Color plays an essential role in the success or failure of any design. Different colors, and even different shades of the same color, subconsciously affect the way we view an object and the value we place on it.
The trademark green found in the Rolex logo has strong associations with reliability, adaptability and, perhaps most of all, prosperity and wealth—it’s the color of money after all. There are several striking green watches in the catalog, probably the most immediately recognizable being ‘The Hulk’ Submariner 116610LV.
However, blue is another of Rolex’s signature colors, and one used much more frequently in the lineup. In the world of color psychology, it has positive connotations of calmness and authority, trustworthiness, and confidence.
Blue Rolex dial watches has found its way, in a variety of hues, onto several of Rolex’s most popular models. Enhancing a classic design with a non-traditional color takes it in a whole new direction and makes a completely different statement to the more conventional monochrome versions. Where Rolex has always been a byword for luxurious understatement, their brightly colored range are for those comfortable drawing a little more attention to themselves.
Here’s a look at some of their most successful blue Rolex dial.
Rolex have actually released three blue dial versions of their most iconic creation. The world’s favorite dive watch is available in yellow gold and yellow gold/stainless steel. It is also the only Submariner to come in white gold, which, not to be outdone by The Hulk in the unflattering nickname stakes, is affectionately known as The Smurf.
Like their angry green cousin, the two yellow gold Subs are fitted with the iridescent ‘Sunburst’ dial, whose color shifts and varies according to the ambient light, while the dial on the Smurf is a flat, rich blue Rolex dial that matches its Cerachrom bezel.
As a tool watch, it benefits from the same class-leading features as the standard item; water resistant to 300m, and powered by the ultra tough caliber 3135 movement—as yet, there isn’t a No-Date Sub with a blue Rolex dial.
The unidirectional diver’s bezel is scratchproof and virtually indestructible and all three versions sit on the Oyster bracelet fitted with the Glidelock clasp that allows for the band to be extended in 2mm increments to fit over a wetsuit.
The design of the Submariner is deeply ingrained in the psyche and the three blue additions are stunning accompaniments to the collection. Their choice of metals is aimed at appealing across the full spectrum of watch buyers. The yellow gold model is an overtly attention-grabbing watch, for those looking to stand out from the crowd, whereas the white gold version is a much more subtle affair, but still with an eye-catching element. In between, the yellow gold and steel type is perhaps the best of both worlds and the cheapest (or, least expensive!) of the three.
Sea-Dweller Deepsea D-Blue Dial
Rolex were the first watchmaker to reach the highest point on the globe, when they accompanied Hillary and Tensing to the top of Everest, and they have now claimed ownership of the deepest part of our planet after joining film director, adventurer and all around badass James Cameron to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Three specially made editions of the Submariner’s big brother went along for the ride aboard Cameron’s explorer vessel, the Deepsea Challenger, on its descent to 35,787 feet under the ocean—that’s as near as makes no difference seven miles. The trio, two attached to the ship’s hull and one on the robotic arm that gathered sea life samples, all made it back unscathed, proving themselves tougher than the robotic arm, which malfunctioned.
To commemorate the titanic feat (ha!), Rolex released the Deepsea D-Blue Dial in 2014 at a screening of Cameron’s documentary film of the trip. Identical internally to the bombproof Deepsea built for the hard-core world of commercial saturation diving, the dial on the D-Blue graduates from a rich dark-blue at the top, descending to a deep black to represent the dive to the fathomless depths.
The combination of a 5.5mm thick sapphire crystal, a titanium case back measuring 3.28mm and an inner ring forged from BioDur 108 steel, a non-magnetic nickel-free alloy, adds up to give the Deepsea nearly 13,000ft of water resistance. Not quite good enough for Mr. Cameron but still deeper than any nuclear submarine can venture.
Aside from the ombré blend on the dial, the only subtle difference to the standard look is the ‘Deepsea’ name changing position from 12 to 6 o’clock and picked out in the same green as Cameron’s submersible.
This behemoth of a watch, the largest in the Rolex fleet, is an extremely impressive piece of engineering and the D-Blue edition is set for future classic status.
One of the trickiest Rolexes to quantify ever since its launch, the Milgauss is technically a sports watch, seeing as it’s housed in an Oyster case, but a sports watch aimed at scientists. Go figure. Its earliest iterations even had a Submariner-esque rotating bezel.
Its relaunch in 2007 with the ref 116400, after the name was discontinued in 1988, retained the Milgauss’s USP—its resistance to magnetic fields by encasing the movement in a soft iron Faraday cage.
The watch’s name comes from the French phrase mille gauss, meaning 1000 gauss. Gauss is the measure of magnetic flux density, which, if I’m not mistaken, is the thing that powered the Delorean in Back To The Future. (I’m not actually a scientist). But whatever they are, the Milgauss is impervious to 1000 of them.
Even though the new generation was originally only available with a black or white dial, they were still among the most colorful of the brand’s sports offerings. The minute track and hour markers are accented in a vivid orange, as is the name under the 12 o’clock position and the second hand, fashioned into the shape of a lightning bolt in a fit of uncharacteristic Rolex whimsy.
For the 50th anniversary edition, the brand launched the ref. 116400 GV, standing for ‘glace verte’, to represent the green tint on the watch’s sapphire crystal, using a process so complicated that even Rolex haven’t bothered patenting it.
And in 2014 they upped the color stakes even more by releasing the Z Blue, an identical watch to the anniversary model but with an electric blue Rolex dial (what else?).
What had been the dark horse of the Rolex range and a struggler in terms of sales has now found a strong audience beyond the laboratory. Still very much the odd one out in the sports range, it’s that exact quality, coupled with its bold scheme of contrasting colors, that has won it its laurels. Where Submariners and GMT-Masters are obvious choices for those seeking out the ultimate tool watch, the quirks of the Milgauss make it a much more individual piece.
With its 40mm Oyster case and Twinlock crown system, along with the robust caliber 3131 Superlative Chronometer movement, it is a very capable performer and the Z Blue (standing for the zirconium used in the coating) is arguably one of the most legible dials in the range.
The Blue Dial Rolex
You can find blue dials on the majority of the Rolex line up. It’s a useful color for designers in that it stands out without screaming for attention, qualities that have always marked the ideal Rolex buyer.
In a sea of blacks, whites, and silvers, the understated extrovert often favors a touch of blue.