The thought of a tropical dial is enough to get most Rolex collectors frothing at the mouth. For the uninitiated, the tropical dial is a finish that Rolex used on small run of watches before realising that, in equatorial climates it ages. Fast. The result is a unique patina that makes these particular pieces among the most collectible watches out there.
It’s something that you’d think is impossible to recreate. Artisans de Genève however are more than happy to prove everyone wrong with their Tribute to 6240 Tropical. An homage to the original 6240 Daytona model that trialled the ill-fated dial finish, it’s faithful right down to the aging of the dial.
After being prepped in Switzerland, each dial is physically sent to the Bahamas in order to authentically pick up the right patina. It’s the only way to get that signature look, though Artisans de Genève are offering it in two age variations: 5 weeks or 7. In the two-week time difference, the specially-treated subdials will run the gamut from a brown patina to a rust-coloured one.
That’s a choice that you simply don’t get with vintage Daytonas. Tropical dials are rare enough that you simply get what you can. This method on the other hand allows you to get the tropical dial of your dreams.
Of course, it’s about more than just the dial, even if that is the centrepiece. Artisans de Genève have also made some modifications to the modern Daytona case to bring it more in line with the original model.
Primarily that’s the Bakelite bezel, a material that again is incredibly sought-after but doesn’t survive the years all that well. This is one of the rare instances you can get a perfectly un-chipped version. Even more impressive is that that key element is handmade using the same 1970s machines as the original. You can’t get more authentic.
The chronograph pushers have also been replaced, switching out the screw-down versions for longer “millerighe” versions. The case has been machined so it more accurately imitates the original 6240, as have the hands. In fact, the only thing Artisans de Genève hasn’t tried to recreate in its entirety is the movement, a modified 4130 calibre that now bears their hallmark: a 22ct rose gold rotor, complete with Geneva stripes.
We’re used to seeing Artisans de Genève create new, impressively-customised pieces like their work with Juan Pablo Montoya and his skeletonised Daytona (more on that here). In this instance however they have outdone themselves. Not only have they done the unthinkable and created a new tropical dial, they’ve built a stunning tribute to one of the most collectible watches in history.
The only downside however is that only 15 will ever be made. You might want to get in there early. More detail at www.artisansdegeneve.com