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Rolex Stella & Specialty Dials Watch Collection

For 12 years as lead buyer at Bob's Watches, I have had the privilege to review thousands of watches per month.  Every once in a while, that unique piece comes across my desk.  Rather than offering them for sale, I have saved for my personal collection in fear of never seeing another one again.  I am offering 14 pieces for sale.  These watches are intended for a buyer that is looking to wear and enjoy something unique, all while making an investment for generations to come.  I hope you enjoy the curation!  

- Carol Altieri, COO 

About Rolex Stella Watches

Given how Rolex is known for adhering to certain aesthetics and design motifs, it may seem surprising that the company produced something like the Rolex Stella dials. These vibrant watch faces trace their history all the way to the 1970s and have recently become trendy again, all thanks to the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection.

So what makes the Rolex Stella Dials so special? And how does it compare to even more vintage timepieces like the Rolex Ladies Cocktail Watch? Bob's Watches has shared a guide for these watches so you can get a better idea of their history and why they're still much sought after.

History of Rolex Stella Dials

Rolex's watches have usually leaned to the more traditional side - nothing too loud or attention-grabbing. It’s part of the brand’s philosophy. As a result, the Stella dials may seem like a major deviation from the otherwise dignified branding that the maison has cultivated over years. However, the Rolex Stella is as much a reference to the Swiss watchmaker’s history and tradition as the rest of their catalog.

The Rolex Stella was first introduced in the 1970s as part of the new Day-Date collection. The Day-Date has always used precious metals. However, the Stella dials were a major change. They were originally marketed to the Middle East, which favored the high gloss dials combined with the classic numerals and hands of the Day-Date.

Unfortunately, most collectors who loved the more conservative designs of previous Day-Date watches had the Stella dials replaced. But tastes change, and collectors now chase after watches with the colorful dials because of their rarity.

What Is the Rolex Stella?

Rolex Stella dials are rare, because aside from the colors, this is the only dial that isn’t named by fans. Most Rolex enthusiasts may already be familiar with the Pepsi, Batman, and Panda dials. These were all named after their appearance. However, the enameled dials of the Stella are actually named from the suppliers: Stall SA. They specialize in lacquered paints and supplied the pigments used for watch production.

Thus, the Rolex Stella can be simply described as a watch face with enameled dials. "Lacquered Stella" is Rolex's official name for this style. However, the "Rolex Stella" term caught on until it became the norm in the watch collecting community.

Rolex Stella watches were manufactured in small quantities, and many of the units sold had their dials replaced by the owners, as mentioned. Now, they’re rare and coveted. One aspect that made them even more sought-after is the subtle floating appearance of the pad print, an effect created by the pigment and varnish application process.

Rolex Stella Dials Colors

Most Rolex Day-Date models have dials that were either white, silver, black, or champagne. The Rolex Stellas were quite different and nontraditional, with bold and saturated colors that really stood out. These included:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Oxblood
  • Peach
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Salmon
  • Turquoise

Unfortunately, these unusual hue choices weren’t popular during their first release, but the attitude changed over time. The Stella, along with other Rolex lines that were overlooked in the past, have become some of the most collectible timepieces in today's vintage market. A Stella in pristine condition, in particular, is among the most challenging to find because the enamel usually cracked over the decades.

Rolex Models With Stella Dials

Only the Rolex Day-Date timepieces sported the lustrous Stella dials. Even then, only a few were made compared to the other models. Production began in the 1970s and stopped in the 1990s. Between these years, special edition Day-Date Stella dial watches set with gems were also released. Here are the specific models containing the Stella dials:

  • Day-Date ref. 1802
  • Day-Date ref. 1803
  • Day-Date ref. 1804
  • Day-Date ref. 18038
  • Day-Date ref. 18039
  • Day-Day ref. 18079
  • Day-Date ref. 18248
  • Day-Date ref. 18239

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Collection

The Oyster Perpetual is one of the most well-known models from Rolex. In September 2020, the maison released a brand new generation that showcased new designs, sizes, calibers, and dial colors. So while there were still watches sporting neutral-colored watch faces, many were intrigued by the more brightly colored variations. Suddenly, the Oyster Perpetual once again became an in-demand and much-talked-about watch.

