Rolex – James Dowling Vintage Watches From James Dowling Fri, 18 May 2018 10:55:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 007 Stainless steel Rolex Bombé, reference 5018, case number 608XXX dating from 1949 Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:20:32 +0000 These late Bubblebacks have been unfairly neglected for a very long time, and I aim to correct this oversight.

Using the 9.75’’’ NA movement, this is a very late non date bubbleback with twisted or “lyre’ lugs and heavily domed back & original crystal.

The silvered original dial has applied quarter hour arabics with the classic Rolex ‘open’ 6 & 9, and applied bars for the remainder of the numerals, all of them are gilt as are the leaf shaped hands, there is a long blued steel sweep seconds hand with pear shaped counterweight which lines up perfectly with the black printed outer seconds track which is divided into one fifth of a second. The dial has the later style long coronet surmounting the ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual” text whilst the “Officially certified chronometer” text is set much lower than normal, above the 6.

The movement is numbered 09660 on the rotor and, as expected, is also signed as a chronometer. The NA movement was one of the final models of the first generation of Rolex automatics

The case is the undoubted star feature of this watch; the twisted lugs, the original brushed finish on the case sides and a perfect original signed flat face crown.

I often see this model referred to as a “Rolex Bombay” and the twisted lugs called “Bombay lugs”. This is actually funny, in English these watches are known a “bubblebacks” and in Italian as “Ovetto” (which means egg shaped) both nicknames are derived from the dome shaped case backs. And the French nickname is “Bombé”, which also means domed. However it is pronounced “Bombay” in French, so native English speakers began calling the watch design after the Indian city, and even the lugs got the same misnomer. The actual term for the lug shape is “Lyre”; I hope that this hasn’t confused you even more.

The case & dial are both 95+% and the movement is 90%.

The watch measures 32.2mm Diam, 40.6mm lug to lug and is

15mm high; it takes an 18mm strap and the original US made expanding light folded oyster bracelet is still fitted to the watch.

£7,500.00 (approx. $10.750.00 US)

002 Rolex Stainless steel Oysterquartz, Ref. 17000 from 1978 Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:40:54 +0000 I know that for many people, the Oysterquartz, particularly the steel 17000 version is the red headed stepchild of the Rolex family but I have always believed that it is a great watch and that it is on the strongest bracelet that Rolex ever made

Model 17000 Datejust Oysterquartz, case number 5671626 dates to 1978; making this one of the first Oysterquartz watches from Rolex, as the watch was only introduced the previous year. It is (along with the automatic versions in the same case) the only Oyster ever designed to include an integral band and as such can not be worn with a leather strap. The bracelet is composed of large flat solid links and is, without doubt, the strongest bracelet ever seen on a Rolex watch (and probably on any other brand too!)

The movement is the 5350, with 11 jewels and whilst I would rarely show an image of a quartz movement, I have included on here so that you can see the quality of the construction & finishing on it. As much work goes into making one of these movements as into its mechanical relatives.

The dial is stunning & most unusual, refrigerator white enamel with applied full roman numerals and baton hands, it is a ‘dress’ dial with no luminous on either dial or hands.

The watch was serviced and the battery replaced in November last year, it has also been tested for watertightness & passed with flying colours

The case, bracelet, dial & movement are all 95+%.

Diameter 35mm; Lug to Lug 42mm; Height 12mm., and the unique integral bracelet with 12 links is still fitted.

£3,250.00 (approx. $4,750.00 US)

SOLD Philippine’s Airline Tudor Oysterdate Thu, 26 Oct 2017 20:13:22 +0000 RECENT ACQUISITION

This is a Tudor Prince Oysterdate from the mid 1970s with the three colour logo of Philippines Airlines on the dial. Model 74000N, case number B3912XX.

The dial is silvered with applied white metal baton hour indices and an applied white metal shield at the 12. It is signed ‘Tudor Prince Oysterdate’; in ‘Tudorspeak’, Prince means automatic winding & the words Oyster & Date mean the same as on Rolex. Above the six position is three colour logo of Philippine’s Airlines, adding a touch of exoticism to an otherwise simple watch.

The movement is the 2824-2 from ETA with 25 jewels, kif flector shock protection and ‘faux cotes’ finishing on the rotor.

The case is 90% and the dial and movement are both 95%.

