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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this on TRF and got a bunch of blank stares, so we'll try again here.

This is a 14060 T-Serial ('1996). The dial has a unique spider pattern. I haven't had much luck in my research. I did manage to find a Reddit sales listing for a T-Serial that also had the same patina (it was definitely a different watch). In the Reddit comments, another user claimed to also have a T-Serial with the same effect but did not provide a photo to prove it. I don't consider this to be a traditional "spider" dial since those are typically found in much older watches.

I know the picture is not great but it was the best I could do to capture the patina. You can only see it at a certain angle. It's definitely not a fingerprint.
00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200130194655029_COVER.jpg

Here's a straight-on photo of the same watch. Dial looks normal and correct under most lighting conditions.
IMG_20200123_201031.jpg

My assumption is that it is an authentic dial that has a manufacturing flaw and was produced only in 1996. Likely only a small number of these would have been made otherwise I would have found other examples online. Any sent to Rolex for service would have had their dials replaced. It is a very subtle effect and very difficult to see. Some owners may have them and not even noticed.

If you have a T-serial 14060 with an original dial, please study it closely and let me know if you see the same effect.
 

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I'm no expert but I believe that's called a Spider dial but you already know about that. It is caused by imperfections in the dial material used and lacquering which uniquely cracks over time - it's the result of experimentation with new materials before Rolex perfected the right combination to finish the dials:

https://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-blog/resources/desirable-imperfections.html

It's on Bob's Watches.

If I'm wrong, hope someone can help to answer this or affirm.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Spider dial?


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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

I'm no expert but I believe that's called a Spider dial but you already know about that. It is caused by imperfections in the dial material used and lacquering which uniquely cracks over time - it's the result of experimentation with new materials before Rolex perfected the right combination to finish the dials:

https://www.bobswatches.com/rolex-blog/resources/desirable-imperfections.html

It's on Bob's Watches.

If I'm wrong, hope someone can help to answer this or affirm.
I've been hesitant to call it that, only because the research I've done indicates that the typical spider dials occurred in the 1980s. I was not able to find reference to "spider dial" issues in the mid 90s.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

looks like fungus. It’s not spider. Whatever it is it needs cleaning off before it damages anything. No, you’ve not found the holy grail.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

looks like fungus. It’s not spider. Whatever it is it needs cleaning off before it damages anything. No, you’ve not found the holy grail.
Unless you have first-hang experience with this before, I consider that to be the least likely theory that I've heard so far.

The picture may look like that, but up close it is clearly not material growing on the surface. I believe it's part of the dial and does not look like it could be cleaned off (although I admit that I haven't tried).
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Unless you have first-hang experience with this before, I consider that to be the least likely theory that I've heard so far.

The picture may look like that, but up close it is clearly not material growing on the surface. I believe it's part of the dial and does not look like it could be cleaned off (although I admit that I haven't tried).
OK but thx for sharing
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Here's photos from an old classified listing on r/Watchexchange on Reddit. According to the seller, also a T-serial. This shows the same dial effect.

At least I know that mine isn't the only one out there.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Is it definitely on the dial, or is the AR coating degrading on the underside of the crystal?
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Noted, thank you!
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

I’ll second the fungus possibility, but likely a finishing issue. It does remind me of how fungus looks after it’s etched into the interior glass on a camera lens. I clearly couldn’t say this.. but it’s a possibility. However this is on a metal dial and not glass. If it’s etched, it can’t just be cleaned away.

Let us know if you figure it out.


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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Almost looks like an enamel dial degrading...
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

I have no real answer but as a collector of old guitars it reminds me of how the finish "checkers" on old Les Pauls.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

@OP, It’s a spider dial, I’m pretty sure from your pictures. I have seen similar crazing on other Rolexes, though not from T serial.
A quick google showed a couple of other T serials, like you said.
Spidering is just the affect when the lacquer cracks, it is not just a Rolex problem, other manufacturers have too.
Just because it’s not from the traditional date range does not change the fact that it’s cracked.
Question OP, did you buy the watch like this or did it happen over your time of ownership?
Enjoy your unique 14060.
One thing about spider dials, is no two are the same.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Personally I’d call it damage not patina. Although there are some that enjoy these type of things. If it was my watch I’d be looking to get it restored, and would even consider changing the dial.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Spider dials are most commonly associated with pieces from the 1980's, because it was during this time that a several production runs had an issue with the lacquer, which ended up producing many spider dials.

That said, spider dials are not relegated strictly to those runs, and there are many examples from other production years... both earlier and later.

Many issues can result in the lacquer cracking. It's just that the faulty lacquer used during those 1980's runs produced an extraordinarily fragile finish.
 

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Re: Has anyone seen this patine on a Sub dial before?

Personally I’d call it damage not patina. Although there are some that enjoy these type of things. If it was my watch I’d be looking to get it restored, and would even consider changing the dial.
Why? You'd burn money just to make some statement about patinaed pieces being "damaged" and not "collector's items"? I think Sporty has broken some brains on this site, mate.

If you are lucky enough to acquire a Rolex with a valuable patina, just sell it to a collector. Then buy an "undamaged" piece, and pocket the profit.
 
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