The new batches included the following colors, which reminded watch enthusiasts of the Stella dial range:

  • Bright black
  • Silver
  • Bright blue
  • Coral red
  • Green
  • Candy pink
  • Turquoise blue or Tiffany
  • Yellow
  • Pink

Even though these colors were hugely popular, some of them have been discontinued as of 2022. Yellow and coral red is no longer available in any models while the Tiffany is no longer included for the 41 mm Oyster Perpetual. In the same watch size, only the green dial had the glossy and saturated finish.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sizes

As the company's entry-level watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is available in several sizes. This gives buyers more options given that this model doesn’t have additional complications. In the latest generation, the dial sizes available are:

  • 28 mm
  • 31 mm
  • 34 mm
  • 36 mm
  • 41 mm

However, not all the colors of the new generation are available in each size. For example, the candy pink dial wasn’t available in the 41 mm size upon launch. The available colors have also been reduced as mentioned in the previous section. So those who want a particular color for their Oyster Perpetual will have to find them in the pre-owned market.

Rolex Stella Dials vs. Oyster Perpetual

Given the obvious similarities between the Oyster Perpetual and the Day-Date with Stella dials, it’s not surprising that people have compared them since the former's latest launch. These are on the opposite sides of the Rolex offerings, however. Here’s why:


The Day-Date has two complications: one that shows that date and another that shows the day of the week, hence the model name. On the other hand, the Oyster Perpetual only tells the time - no additional complications.


The Oyster Perpetual designs have simple bezels, three hands on the dial, and a flat sapphire crystal. The Day-Date has more embellishments like fluted bezels, diamond hour markers, and Cyclops magnification on the sapphire crystal.


The three-link Oyster bracelet adorns the Oyster Perpetual, and is the brand’s simplest and most casual strap. On the other hand, the Day-Date sports the President bracelet featuring semi-circular links.


The Day-Date timepieces only come in cases made from precious metals, including platinum and solid 18k gold. The Oyster Perpetual has models in stainless steel, but it can come in precious metals as well.


Given how the Oyster Perpetual has no other complications and embellishments, this is Rolex’s entry-level timepiece starting at $5,300. On the other side of the spectrum, the Day-Date is one of the most expensive and prestigious watches. So much so that it has earned the “Rolex President” moniker. The lowest-priced ones can still cost you around $33,000.

History of Ladies Rolex Cocktail

The Rolex Cocktail is even rarer than the Stella dials. These have been around as early as the 1950s, and they were intended to be ladies’ dress watches worn on special occasions. They don’t have set design codes, but all of them sport feminine features and proportions.

With timeless elegance, designs that deviate from Rolex norms, and unusual embellishments, the Ladies Rolex Cocktail is surely an enigma. So it’s not surprising that many watch collectors have these watches on the top of their lists.

What Is a Rolex Cocktail Watch?

The Ladies Rolex Cocktail is a rare and often forgotten collection from the Swiss watchmaker. Today, these are considered vintage watches, and many often don’t know of their existence. But the Rolex Cocktail collection exists, and you'll find it if you dig deep enough.

The hardest part about describing these vintage ladies’ watches is that there is only one design cue for most of them. The Rolex Cocktail's dial is much like the Oyster Perpetual — simple and with no additional complications. Other than that, the Cocktail is as varied as can be. Some come in circular cases, others square, and even some have oval cases. The bezels can be fluted, adorned with gemstones, or exhibit a petal-like structure. Finally, there are the bracelets. These can come in the most elaborate designs, such as fine interlocked chains and diamond-studded links.

Whichever watch you stumble upon, these vintage Rolex Cocktail timepieces are a worth-it investment. They are as rare as the Stella dials, if not even more, and given the unusual designs, they can be the perfect gift to a loved one who wants to show off their personality. They can also be one of the rarest items in your collection.

Shop Pre-Loved Rolex Timepieces From Bob’s Watches

If you're looking for watches with Stella Dials, discontinued colors from the latest Oyster Perpetual collection, or one-of-a-kind Ladies Rolex Cocktail watches, Bob's Watches is the place to go. We’re one of the most trusted platforms in the preworn market where people can buy, exchange, and sell pre-owned watches. Check out our Rolex catalog today or contact us for more information.