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Rolex (Victory) California Dial Ref. 7448 circa 1942


Every now and then, you come across a true classic. No matter what you collect there are certain things generally called classic, and in some cases those things really shouldn’t be labelled as such.

I find that very true in both of my main pursuits, one being classic cars and the other collectible watches.


I feel that just because a watch is collectible does not make it an instant classic. I think classic objects literally have to stand the test of time in order to live up to the description.


For that reason, I do not think all Rolex are classics although I do think they are all collectible.


I do have a few Rolex watches that really stand the test for classics. One is a 1968 Daytona, rather a Rolex Unicorn. Others I have are far more affordable but may fit the description classic even better than a vintage Daytona.


This particular watch meets those criteria and then some.


It is an immaculate Rolex black faced 7448. This is the watch that is often referred to as they California dial.


This particular watch is immaculate, as if manufactured yesterday and sports the black face with a combination of Roman Numerals on the top and Arabic numerals on the bottom.


There are many reasons floated for why Rolex did this however when they did it is indisputable.

There exists patent office paperwork patenting the rather odd watch face in 1941 and Rolex called it the high visibility dial.


It is oft stated that this particular watch was the predecessor of the later Submariners and GMTs. 

I guess that could be, but I think that this rare and eccentric watch is certainly in a class by itself.

The photos show the amazing condition and the watch runs as well as it looks and has been recently serviced.


A great collectible and a Rolex you can wear that will take people by surprise.


David Charles Grainger

Rolex Oyster Black "California" Dial

  • Length: 8.9" long

    Case to case: 4.7 mm

    Lug to lug: 5 mm

  • Weight: 31 grams

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