The watch measures 33mm Diam, 41mm lug to lug, it is 10mm high, it takes a 19mm band and the original folded Oyster Tudor one, with 13 links is fitted.
£900.00 (approx. $1,425.00 US)

035 Rare Canadian market sterling silver flared Rolex “Prince” Thu, 26 Oct 2017 19:14:02 +0000 Made around 1930 to 1935, this flared case Rolex Prince is one of the rarest of these watches I have ever seen

This is the only Canadian made silver Rolex Prince that I have ever seen, and it is in phenomenal, almost new old stock, condition. All the sharp edges are still present as is the complete chrome (or rhodium) plating of the case; back in the 1930s Rolex advertised their least expensive Prince watches as being made from “untarnishable” sterling silver, and the plating was how the cases remained free from tarnish. However, the plating tended to wear off at the points where the watch made contact with the wrist, and once the first of the plating came off then the rest of it seemed prone to flaking off and the watch would become unsightly. So, normally the plating would then all be polished off; this is why it is so rare to find one with the plating intact.

Most unusually the case is not signed by the casemaker, either with a punch or even with a country of manufacture noted, just a single word Rolex stamped inside the case back and the word ‘Observatory’. Observatory was used on Canadian market watches to denote watches which were NOT chronometers and was used anywhere else on cases or dials. On the rear of the case is the single number 1846, which could be a model or case number, but I don’t know which.

The original off white dial is also very unusual, as they tend to be either silvered or black, this one is painted white with an applied rectangular metal ‘railway’ style minute track, applied metal ‘Deco’ style Arabic numbers, there is a subsidiary seconds square below the main dial with baton markers. The dial is signed “Rolex Prince” at the top and “Swiss Made” at the bottom, with the word “Observatory” below this. The blued steel stick hour/minute hands, the leaf seconds hand & the dial have never had any luminous, as this was a “dress” watch.

The movement is the rhodium finished, 17 ‘vine leaf’ version, numbered 6850.

The dial is 90%+, whilst the case is 98%+ & the movement is 90%.
Length 36.5mm; Lug to Lug 43mm; Height 8mm. It takes a 20mm strap and a black crocodile one is fitted.

£9,500.00 (approx. $12,750.00 US)

034 Early Silver Enamel Dial ‘Double Name’ Rolex Thu, 26 Oct 2017 19:10:15 +0000 This is a very early Rolex screw back & front man’s wrist watch in sterling silver, with wire lugs with a London import hallmark from 1916. It bears the case number 735365 and is most unusual in that it is a Swiss snap back case, most of the Rolex cases from this period are by the English firm Dennison.

The original white enamel (porcelain) dial is sunk for the small seconds and has large luminous Arabic numerals, blued steel skeleton style hands  and a large original gilt winding crown. The dial bears the names ‘Dunklings’ and ‘Rolex’ in the same font and size, making this one of the very first Rolex watches to have the firm’s name on the dial & certainly one of the first ‘Double Name’ Rolex watches. Dunklings were an Australian retailer in Melbourne (they are still in business) and were the country’s first Rolex importer.

The tradition of a gilt crown on a silver watch was a sign of a high quality movement & the tradition has been recently revived by the English (but Swiss based) watchmaker, Peter Speke Marin.

The movement is the rhodium finished, 15 jewel Rolex rebberg calibre. These watches were some of the very first men’s Rolex watches ever made and were almost all bought by officers in the allied armies during the First World War. And I am fairly certain that this watch was one of those bought for military use, as watches used by the military almost always had luminous hands & dial.

The watch has been recently serviced, runs & keeps good time (bearing in mind it is around 90 years old, so do not expect quartz accuracy).

The dial is 95%+, whilst the case & movement are both 95%.

Width 32mm; Lug to Lug 36mm; Height 15mm. It takes a 16mm strap and a brown Horween cordovan leather one has been fitted.

£2,250.00 (approx. $3,750.00 US)

025 1935 Rolex ‘Double Name’ stainless steel chronograph Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:00:26 +0000 Staybrite Ref. 2508 Rolex, retailed by Bucherer’s, case No. 034669, Ref. 2508. Made in the 1930s.

Was first issued in a 37 mm case in 1935 with olive shaped pushers, it was then revised two years later with a 36 mm case with square pushers. This reference was available in stainless steel as well as 18K pink and yellow gold.

