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Old 19 June 2022, 07:44 PM   #1
Dave4D
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How do you spot relumed/refinished matte dial

Hello everyone,

In my never-ending quest to find a GMT Master 1675, I came across this example.

My biggest concern on these 4 digits is often the dial as I have no clue how to spot one that has been refinished or relumed.

Would appreciate insight and knowledge on this topic.







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Old 19 June 2022, 10:30 PM   #2
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Good photos and lots of time staring at good photos. Having in hand helps.

This one looks good. It has the fade (not glow fade) on the lume, good consistency, and a hint of mechanically applied waffle print. Hands may be color matched, though.
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Old 20 June 2022, 12:19 AM   #3
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These days, you can only expect to spot a bad or vintage relume. Professional relumers have become very skilled.
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Old 20 June 2022, 02:08 AM   #4
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A UV lamp is your friend!
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Old 20 June 2022, 02:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee fowler View Post
A UV lamp is your friend!
x100000000. It can't tell you everything, but it can tell you a lot.

You want a uniform white-ish green appearance under UV on the dial and hands tritium that vanishes when you pull the light away, except for some '66-'67 batches of sports Rolexes and Daytonas, which can glow a little after removing the UV.

Also, as Linesiders says above, that waffle texture is a great sign that the lume is original. I've yet to see a re-lumed dial that has that, although who knows what a skilled re-lumer could do nowadays.
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Old 20 June 2022, 03:05 AM   #6
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Thanks friends, this helps a lot.
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Old 20 June 2022, 03:18 AM   #7
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A UV lamp is your friend!

Is the one from a smartphone enough to do the trick?
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Old 20 June 2022, 03:18 AM   #8
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A UV lamp is your friend!
The professional relumers are using tritium to relume dials that is virtually undetectable when compared to original vintage tritium. Be careful since the UV light is not always your friend.
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Old 20 June 2022, 03:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by swish77 View Post
x100000000. It can't tell you everything, but it can tell you a lot.

You want a uniform white-ish green appearance under UV on the dial and hands tritium that vanishes when you pull the light away, except for some '66-'67 batches of sports Rolexes and Daytonas, which can glow a little after removing the UV.

Also, as Linesiders says above, that waffle texture is a great sign that the lume is original. I've yet to see a re-lumed dial that has that, although who knows what a skilled re-lumer could do nowadays.
Just to add to Aaron's post...

The waffle pattern dials will not be found on all the vintage watches. Also, the older sports models, usually pre 1967, and later Daytonas, glow green and stay green for a short period of time when the UV light excites it. After, 1967, they normally exhibit a white color under UV light.
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Old 20 June 2022, 03:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The professional relumers are using tritium to relume dials that is virtually undetectable when compared to original vintage tritium. Be careful since the UV light is not always your friend.
100% agree ✓
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Old 20 June 2022, 04:19 AM   #11
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Hi,

Hands texture seems strange doesn’t it ? Looks very flat and uniform, almost wet.
Strange texture as well on the base part of the hour hand.

Little bit of paint missing at 6 as well.
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Old 20 June 2022, 09:24 AM   #12
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Old 20 June 2022, 10:15 AM   #13
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Based on the pics provided, this dial's matte finish and lume appear correct. Based on appearance alone and without aid of uv light, I'm very certain the hands are relumed. Learning to spot restoration work is becoming trickier since the work is higher quality these days. That said, there really is no substitute for experience of ownership and having a trusted resource with experience to examine in hand. Lume and dial characteristics vary by era, as gilt and matte have different dial surface, appearance and lume aspects to evaluate and the lume composition, shape and texture itself changed during both gilt and matte periods. It takes an in depth assessment and knowledge of what was correct by year to increase certainty of opinion on a given example.
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Old 20 June 2022, 10:21 AM   #14
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Hi,

Hands texture seems strange doesn’t it ? Looks very flat and uniform, almost wet.
Strange texture as well on the base part of the hour hand.

Little bit of paint missing at 6 as well.
The marker at 6 is chipped. Likely from rotating the dial out of case when it was removed in the past. Not uncommon on matte dials to see this and seems particularly noticed on red 1680's.
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Old 20 June 2022, 06:45 PM   #15
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Based on the pics provided, this dial's matte finish and lume appear correct. Based on appearance alone and without aid of uv light, I'm very certain the hands are relumed. Learning to spot restoration work is becoming trickier since the work is higher quality these days. That said, there really is no substitute for experience of ownership and having a trusted resource with experience to examine in hand. Lume and dial characteristics vary by era, as gilt and matte have different dial surface, appearance and lume aspects to evaluate and the lume composition, shape and texture itself changed during both gilt and matte periods. It takes an in depth assessment and knowledge of what was correct by year to increase certainty of opinion on a given example.
Thank you for your insight.

