*Unpolished* 1981 Rolex Day-Date 18K YG (Ref. 18038) Burlwood Dial

$ 14,850

On an extremely limited basis, Rolex manufactured timepieces featuring exotic materials. Such as dials made from various minerals, woods, and stone including; black onyx, burl wood, lapis lazuli, birch, fossil, coral, aventurine, and ferrite, among others… These exotic variants are always strikingly vivid with a minimalist design and each exotic variant was produced in very limited numbers. With rarity varying between materials, the more rare the material was, the less Rolex produced.

In 1977 Rolex updated the iconic Day-Date model aka the "President" with the ref. 18038, or 18039 for white gold, which featured some major changes to the Day-Date line of watches. The first of the major updates was the introduction of a sapphire crystal, but the biggest improvement was the introduction of the Cal. 3055 movement. This new and improved movement features a quick-set date function within the second position of the winding crown, landing this era with the nickname the "Single-Quick" Day-Date.

Good examples of these exotic Rolex Day-Date references have become exponentially harder to find because of a cult following surrounding them, and a lack of circulation due to the coveted value each unique dial retains. In other words, collectors love these watches and rarely sell them, so when they come up for sale it’s always special.

Stock # RLXDD18038BW
Brand Rolex
Style Day-Date
Model 18038
Serial 70XXXXX
Size Men's
Material 18K Yellow Gold
Dial Birch Burlwood
Millimeters 36
Strap Rolex 2pc Brown Lizard Skin Leather Strap W/ Rolex Gold Plaque Tang Buckle



The unpolished 18K yellow gold case retains extremely crisp factory finishing and angles throughout with honest signs of use present. The 18K yellow gold fluted bezel is also in crisp unpolished condition with honest wear from use. The case back retains its factory finishing and features a unique engraving that reads "April - Still". The watch comes supplied on an era-correct Rolex 2pc brown Lizard skin leather strap with an original Rolex gold plaque tang buckle.


The original, beautiful, and unique Burlwood dial features swirling textures with a rich variance in color from gold to deep browns. The dial itself remains flawless, without signs of delamination or cracking. The original tritium hands feature a creamy patina with no degradation present under UV light inspection. 


None. The watch is keeping time, but the service history is unknown. A movement service can be provided upon request.

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