Three-part snap back case, polished and brushed finishes, wide flat ‘Calatrava’ style bezel, downturned lugs, snap-on case back.

Three-tone matte silver and sector dial, painted black baton indexes and Arabic half-hour numerals, inner red snail tachometer scale, outer minute/seconds track with Arabic five numerals, outermost telemeter scale, subsidiary dials for the seconds and 30-minute register. Signed ‘Rolex’ under the 12 with the retailer’s name ‘Bucherer’s’ under the centre post and the word ‘Antimagnetic’ in a curve above the centre post. Original blued steel leaf hands.

Valjoux 14’’’ calibre 22, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance, self-compensating Breguet balance spring, index regulator, as normal in these days, there is no shock protection for the balance.

Diam. 37 mm., 44 mm. Lug to Lug, 12 mm. High: it takes 19mm strap and a new brown reptile strap has been fitted.

£22,500.00 (approx $35,500.00 US)

025 Rolex Imperial two tone watch Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:52:08 +0000 This is a lovely two tone Rolex “Viceroy” style with the rare Ultra Prima movement from 80 years ago, in full working order.

The case is the unusual 3 piece tonneau shaped oyster case with a polished red gold bezel and screw down crown.

The movement is the 15 jewel calibre 9¾”’ Hunter in its highest quality, it is signed both ‘Ultra Prima’ and ‘Timed 6 Positions’, it is rhodium finished and (like most watches from this period) has no shock protection.

The original dial is silvered with a sunken subsidiary seconds dial. There is an outer ‘railway’ minute track & the numerals are pink gilt embossed double batons for the 12 and single batons for the remainder. The original hands are the rare blued steel “pencil” style with luminous infill and the subsidiary seconds hand is also blued steel obviously the luminous material no longer works after well over half a century.

The case is in 85% condition (with a little case corrosion on the case back) and the movement & dial are 90+%.

It measures 30mm long, 29mm wide, 36mm lug to lug and is 10mm high; it takes a 16mm band and a black leather strap is fitted.

£1,500.00 (approx. $1,950.00 US)

016 Sweep seconds Black dial Red gold 18k Rolex Bubbleback Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:18:35 +0000 Sweep seconds red gold 18k bubbleback with machined bezel and black dial. Model number 3372, case number 598XX dating from 1938.

One of the most perfect cases I have ever seen, although this watch is almost 80 years old, the whole case and particularly the bezel are like new. The movement is a chronometer certified model serial number N62446. The dial is black with applied pink gilt Roman quarter hour numerals and applied circular dots for the remainder, pink gilt ‘pencil’ non luminous hands, and straight seconds hand. The dial has the words ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual’ at the top and the word ‘chronometer’ below the centre post.

The case is 95+% condition (there are a few tiny scratches on the bezel) the dial is 95% and the movement is 90%.

The watch measures 32mm diam, 39mm lug to lug and 13mm high; it takes a 17mm strap and a new brown lizard one has been fitted.

£6,000.00 (approx. $8,000.00 US)

014 Stainless Steel Rolex GMT Mark 1 6542, dating from the last quarter of 1956. Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:14:32 +0000 This is a Mk 1 GMT Master, model number 6542, case number 32630XX made in the last quarter of 1956 and sold in Hong Kong in October two years later.

These early GMT s have become very desirable in the last few years and this is an especially nice one. The movement is a calibre 1035 with Kif Flector shock protection and bears the serial number DN680382. The movement is timed to 5 positions and has 25 jewels.

The dial is gloss black paint, which has now gone matt and the gilt writing is perfect and the dial is signed “Officially Certified Chronometer” not the more common “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” as used nowadays. The original radium luminous has faded to a lovely coffee colour, but obviously no longer glows. It retains its original hands, including the rare ‘small triangle’ red 24 hour hand.

It retains both the original bezel and its acrylic insert, the insert is in the best condition of any that I have seen, with no cracks or loss of the luminous infill.

The inside case back has a number of service marks from Rolex USA.

The case is 95%, the movement is also 95% and the dial is in 90+% condition.

The watch measures 38mm diam., 46mm lug to lug, 12mm high; it takes a 20mm strap and a replacement light US Rolex Oyster band is fitted to the watch

£44,000.00 (approx. $55,200.00 US)