The definition of California Dial is straightforward: a dial with half Roman numerals and half Arabic numerals. More specifically, 10 to 2 are Roman numerals, 4 to 8 are Arabic numerals, and the designs 3/6/9/12 vary from brand to brand.
Briefly describe the history of California Pan.
The two brands most closely related to the California plate are Rolex and Panerai. As early as 1934, Rolex began manufacturing watches with California dials, namely Ref. 3595 bubble back. The most excellent vintage watch Rolex has ever produced, the Ref. 3595, maybe small by today’s standards (32 to 34 mm in diameter), but it has a unique personality that makes it endearing. The rose gold “hooded” lugs, tonneau-shaped case, and bubble-shaped case back are entirely different from the style of modern Rolex timepieces. Best replica watches review.
In 1936, the Italian Navy asked Panerai to manufacture a watch for diving commandos. The requirement was to be waterproof and pressure-resistant, and the dial information should be clear and easy to read at night and in underwater environments. Ref.3646 came into being, and its design was similar to other watches of that era. But compared with diving watches from the 1950s and 1960s, such as Doxa Sub300T, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Omega Ploprof, and Rolex Sea-Dweller, Ref. 3646 has an entirely different wild style.
Panerai did not make the Ref. 3646 watch (but did make measuring instruments, such as depth gauges) but turned to Rolex, who made the watch to the specifications of the Italian Navy.
Therefore, Rolex produced Ref. 3646 for Panerai, the first mass-produced model released by Panerai. Ref.3646 uses a 47 mm diameter Rolex Oyster case with welded lugs and a built-in Rolex Caliber 618 manual movement (16 lines, 17 jewels). The dial consists of two layers, which are tightly pressed together: the lower layer is coated with Radiomir fluorescent material, and the upper layer leaves a gap for the hour markers to make the fluorescence transparent.
The Ref.3646 California dial watch is produced in tiny quantities. Among the 27 known E-types, 17 have California dials. This type of watch is beautiful to collectors of antique military watches, especially Panerai watches.
In 1941, Rolex applied for a patent for the dial design of Ref. 3646 (not yet called the California dial), which was approved the following year. The patent claims that the thicker numerals make it easier to apply fluorescent materials but does not explain the use of two different types of numerals. Ref.3646 was produced from 1938 until the 1950s and was divided into classes A to G, depending on the design. Decades later, Panerai reinvented the Ref. 3646 and launched the Radiomir 1936 watch in 2011. Since then, multiple Ref.3646 replicas have been released. Swiss replica watches.
Why is the California plate called the California plate?
The short answer is that no one knows, but various speculations have been thrown around on major watch forums.
Speculation 1: In the 1930s and 1940s, customers in California (referred to as “California”) preferred mixed digital dial designs.
During the heyday of the California dial, Rolex produced many bubble-back watches with California dials warmly welcomed by California customers. Rolex dealers were aware of this trend, so watches became a fashion icon in the Golden State (and in high demand); the hybrid numeral dials earned the nickname “California dial.”
Speculation 2: California dealers sold many watches with hybrid digital dials in the 1980s
In the 1980s, antique dealers on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles sold many bubble-back watches with half-Roman and half-Arabic numeral dials. Then, the California dealer began to contact dealers in other places to collect such clocks to sell to customers. Over time, these dials were nicknamed “California dials.”
Speculation 3: A California dial restorer in the 1970s processed many hybrid numeral dials
This speculation comes from the famous watch writer and dealer James Dowling. The original story was that someone asked a question about the California disk on the Timezone forum, and Mr. James Dowling responded with speculation about the origin of the name.
In the 1970s, as the retro watch craze took off, Los Angeles dial restorer Kirk Rich made some dials using this design. These dials were so popular that many antique watch shops in California also sent dials to Kirk Rich. As a result, dealers in the United States and other parts of the world began calling it a “California” plate.
So, that’s what happened: the mystery of the California plate was revealed. A third guess is correct. The California dial was named after a popular dial restorer in the 1970s.
Series: Oyster Perpetual
Dial Color: Silver Dial
Band Color: Silver-tone
Band Width: 20mm
Case Size: 36mm