The Language of Rolex

Interested in becoming a Rolex collector? First, you have to learn the language. Starting in the 1980s, collectors began nicknaming certain vintage Rolexes based on their features as a way of describing and dating them. Here’s a quick lesson on how to speak their language. (Note: These are not official Rolex terms.)

The Bombay: Gets its name from bombé, a word originally used to describe the accentuated lugs found on some Oyster cases from the late 1940s through the 1950s.

Language of Rolex

Pictured here: The Bruiser.


The Bruiser (also called the Batman): A bezel that is half black and half blue.

Bubbleback: Named for the convex shape of a caseback produced from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Language of Rolex

Pictured here: The Coke.


The Coke: A bezel that is half red and half black, red being seen in the Coca-Cola logo.

Language of Rolex

Pictured here: The Double Red.


Double Red: Between 1967 and 1977, Rolex printed Sea-Dweller and Submariner 2000 in red on the dial of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller. Today, only a red Sea-Dweller appears.

Double Swiss Underline: An early 1963 Daytona with two Swiss designations, one barely peeking up above the bezel, the other just above it at 6 o’clock. The underline refers to a line under the signature that signifies the use of tritium rather than radium to illuminate the indexes.

The Hulk: A Rolex Submariner with a green dial and green Cerachrom bezel, introduced in 2010.

John Player Special: A rare “Paul Newman” Daytona, so named for the John Player & Sons sponsorship of the Lotus Formula One team in car racing. It is identifiable by the black and gold colouring, which matches John Player Special brand colours.

Jumbo logo: When the Daytona logo is wider than the Rolex logo on the dial signature.

Language of Rolex

Pictured here: The Kermit.


The Kermit: A black dial with a green bezel.

Panda dial: So called because of the arrangement of black subdials at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock over a white dial, resembling the face of a panda.

The Pepsi Language of Rolex

Pictured here: The Pepsi.


The Pepsi: A bezel that is half red and half blue, the colours of the Pepsi logo.

Reverse Panda: As above, except that the subdials are white and the dial is black.

Sigma dial: An early Daytona with lowercase sigma marks flanking the “T Swiss T” text at 6 o’clock on the dial, designating the use of gold for the hour markers. The T indicates the use of tritium on the dial.

Solo Daytona: An early 1960s Daytona with only the Daytona signature under the Rolex logo, with no Oyster or Cosmograph text.

Stelline dial: A variation of the Rolex reference 6062 with faceted gold stars to mark the indexes on the dial.


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