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Reasons Why Rolex Bezel Fade

Rolex watches are known for their extraordinary Swiss craftsmanship. However, even the most resilient materials can succumb to the test of time. One such example is the bezel on some of the older reference models of Rolex, particularly those composed of aluminum, a common material used back then. In this article, you will learn everything about bezel fading, why it happens, and how to control it. 

Rolex Bezel Fading

Main Reason Why Rolex Bezel Fades

Aluminum bezel inserts undergo a process known as anodization, where an electrochemical treatment creates a vibrant colored oxide layer. Over time, exposure to various factors can degrade this layer, leading to fading. So, if your bezel looks dull or not as good as new, then this could be the reason behind it.

More on Rolex Bezel Fading

Rolex can lose its true colors over time, but there’s not just one reason behind it. As luxury watch experts, we can tell what is causing your luxury timepiece to lose its beauty over time. Some of the culprits that you must know of are:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: Sunlight’s UV rays are the primary culprit, gradually breaking down the colored oxide layer, particularly affecting red hues. So, if you spend time outside in the Sun too much, then this could be the primary reason why your luxury watch bezel is losing its color.
  • Chemical exposure: Chlorine or salt water can accelerate fading, especially in coastal environments. This is also common in luxury watches, which are designed specifically for ocean lovers, such as the Rolex Submariner.
  • Friction and scratches: While less significant, physical wear and tear can contribute to a subtle loss of color and luster. Even the sweat on your wrist can cause friction, leading to scratches or discolored bezels.

Different Rolex Bezel Colors & Their Fading

The spectrum of fading encompasses the diverse ways an aluminum Rolex bezel can change over time. Not every watch bezel will fade in the same way. Reds fade first, while blues and blacks hold their vibrancy longer.

Fading can be uneven, creating unique patinas, and it subtly alters the color, luster, and even texture of the surface. This complexity means each faded bezel tells its story, adding a distinctive character to these timeless watches.

Implications of Faded Bezel for Collectors

Rolex Faded Bezel

A faded bezel does not always mean something bad. It can have multiple other implications for watch collectors, such as:

  • Historical Significance: For vintage models, fading can be perceived as a natural consequence of time and ownership, adding a layer of historical authenticity. Certain models with pronounced fading may even command higher prices due to their rarity and character.
  • Investment Potential: While severe fading can affect a watch’s value, moderate and natural patinas are often viewed favorably by collectors seeking vintage appeal.
  • Aesthetic Preference: Ultimately, the decision to embrace or address fading rests with the individual collector. Some cherish the unique character of a faded bezel, while others prefer the original vibrancy.

Solutions to Avoid Faded Bezel to Maintain

While faded bezels are normal, this can be avoided with a little care and maintenance. At ChronoStreet, we generally get such queries, and here’s what we recommend our collectors do with their luxury watches:

  • Limiting sun exposure: Storing the watch in a cool, dry place and avoiding direct sunlight can significantly slow down the fading process. This is the number one tip from our experts and this has helped hundreds of watch owners as well.
  • Chemical avoidance: Avoiding exposure to chlorine or salt water, especially during extended periods, can protect the bezel’s color. Until and unless you have a water-friendly wristwatch, it’s best to avoid saltwater exposure to make sure your watch does not lose its true value.
  • Professional cleaning: Regular cleaning by a qualified watchmaker can remove surface contaminants and maintain the bezel’s luster. You can bring your timepiece to our experts who can polish and clean it for durability. Getting professional servicing occasionally is ideal for maintaining your watch’s beauty.

Replacement Considerations

While bezel replacement is achievable, it’s a decision to undertake with caution, particularly for vintage models. Replacing the original insert can significantly diminish the watch’s historical value and collectible charm. Unless it’s necessary, it’s best to not go for this option to maintain the original beauty of your luxury watch.

Final Words on Rolex Bezel Fading

Rolex bezel fading is a natural phenomenon with both aesthetic and financial implications for collectors. Understanding the causes, impacts, and preservation methods empowers individuals to make informed decisions and appreciate the unique character of their timepieces. Remember, a watch tells a story, and sometimes, a hint of fading adds another chapter to its captivating narrative.

Written By

Madiha Rizvi

Madiha is a seasoned content writer with 6+ years of experience working in the luxury watches industry. Whether it’s a Rolex or an Audemars Piguet, she knows all about it. So, when she gives advice on servicing, polishing, and authenticating your luxury timepiece, it means that it’s tried and tested. Follow her and find all about luxury watch services under the umbrella of Chronostreet.

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