I would like to thank Gino “Ginobi”, a great expert and collectors of vintage watches, for the assistance he has given me in writing this article.
His experience and knowledge have been of fundamental importance in the realization of the classification of the 16660 Dials.
A short time ago on our Blog we talked about the 16660 “Triple-6”, one of the Seadweller References most loved by Rolex collectors.
A Full Set Rolex Seadweller 16660 with Pallettoni Dial.
We summarized the Rolex Seadweller 16660 history and described its main technical characteristics paying particular attention to the Casebacks.
Specifically, we analyzed and cataloged all the Casebacks types of reference 16660, also giving useful indications for their correct temporal location.
You can read the full article on our Blog by clicking -> HERE <-
16660 internal Caseback classification.
Today we decided to turn our attention to the Dials of the Reference 16660, whose good knowledge is an important factor for a conscious purchase of a “Triple 6” Seadweller.
The objective of this short article is therefore providing precise and verified indications regarding which and how many Dials were mounted on the Reference 16660 during its production.
VWC LTD daily routine shot.
Before starting our analysis it’s necessary to clarify what collectors mean with the terms “Pallettoni” and “Bicchierini” when they refer to Rolex Dials.
The “Pallettoni” Dials are characterized by a Matt base and printed circular indexes, on which the luminescent substance was later applied.
Instead, those dials with a Gloss base and the luminous hour markers surrounded by a metallic border are called “Bicchierini” dials.
Two 16660 specimens respectively with “Pallettoni” and “Bicchierini” Dials.
Being able to distinguish at a glance these types of Dials is of great use when looking at some Rolex models produced during the mid-80s such as 16750, 5513, and of course 16660.
In that period Rolex decided to aesthetically update some References by changing the Dial from “Pallettoni” to “Bicchierini”.
The ultimate purpose of this replacement was to give these watches a more in-line appearance with modern times.
An original Rolex Seadweller booklet showing Reference 1665 and 16660 side by side.
The transition between “Pallettoni” and “Bicchierini” Dials was gradual and not without problems.
The subcontractors who produced and supplied the Dials encountered various difficulties in realizing the mirror finish requested by Rolex for the “Bicchierini” Dials.
Some production defects were soon evident, even visible already shortly after the sale in the official Rolex boutiques.
Especially the first batches showed imperfections of the shiny layer such as cracking, bubbles and even an opacification of the base which took on a Matt-like appearance.
It is opinion of some collectors that the subcontractors even produced a first batch of “Bicchierini” Dials with a Matt base instead of Gloss.
To date, however, it is not clear whether these Dials were Matt already in origin or if they suffered an early deterioration ; in our analysis we could neither confirm nor deny this thesis.
A picture showing the production defects on the first batches of “Bicchierini” Dials produced for reference 16660.
Due to these initial problems Rolex through the Official Service Network replaced free of charge the deteriorated Dials with brand new ones, which today are considered service Dials.
This is the reason why it is important to reliably classify the “Bicchierini” Dials fitted as standard, especially for references produced for a short period such as the 16660 covered by this article.
To get the most complete picture possible, in addition to the “Bicchierini” Dials, we will also classify the “Pallettoni” Dials which have been fitted as standard on the Seadweller reference 16660.
In fact, we recall that until the mid-80s the “Triple-6” mounted the “Pallettoni” Dials , similar to the ones seen on the previous reference 1665.
Mk 0 Beyeler.
The first “Pallettoni” Dial which was mounted on reference 16660 is very unusual and its existence was not known until a few years ago.
It was first noticed in a discussion on the American VRF Forum and was initially thought to be fake.
At the time, it was Roberto Jatucka who managed to demonstrate its originality through specific comparisons and technical considerations.
Its peculiarity is that the pad used for the print is absolutely identical to that of a 1665 MK1, except for the different indication of depth, 610 meters in 1665 and 1220 in 16660.
To date, very few specimens with this particular Dial surfaced on the market, making it extremely rare and collectible.
You can find the original VRF discussion -> HERE <-
A comparison between a 1665 Mk1 dial and a Mk0 16660 dial.
Now that we have analyzed the very rare Mk0 “Pallettoni” Dial we can begin the classification of the more standard Dials of the reference 16660.
Mk 1 Beyeler.
Mk 1 BIS.
In this case we were not able to find a picture of the back of the Dial.
If you have it please send it to us via email email@example.com , we will add it to the topic.
Mk 2 – Beyeler.
In general, the main differences between the 4 “Pallettoni” Dials of Reference 16660 are found in the shape of the crown and of the word “FT”.
The four Mks also differs for the tickness of the print and for the presence or absence of serifs.
Mk1 and Mk1 bis are extremely similar, except for the the different vertical alignment of the letter “T” of “PERPETUAL” with the word “ROLEX”.
A collage summarizing the Pallettoni dials which can be found on a Rolex Seadweller 16660.
The switch from “Pallettoni” to “Bicchierini” Dials happened in the mid 80’s.
Since the change was gradual it’s fairly common to find both types alternated in some transitional serial numbers.
Mk 3 Stern.
Mk 4 Lemrich.
Mk 4 – Bis Lemrich.
Mk 5 – Beyeler.
In short, the 3 types of “Bicchierini” Dials differ for the different shape of the crown, words alignments, serifs and the overall tickness of the print.
A collage summarizing the “Bicchierini” dials which can be found on a Rolex Seadweller 16660.
The Dials with TRITIUM indexes used as a Supply by Rolex during the production period of the reference 16660 have identical graphics to the standard-production Dial that we identified as MK5.
The only way to distinguish with certainty a Mk5 Dial from the Supply ones is to analyze the back.
As you can see in the comparison below, the TRITIUM Dials we identified as service dials come with the number 2 ( that identifies BEYELER as a manufacturer) or the word Rolex engraved.
In the MK5 Dials only the “B” of Beyeler can be seen in the back of the dial.
An image showing the two Tritium Service Dials for Reference 16660.
In addition to those two TRITIUM Service Dials we found another Dial graphically identical to the MK5, but with the back engraved with a different abbreviation : B374
This Dial type belongs to a very late production batch, and it was most likely mounted on the last Reference 16660 specimens but also used as a Supply Dial.
However it remains rather difficult to demonstrate this fact with absolute certainty.
The “B374” TRITIUM Dial for Reference 16660, probably mounted on last specimens but also used as a Service Dial.
Below is a Luminova Supply Dial produced after the end of the production of Reference 16660.
Front of the Luminova Service Dial.
The original Rolex blister.
Here are all the production graphics summarized.
PALLETTONI & BICCHIERINI DIALS.
Now you should be able to easily distinguish all the Dials which have been mounted on the Seadweller Reference 16660.
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