04/05/2024
 5 minutes

5 Beautiful Luxury Watches With Mother-of-Pearl Dials

By Sebastian Swart
Rolex-Datejust-Mother-of-Pearl-2-1

Watches With Mother-of-Pearl Dials

Mother of pearl is an organic material that is mostly sourced from the inner lining of particular types of oyster. Due to its natural beauty and individual nature, the material is beloved in the jewelry and watchmaking industries. Luxury watch manufacturers often use it for the dials of elegant timepieces, especially those made of precious metals. Every watch that has a mother-of-pearl dial is one-of-a-kind due to its individual pattern and grain. It also comes in a wide range of hues, from white and cream to pink, blue, green, and more. The characteristic pearlescent sheen results from light hitting the layers of calcium carbonate that make up the material itself.

There’s no denying that mother of pearl is visually stunning, but it’s also very lightweight, meaning it doesn’t add much to the overall heft of a watch. It can also withstand environmental risks like UV rays and salt water, so it retains its natural beauty for decades. Although it’s still predominantly used for women’s watches, there are also a good number of men’s or unisex watches with mother-of-pearl dials. We’ve selected five top models that are worth checking out.

1. Rolex Daytona ref. 116503 – Rolesor

Let’s start with what’s traditionally been considered a men’s watch, but is also appreciated by many women: the Rolex Daytona. The famous brand introduced its first (and only) racing chronograph back in 1963 with a male audience in mind. The two-tone ref. 116503 from 2016, however, makes a great unisex watch. It’s made of 904L stainless steel paired with 18K yellow gold, a material combination that Rolex has deemed Rolesor. You’ll find timepieces in this line with black, white, silver, and blue dials, as well as some with dials made of mother of pearl. The latter are often set with diamond hour indices, underscoring the elegant nature of the model. Every Daytona with a mother-of-pearl dial is one-of-a-kind with its own unique tone and grain.

Der Klassiker von Rolex – Daytona in Bicolor mit Perlmutt-Zifferblatt.
The classic Rolex – two-tone Daytona with a mother-of-pearl dial

The Daytona 116503 is powered by the in-house column-wheel caliber 4130 that was first introduced in 2000. Like all Rolex movements, it comes with chronometer certification. The movement runs at the standard 28,800 vph and boasts a 72-hour power reserve. Another feature of this movement is its Parachrom hairspring, which is particularly resistant to shocks, magnetic fields, and temperature fluctuations.

The price for a Rolex Daytona ref. 116503 with a mother-of-pearl dial in unworn condition on Chrono24 is around $38,000.

2. Omega De Ville Ladymatic

The next watch on our list is more obviously intended as a women’s watch. The Omega De Ville Ladymatic, first released in 1955, comes in a variety of material and dial combos, many of which include mother of pearl. Every variant of the De Ville Ladymatic measures 34 mm across, including the ref. 425.62.34.20.55.004 with an 18K rose gold case, or in Omega-speak, Sedna gold. The dial of this Ladymatic is made of white mother-of-pearl and the indices are set with 11 diamonds.

Inside the De Ville Ladymatic, you’ll find the in-house Omega caliber 8521. This automatic movement is chronometer-certified and offers a power reserve up to 50 hours. In addition to the hours, minutes, and seconds, the caliber 8521 displays the date at 3 o’clock. The rotor is made of 18K gold and decorated with Geneva stripes. With a water resistance of 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft), the elegant Ladymatic is perfectly suited to everyday life.

If you’re interested in calling this watch your own, expect to find unworn listings on Chrono24 for around $20,000.

3. Breitling Navitimer Automatic 36 Two-Tone

The next watch on our list has a case diameter of 36 mm and is thus an ideal unisex watch. The legendary Navitimer pilot’s chronograph has been a fixture in Breitling’s catalog since the early 1950s, but the manufacturer has only recently started offering more opulent variants with three hands and precious metal cases.

