Standing before my eyes was the most perfect of God’s creatures, a wonderful mix of Audrey Hepburn and Penelope Cruz. I think my heart skipped a beat, and I heard the chimes of every single minute repeater Patek Philippe had ever created – all chiming at exactly the same time! Six months later the gentle creature and I were married. This extraordinary story reflects the marvelous world of vintage watches: finding the rare bird, linking it to a story, and never letting it go.
The collector community has christened vintage Rolex models with a great many nicknames. One of these is the “rail” dial. While the exact origins of the word “rail” are not clear, this name is used for Rolex dials on which the letter C within the two lines stating “superlative chronometer” and “officially certified” line up as straight as train tracks. Have a look at an Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a watch water-resistant to a depth of 610 meters (2,000 feet), with a “rare” rail dial.
I recall when I first found a Rolex Submariner 5512 with zinc sulfide on the dial. It led to a major discussion on an Internet forum about whether the dial had been re-lumed or not. Well, years later, we know a lot more; and one thing that is now certain is that the dial had not been re-lumed, but that it was an original zinc sulfide dial.