SOLD Stainless steel Rolex Bombé, reference 5018, case number 608XXX dating from 1949


Stainless steel Rolex Bombé, reference 5018, case number 608XXX dating from 1949

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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.