The Transitional DRSD
by Ed Delgado (special thanks to Steve P)
A common question that comes up amongst Rolex collectors is what to do with the DRSD that do not have a classical back but a curved back as many of the later white SeaDwellers. Its generally accepted that DRSD were made into 1977/78 with the last batch being serial 5.1-5.2 million.
Some exists and the evidence needs to be examined closer.
- Rolex documentation shows catalogs with photos of the DRSD up to 1979.
- Original owners have shown some their DRSD with full BP and documentation and attest to the watch being original with the curved caseback with the full serial number engraved inside the caseback. These watches are coming from all over the world but mostly from Europe.
- It has been well known for some individuals to change dials on these early SD to DRSD dials to make them more desirable to the market.
The argument against is that when Rolex decided that they were going to make a new model, they changed many things including the caseback and dial design, therefore the curved caseback was supposed to be married to the white SD dial.
The argument for it is that while there were many DRSD dial remaining its conceivable that Rolex tried to use up the old stock of DR dials with some of the new caseback design. After all, they were just concerned with selling watches and not about its future collectability.
Its my believe that the last argument is correct and that Rolex did in fact made a DRSD with curved caseback. The key factor on these transitional DRSDs is that they all had the full serial numbers engraved inside the caseback. The question will always arise that unless it comes with irrefutable references, and without the key factor of the serial number being engraved inside the caseback, the originality of curved caseback watches without the serial inside will be harder to prove than the classical presentation. ie a white SD with a DRSD dial.
In conclusion, I think that some “transitional” DRSD did exists with curved casebacks and with serials inside the caseback. Many have excellent documentations from their original owners and are worth looking from a collectors perspective. These correct DRSD curved caseback watches with serial inside are a small group of watches. Currently there is hesitation in the community about these curved back watches as there are poorly understood.