This makes a very first purchase in vintage Rolex quite tricky. Given the costs involved for these watches, it really feels like a mine field.

Having a trusted person that can examine the watch is not easy.

Maybe an independent consulting service that one can commission to find a nice example could be a good idea . Might already exists though.
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Old 20 June 2022, 11:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave4D View Post
Thank you for your insight.

This makes a very first purchase in vintage Rolex quite tricky. Given the costs involved for these watches, it really feels like a mine field.

Having a trusted person that can examine the watch is not easy.

Maybe an independent consulting service that one can commission to find a nice example could be a good idea . Might already exists though.
One way to avoid the headaches is to buy from a trusted dealer with impeccable reviews who will guarantee all details of the watch and will stand behind it if something turns out to be different than the description. Most dealers, the really good ones anyway, will know 100 percent if a watch has been relumed or not when they sell it.
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Old 21 June 2022, 12:11 AM   #17
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One way to avoid the headaches is to buy from a trusted dealer with impeccable reviews who will guarantee all details of the watch and will stand behind it if something turns out to be different than the description. Most dealers, the really good ones anyway, will know 100 percent if a watch has been relumed or not when they sell it.
Sorry for the novice question again.
Is there a list of these trusted dealers for vintage watches so that I can, hopefully, track one in Europe? :)
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Old 21 June 2022, 08:28 AM   #18
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Sorry for the novice question again.
Is there a list of these trusted dealers for vintage watches so that I can, hopefully, track one in Europe? :)
There is one, yes, but not all trusted dealers on the list are to be trusted.

Confused?

So was I.

https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=856880
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Old 23 June 2022, 02:32 AM   #19
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There is one, yes, but not all trusted dealers on the list are to be trusted.

Confused?

So was I.

https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=856880
Thanks. I know the "JayJay" you mentioned............
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Old 23 June 2022, 07:58 AM   #20
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Thanks. I know the "JayJay" you mentioned............
You can trust Jean-Jacques, certainement, oui. Top notch ą Paname.
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Old 23 June 2022, 05:42 PM   #21
Dave4D
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You can trust Jean-Jacques, certainement, oui. Top notch ą Paname.
Oui for lume job he's skilled.
For other stuff, well.....
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Old 24 June 2022, 02:53 AM   #22
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You can also try Olivine prestige in the 17 in Paris.
The store specializes in vintage and five digits . You can find several videos on YouTube.
Best
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Old 24 June 2022, 07:09 AM   #23
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You can also try Olivine prestige in the 17 in Paris.
The store specializes in vintage and five digits . You can find several videos on YouTube.
Best
Very high prices.
Lots of the pieces he has for sale come with service inserts (prices not reflecting it)
I’ve heard a few bad stories (relumed dial and hands not disclosed)

Very nice atmosphere in the shop, guy is nice but due diligence is strongly recommended if you go there.
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Old 24 June 2022, 05:18 PM   #24
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Very high prices.
Lots of the pieces he has for sale come with service inserts (prices not reflecting it)
Very true.
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Old 27 June 2022, 10:35 AM   #25
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The indexes of the watch you posted look ok, with the correct "waffle" features.

Hands may be relumed, but for most people that may considered a "minor" flaw: in this case the work isn't one of the best, due to some defects visible at the naked eye.

I agree that a UV lamp may be very helpful, at least for the 90% of possible relume.

Of course you have to know what to look and what to see, with or without UV, and imo that is the most fascinating part of the "vintage experience": seeing many watches, studying them, appreciating them and learning.

Choose a trusted dealers help, but studying and developing yourself a good knowledge is the best.
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Old 27 June 2022, 12:39 PM   #26
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Very high prices.
Lots of the pieces he has for sale come with service inserts (prices not reflecting it)
I’ve heard a few bad stories (relumed dial and hands not disclosed)

Very nice atmosphere in the shop, guy is nice but due diligence is strongly recommended if you go there.
If you're a good online detective you can sometimes find the minor auctions where dealers source their stuff and the profit margin can be sort of shocking.
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