Eisenkiesel – Rolex’s Latest Rolling Stone

Eisenkiesel – Rolex’s Latest Rolling Stone

In 1956 Rolex gave birth to one of its most enduring lines, the Day-Date. The watch featured Rolex’s industry-leading Datejust technology with the addition of a day window. Barring a few so-called prototypes that appeared at auction of the past decade, the Day-Date was manufactured in precious metals only, including yellow, white and pink gold and platinum.

The Day-Date has always been the brand’s flagship model and, long before the advent of blinged-out sports watches, was Rolex’s canvas on which it painted incredible bejeweled and stone dialed ‘watchscapes’. The Day-Date had occasionally been subtly had been some diamond setting on the earlier models, but it was with the 1800 series (1803 in all three golds and 1804 in platinum) that was launched in 1960 that Rolex really began to experiment and push the boundaries.

Read about Rolex’s blinged out Stella dial Day-Dates, here.

Rolex first unveiled the Day-Date in 1956
Rolex first unveiled the Day-Date in 1956

In 2021 Rolex unveiled the latest chapter in its stone dial story with eisenkiesel. Never heard of it? Neither had I until Rolex announced its use of the stone earlier this year and it wasn’t a headline launch like the Explorer or Explorer II, and didn’t get the same level of attention that the meteorite Daytonas enjoyed. Available exclusive in Everose models, both Day-Date 36 and 40 have diamond-set applied hour markers or baguette hours, respectively. For those who require a little more sparkle (don’t we all?), both watches can also be ordered with brilliant-cut diamond bezels.

One of Rolex's several under-radar launches at Watches & Wonders 2021 was a new Date-Date with an eisenkiesel stone dial in both the 36mm and 40mm sizes
One of Rolex's several under-radar launches at Watches & Wonders 2021 was a new Date-Date with an eisenkiesel stone dial in both the 36mm and 40mm sizes
Seen here are the 36 and 40mm version of the 2021 eisenkiesel stone dial Day-Dates with diamond set bezels
Seen here are the 36 and 40mm version of the 2021 eisenkiesel stone dial Day-Dates with diamond set bezels

Eisenkiesel literally translates to ‘iron pebble’ in German. It is a quartz that predominantly is found in yellow, red or brown hues with iron inclusions. The eisenkiesel used by Rolex is dark brown and the iron inclusions are a chocolatey brown colour. The main sources for the quartz are Germany, Namibia, Russia and Spain. It has also been discovered in Cumbria in the north of England.

The brown colours are a lovely mix with the rose gold of the watch and bracelet. I’ve always loved the 36mm Oyster Perpetual case and feel it is the sweet spot for Rolex watches. The Day-Date 36 dial has Roman numerals at six and nine and Roman ones at the other hours, each in 18ct gold with diamonds.

Seen here is a chuck of eisenkiesel stone (Image: crystalclassics.co.uk)
Seen here is a chuck of eisenkiesel stone (Image: crystalclassics.co.uk)

The production of stone dials is one of the most challenging manufacturing processes for watch brands. Like other stone and mineral dials, working with eisenkiesel is difficult as the required finished piece has to be very thin. This results in a product that is incredible fragile and brittle and can be very prone to cracking. The Day-Date used a significant number of different types of stone or minerals for its dials and now we can add eisenkiesel to the list below.

Agate A rock consisting primarily of cryptocrystalline silica, chiefly chalcedony, alternating with micro-granular quartz. It is characterised by its fineness of grain and variety of colour.
Ammonite The most commonly known fossil, it is the hard shell of an ancient, extinct mollusk.
Aventurine A form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect.
Bloodstone A cryptocrystalline mixture of quartz. The "classic" bloodstone is opaque green jasper with red inclusions of hematite.
Cacholong A form of common opal, although it is often mistaken for agate or chalcedony.
Coral The hard skeleton of red coral branches.
Ferrite A ceramic material made by mixing and firing large proportions of iron with small proportions of one or more additional metallic elements, such as barium, manganese, nickel, and zinc.
Fossil Also known by collectors as ‘Jurassic Park’ dials, they are petrified fossil slices.
Grossular A vibrant red calcium-aluminium species of the garnet group of minerals.
Jade An ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties.
Jasper An aggregate of micro-granular quartz and/or chalcedony and other minerals. It’s usually red, yellow, brown or green in colour.
Lapis Lazuli A metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that is prized for its intense blue colour.
Malachite A green copper mineral, known for its vibrant green color and agate-like banding that shows different shades of green.
Meteorite A nickel and iron alloy with heavy traces of cobalt and phosphorus. It is the crystal composition of this meteorite that gives it its octahedrite structure that is so visually appealing.
Mother of Pearl (Nacre) An iridescent organic composite material that is very strong produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer.
Marble (Howlite) A calcium borosilicate hydroxide, it has a white appearance with threaded gray, black or brown veins running through it.
Obsidian A naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as rock, obsidian is produced when lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth.
Opal Formed when water from rain seeps down into crevasses in rock. Once the water evaporates, the silica that is left behind dries out and hardens into precious opal.
Onyx Formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. The most common colour used by Rolex is the black bands.
Pietersite A variety of Quartz, composed naturally of Tiger Eye, Hawk's Eye and Jasper. Its dominant gold hues are contrasted with deep blue-black, grey and brown, as well as occasional clear areas.
Rubellite Tourmalines with dark pink to red colours. Ruby-red colored specimens without orange or brown overtones are highly prized.
Sodalite A blue mineral named as a result of the very high sodium levels in the stone, which is very hard but also quite fragile. The shades can vary from light powder blue to rich royal blue.
Tiger Eye A chatoyant gemstone that is usually a metamorphic rock with a golden to brown colour and a silky lustre.
Turquoise An opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. It is a vibrant blue colour.

The production of stone dials is one of the most challenging manufacturing processes for watch brands. Like other stone and mineral dials, working with eisenkiesel is difficult as the required finished piece has to be very thin. This results in a product that is incredible fragile and brittle and can be very prone to cracking. The Day-Date used a significant number of different types of stone or minerals for its dials and now we can add eisenkiesel to the list below.

More information: rolex.com

The eisenkiesel stone dial Day-Dates are if the following reference numbers:

Reference 228345RBR: 40mm with diamond set bezel

Reference 228235: 40mm with fluted bezel

Reference 128345RBR: 36mm with diamond set bezel

Reference 128235: 36mm with fluted bezel

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Ross Povey

Ross Povey, the founder of TudorCollector.com is regarded as the world’s leading expert on vintage Tudor watches. Although an expert on Rolex and Tudor watches primarily, Ross’s work covers the entire field of horology and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of Revolution magazine in the UK. He writes for and has contributed to some of the most influential horological publications, including; The Telegraph, The Rake, Bulang & Sons, Watchonista, Hodinkee, QP and is the co-author of the book Daytona Perpetual, a celebration of the automatic Rolex Daytona released through Pucci Papaleo Editore. Ross is also an international speaker and regularly hosts watch events in the UK and Europe.

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