The Navitimer Automatic 36 ref. U17327211A1U1 is available as a two-tone steel and gold watch, a style that’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity recently. The middle links of the seven-row bracelet and beaded bezel, a key characteristic of the Navitimer, are both made of 18K rose gold. Further golden accents can be found on the white mother-of-pearl dial. Both the settings for the 12 diamond indices and the hands are made of the precious metal.

Ideal als Damen- oder Unisex-Uhr: Breitling Navitimer Automatic 36 in Bicolor.
Great as a unisex watch – the two-tone Breitling Navitimer Automatic 36

An automatic caliber B17 powers the Breitling Navitimer Automatic. The movement is based either on the caliber 2824-2 from Swiss movement supplier ETA or the caliber SW200-1 from fellow Swiss manufacturer Sellita. In terms of quality and technology, the movements are near identical and offer a power reserve of some 38 hours. Unfortunately, the water resistance of 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft) is somewhat on the lower side.

That said, the price is also comparatively affordable. You can find this version of the Breitling Navitimer Automatic 36 for as “little” as $8,000.

4. Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126234

The Rolex Datejust 36 barely needs an introduction. In short, this model dating from 1945 has become the archetypal sporty dress watch. It was the first wristwatch with an automatic caliber and auto-date function. Measuring in at 36 mm, it’s the perfect unisex watch and one of the best-selling luxury watches ever on Chrono24.

For this list, we’re taking a closer look at the Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126234 in particular. The manufacturer offers a number of different versions of the Datejust under this reference. This particular example is a stainless steel model with a fluted white gold bezel and – you guessed it – mother-of-pearl dial. The Oyster case on the Datejust 36 features elegantly contoured edges, making it both chic and sporty. Here, it’s fitted with the enduringly popular Jubilee bracelet, which works great in tandem with the watch’s fluted bezel.

The bright mother-of-pearl dial on this Datejust 36 is decorated with 10 diamond hour indices surrounded by 18K white gold settings.

Archetyp der sportliche Dresswatch - Rolex Datejust 36.
The Rolex Datejust 36 – the archetypal sporty dress watch

The Datejust 36 is equipped with the chronometer-certified, in-house caliber 3235 with a date display at 3 o’clock. The automatic movement has a paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock protection system. The power reserve is a healthy 70 hours.

You’re looking at a price around $16,500 for an unworn example of this watch on Chrono24.

5. Patek Philippe 4948R Complications

The final member of our list comes from Patek Philippe. The ref. 4948R is part of the Complications collection and – as you’d expect from this world-class manufacturer – comes with seemingly endless highlights. First and foremost, Patek crafts the 38-mm case from 18K rose gold. That’s not necessarily special in and of itself, except when you consider the case is adorned with 347 diamonds. There are 14 diamonds on the crown and another 27 of the precious stones on the buckle. All in all, we’re talking about 2.92 carats worth of diamonds.

Exklusive Materialien und raffinierte Kalibertechnik – Patek Philippe Komplizierte Uhren 4948R.
Exclusive materials and sophisticated caliber technology – the Patek Philippe Complications ref. 4948R

The dial is made of hand-selected mother-of-pearl from Bali, Indonesia. The material is sourced from a specific species only found in and around the region and is known for its unique color and pattern. For the 4948R, Patek opted for a white mother-of-pearl dial, which fades ever so slightly into pink hues.

Everything about this refined timepiece shouts exclusivity. The automatic mechanical caliber 324 S QA LU powers the watch and provides it with an annual calendar and moon phase display. The day of the week and month are shown on subdials at 2 and 10 o’clock, while the moon phase sits above 6 o’clock.

Numerous diamonds, precious metal components, and exceptional caliber technology come at a price, of course. This timepiece can be yours for upward of $80,000.


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About the Author

Sebastian Swart

I've been using Chrono24 for years to buy and sell watches, as well as for research purposes. I've had an infatuation with watches for as long as I can remember. As a …

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