It might be somewhat perplexing to modern sensibilities that someone would want a garish Domino’s Pizza logo on the dial of their otherwise elegant Rolex watch. Even more potentially head-scratching is that these rare watches are now often valued more highly on the vintage market than those unmarred by a soda or fast food chain logo. To be sure, they are rare, quirky, nostalgic, and the knowledge that such examples had specific meaning to their owners gives them a different kind of story and genuine character than almost any other watch.
Such dials were often made by the brand itself, but also by retailers. Like an Alibaba or Zazzle of its time, it seems that anyone with the means could place an order, and the clients were usually corporations of some sort who would present the branded watches to employees as gifts, bonuses, or other rewards (they are sometimes called “presentation watches”). Better than a coffee mug, for sure. Those from Rolex are particularly well-known, but this type of dial was found on many other watches as well, and they featured branding of everything from governments and militaries to beers, airlines, car makers, casinos, sports teams, and oil companies. There were a lot for oil companies.
Watch makers today are much more careful with their branding, selective about the organizations they partner with, and refined regarding how the co-branding is incorporated into the watches designs. Charitable organizations and sports teams or events remain popular. However, they don’t usually have the artless charm of a logo slapped on a dial that make collectors crazy for the vintage models. This type of watch is rare, but below are three interesting examples.
Bulova Accutron Quartz “Mack Truck”
What We Like: Without any wordmark, just the Mack Truck bulldog logo is kind of badass on this 1980s Bulova Accutron. Its caseback engraving indicates that it was presented to an employee after 27 years of service in 1981. Measuring 35mm wide in a gold-toned steel case, which somewhat contrasts with the muscular image of a Mack truck, it runs on a quartz movement and doesn’t cost a ton of money.
From the Seller: The watch is in excellent vintage condition, running great and keeping accurate time.
What We Like: Dunlop tires. On your Omega watch dial? Somehow, it’s kind of cool and interesting. With a 32.7mm-wide 9ct gold case, this dressy Omega from the 1950s has a mechanical movement and was presented to an employee in Australia, in 1959, after 25 years of service. Though appearing a little worn in, this is an example of a handsome and somewhat rare vintage Omega watch for not a crazy amount of money.
From the Seller: 9ct yellow gold case; watch is in very good condition; body has some wear.
Hamilton Military Field “L.L. Bean”
What We Like: In the 1970s and ’80s, Hamilton partnered with several mail-order brands, among them L.L. Bean — whose logo is far more prominent on the dial here than Hamilton’s. These are based on the military specs to which Hamilton made the original field watches that remain popular today in their modern form. Measuring 33mm wide, it’s powered by a manually wound ETA 2750 movement and offers a unique look into a time when things were done a bit differently from today’s world of e-commerce and instant gratification.
From the Seller: Original case, bezel, and dial in very good condition. Box and papers not included.