknames - Day-Date President


Rolex Day-Date Nicknames:

President: When the Day-Date made its debut in 1956, Rolex fitted it with a new bracelet style called the “President” bracelet. The bracelet’s name, coupled with the fact that the Day-Date became the must-have watch among the world’s most powerful people (including presidents) forever cemented the Day-Date’s ubiquitous “President” nickname.

Texas Timex: The “Texas Timex” was first coined to refer to gold Rolex Day-Date watches since they were so popular in the state of Texas. However, the nickname soon expanded to include all yellow gold Rolex dress watches.

Stella: In the 1970s, Rolex fitted brightly colored, hard enamel dials into some Day-Date watches and these became known as “Stella” (Italian for “star”) Day-Date watches.

Rolex Nicknames - Steve McQueen Explorer II


Rolex Explorer Nicknames:

Freccione / Steve McQueen: Rolex released the first Explorer II model in 1971, which was the Explorer II ref. 1655. It’s often called the Explorer “Freccione,” derived from the Italian word for “arrow” because of the large, bright orange, arrow-tipped AM/PM indicator hand on the dial. The Explorer II ref. 1655 also has the nickname “Steve McQueen” because it was once thought that the actor wore one – although he never did.
Polar: The Explorer II “Polar” watches are those fitted with white dials.
Rolex Nicknames - Polar Explorer II


Rolex Sea-Dweller Nicknames:

Double Red / DRSD: Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller model in 1967. The first was the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665, which came with two lines of red text on the dial: SEA-DWELLER / SUBMARINER 2000M. The vintage watch now goes by the nickname “Double Red Sea-Dweller” or DRSD for short.
Great White: In 1977, Rolex replaced the Sea-Dweller dials with the two lines of red text with dials will all-white text but kept the same reference number. Therefore, the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 with all-white text is often named the “Great White.”
Triple Six: The third version of the Rolex Sea-Dweller after the “Double Red” and the “Great White,” the Sea-Dweller “Triple Six” is named after the three digits in its “16660” reference number.
James Cameron: In 2014, Rolex released a special edition of the Sea-Dweller Deepsea fitted with a blue-to-black gradient dial in honor of James Cameron’s historic solo dive into the Mariana Trench. While the dial is officially called “D-Blue,” these watches are most commonly known as the Deepsea “James Cameron.”
Rolex Nicknames - James Cameron Deepsea


Vintage Rolex Nicknames:

Bubble Back: The “Bubble Back” nickname is bestowed upon vintage Rolex watches with protruding casebacks to accommodate the auto-winding mechanism that was attached to the manually-wound movement base (which made the movements self-winding).
Padellone: Nicknamed after the Italian word for “large frying pan” due to its large (for the era) case size, the “Padellone” is the vintage Rolex ref. 8171 triple calendar with moon phase indicator, which was made in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Bombay: The Rolex “Bombay” gets its nickname from the French word “bombée,” which translates to round or domed. This is in reference to a specific curvy lug style found on some vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual models from the 1950s.
Rolex Nicknames - Thunderbird Datejust
Stelline: Named after the Italian word for “little star,” the Rolex “Stelline” is in reference to the star-shaped hour markers found on some examples of the vintage Rolex ref. 6062 triple calendar with moon phase indicator watch.
Thunderbird: During the late 1950s, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird squadron frequently used Rolex watches with rotating bezels. The “Thunderbird” nickname stuck and now applies to any Rolex Datejust watch that is fitted with a rotating bezel (also known as a Turn-O-Graph).
Jean-Claude Killy: The vintage Rolex Dato-Compax triple calendar chronographs – ref. 4768, 4767, 5036, 6036 and 6236 – are collectively known as the “Jean-Claude Killy” Rolex watches. These are named after the champion alpine skier of the same name who was first a Rolex ambassador then went on to join the company’s board.
Bao Dai: Before Paul Newman’s Daytona “Paul Newman” broke the record, the Rolex “Bao Dai” held the record for the most expensive Rolex sold at auction. The watch is a yellow gold Rolex ref. 6062 with a black lacquer dial with diamonds that belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam, Bảo Đại.
Rolex Nicknames - Jean-Claude Killy


Rolex Dial Nicknames:

Exclamation Point Dial: Rolex “Exclamation Point Dials” from the early 1960s are characterized by a small dot just below the baton hour marker at 6 o’clock, which taken together, looks like an exclamation point. It’s assumed that this detail signifies lower levels of radioactivity of the radium luminescent material.

Underline Dial: The Rolex “Underline Dials” are dials marked with small horizontal lines near text either above the center hands or below it. They are found on select models from around 1962 to 1964. The most agreed-upon theory among collectors is that these markings signify the transition from radioactive radium luminescence to tritium.
Rail Dial: A Rolex “Rail Dial” refers to the instance where the letter “C” in “Chronometer” is perfectly aligned with the letter “C” in “Certified” in the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ text on the dial. These are found on select vintage Sea-Dweller and Explorer II models.
Rolex Nicknames - Rail Dial
Sigma Dial: The “Sigma Dials” have a pair of the lower case Greek letter ‘sigma’ (σ) on the bottom portion of the dial to denote the use of gold on the dial.
Nipple Dial: Found on select vintage gold or two-tone GMT-Master and Submariner models, “Nipple Dials” are characterized by protruding gold hour markers filled with lume.

Buckley Dial: Believed to be named after collector John Buckley who was a proponent of this particular style, the “Buckley Dials” are Day-Date and Datejust dials with painted Roman numerals instead of applied ones.
Wide Boy Dial: Found on select vintage Day-Date and Datejust models from the 1970s, “Wide Boy Dials” are characterized by wider than the norm hour markers.
Do you use Rolex nicknames when talking about certain models? If so, which are your favorites? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Rolex Nicknames - Buckley Dial



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