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Rolex is famous for producing luxury watches that utilize rare and valuable materials. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that Rolex took full advantage of one of the rarest materials ever found on Earth, in order to make some truly unique and spectacular dials for a few of their most famous and important lines of watches.
The "Gibeon" Meteorite, a Class IVA meteorite, was first reported in 1838 by Captain J.E. Alexander. However, the meteorite’s history stretches back millions of years before it was ever "discovered" by humans. Scientists believe that the Gibeon meteorite fell to Earth in prehistoric times, landing in the Namibian desert near the town of Gibeon. The meteorite shattered upon entry, and scattered more than 26,000 kilograms of interstellar metal along the east side of the Great Fish River in Great Namaqualand, Namibia.
The Gibeon meteorite most likely originated as a piece of molten planetary core, which was released when the planet broke apart billions of years ago. The meteorite then made its way slowly through space, traveling for millions of years until it landed on Earth. As the molten meteorite traveled, it cooled in the vacuum of space. While slowly cooling, the famous Widmanstätten pattern (named after Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten) formed, leaving the unique ribbons of crystalized iron and nickel composites that are revealed when the material is cut into slices.
Rolex, ever searching for the best and most exclusive materials, utilized pieces of the rare space rock as part of the raw materials for the construction of their watches. Rolex was the first manufacturer to utilize slices of meteorite to develop completely unique dials, pairing them with other rare metals like 18k gold or 950 platinum to develop truly unique and collectable versions of their most noteworthy watches.
Each dial is made from a solid slice of the Gibeon meteorite, which is then attached to the surface of the dial and treated with an acid-wash finish to bring out its natural crystalline pattern. Since the unique pattern seen on meteorite dials is completely naturally occurring, the pattern will slightly vary from one dial to the next, and no two Rolex meteorite dials will ever appear exactly the same.
The Rolex Daytona and the Rolex Day-Date have been long-time favorites of collectors. Thus, it is no surprise that Rolex chose these particular lines of watches to introduce their meteorite dials. Although they first made appearances on the Daytona and the Day-Date, Rolex meteorite dials can now also be found on premium versions of the Daytona, Day-Date, Datejust, Pearlmaster, and GMT-Master II.
Rolex meteorite dial watches are incredibly rare, and prices can range dramatically, with many examples selling for well above $30,000. Additionally, for Baselworld 2019, Rolex unveiled a new, ultra-premium version of their reference 126719 BLRO "Pepsi" GMT-Master II, which is craft entirely from 18k white gold, and fitted with a striking meteorite dial. This release marked the first time that meteorite has been used on Rolex's GMT-Master line of watches, and introduced a new top-of-the-line version of their iconic, multi-time zone pilot/traveler's watch.
The Gibeon meteorite is now protected by Namibian law, meaning that no one can further harvest it. Despite reaching an end in the supply of this remarkable resource, Rolex is still able to offer meteorite dials, as they previously procured some of most aesthetically pleasing deposits of the Gibeon meteorite (before it became protected), and have slowly been using their initial supply for the construction of their unique meteorite dials ever since.
A Rolex meteorite dial is certainly rare - not only in terms of Rolex watches, but also as a raw material throughout the world. Considering the meteorite dial is literally "out of this world," it is no surprise that there is a fixed and highly-limited supply of it, and that Rolex utilized slices of the Gibeon meteorite to create one of the most unusual and aesthetically pleasing dials ever manufactured.