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It is a single known anomaly. The chances of it being real are pretty high but it could be an elaborate ruse as well. The error was not noticed by the AD nor the buyer, it was a buyers friend that noticed it. I never got if the friend noticed it AT the AD or whether the watch left the AD prior to the error being identified. If it was found at the AD prior to the watch leaving my confidence in its authenticity goes up significantly.
"Anomaly" -> That's one way, an incredibly diplomatic way, to cast "manufacturer's defect." LOL. Some might even call it "PC." LOL
 

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I just wondered how something like this could happen in a company whose reputation is built on the production of a flawless product. This was not a speck of dust on the dial
As the responses indicate, it's actually not always so easy to detect the flaw. The point is that our visual cortex engages in perceptual fill-in,

http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/cns/papers/Komatsu06.pdf

based on what it expects to see, as opposed to what the visual stimulus is, and that is the basis of a number of optical illusions.

If you've ever proof-read something you've written recently, you might also find that your brain fills-in what you intended to write, as opposed to what was actually written, making it harder to identify typos until you've left the document for a bit before coming back to it.
 
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bcc303e8222d9861b15e5a74d3718a40.jpg

Per the point above... this one got me. Easy to see what you expect.
 

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"Anomaly" -> That's one way, an incredibly diplomatic way, to cast "manufacturer's defect." LOL. Some might even call it "PC." LOL
While I didn't spend any time mulling over my choice of that word in retrospect it does reflect basically how I feel about the "9" for a couple of reasons neither of which results from me being a Rolex apologist at least in this case.

First, because I am not 100% convinced it came from the Rolex factory with two 9s, not because I don't think they can and do make mistakes (every watch I have ever owned has been "flawed" but far rarer is one that rises to be a warranted defect) but from what I have seen and read I am not fully confident of the chain of custody. I would love to have more information regarding the delivery of the watch and the timing of the discovery. I am just not ready to mythologize this as the Double 9 AK or whatever tag the watch community settles on. I feel a need for a forensic examination of the watch, particularly the caseback looking for tool marks and the back of the dial concentrating on the attachment of the 9 @ 3.

Second, as a defect I find it almost too perfect to see (solely) as a defect. While it clearly indicates an error in assembly the result is something that has some odd level of artistry in the result. It reminds me of the famous inverted Jenny in philately. Those stamps are worth $1 million dollars each not because there are only 100 and not because it is a clear error but because of how interesting and attractive the error was. Interestingly enough the USPS issued a stamp commemorating the defect. The error in this AK is as interesting and pleasing as I think you could possibly produce using that watch. Function notwithstanding the error actually produces a more balanced and subjective pleasing dial. The Rolex "anomalies" that become highly collectible are usually a result of something people find more pleasing. The only problem for the owner if it was a nefarious attempt at producing a collectible is the market for 1 of 1 defects/errors is rarely as strong as if a small number exist. If 100 were made and say 15 escaped into the wild there would be a different reaction in the market.

The Jenny clearly wrong but yet oh so right.

US_Airmail_inverted_Jenny_24c_1918_issue.jpg
 

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I'm with ilitig8 here. I didn't even notice the double nine at first (I was also looking for a much less obvious defect). I'm not a professional paid to notice such things to be sure, but I can sympathize with it being missed in QC.
 

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The infamous double 9. Yes it does exist. Fact.
 

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I am not so much surprised at the error as we are all only human, and if Rolex QC only actually consists of a single pair of eyes checking it then sure it could happen, what surprises me is how many pairs of eyes it went thru before leaving the Rolex factory and not one person spotted it.
Or, there's another theory, how about Rolex intended for this to happen so we would all be talking about it, can you now imagine other watch makers seeing this and also releasing 'novelties' themselves, and why the heck are they even called 'novelties' when a manufacturer releases new watches ;)
 

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Or, there's another theory, how about Rolex intended for this to happen so we would all be talking about it, can you now imagine other watch makers seeing this and also releasing 'novelties' themselves, and why the heck are they even called 'novelties' when a manufacturer releases new watches ;)
I think the chances of this are extremely low. Only a WIS would actually keep the watch once it was noticed and broadcast its existence, the majority of customers would just have returned it or refused it and we would never have known about it. Plus the entire watch world talks about Rolex constantly. Rolex pops up in so many threads where it has basically no business being discussed based on the OP. My point being Rolex doesn't need to generate buzz and adding to the almost deafening buzz with discussion about an error is just not smart marketing for a brand like Rolex.
 

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and why the heck are they even called 'novelties' when a manufacturer releases new watches ;)
Same as "deployant" (or its false-friend translation, "deployment"). The French word used for newly-released products is "nouveautés" which translates to "novelties", except that word does not have the same meaning in English.
 

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I wonder if a similar error might've happened with GMT bezels -- an error that would cause Rolex to release a batch of all-blue bezels?

[Yes, that's tongue-in-cheek.]
 

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Old news
but wish I'd been the lucky dude to buy that
in years to come such an error would make it worth a fortune
 
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