1950s Rolex Precision Chronometers are some of the most sought after Rolex watches ever. They are exceedingly rare and special because they have very high grade Chronometer movements designed to meet and exceed the highest standards of accuracy and reliability for their day. A Chronometer is essentially a very precise and accurate timepiece and this was determined by submitting individual watches for independent testing conducted by the Swiss Neuchatel and Geneva Observatories. They were stringently tested for accuracy and reliability over 16 days in six different positions at differing ambient temperatures and only individual watches which passed all these tests, were granted permission by Swiss law to be classified as “Chronometer” watches and to show this on the dial. Annual prizes were also awarded to the manufacturer who submitted a production wristwatch which achieved the highest level of accuracy and also who submitted the largest number of watches to qualify as Chronometers. Manufacturers competed fiercely to win prizes, which were highly coveted and generated a great deal of publicity. The competition winners were known as Grand Prix winners and these were at least as equally well regarded, as motor manufacturer Grand Prix winners today. Rolex, Omega, Longines and Zenith were the strongest competitors and the most successful in terms of the number of watches to qualify as Chronometers and winning prizes as outright winners.
During the 1930s and ’40s, Rolex became masterful at courting great publicity and excitement by being ‘on hand’ during numerous record-breaking events. These were, for example, swimming the English Channel (1927), breaking the world automobile speed record (300mph, 1935), breaking the sound barrier (1947) and climbing Everest for the first time in 1953. No matter how well orchestrated these events came to be, we have to admire Rolex for becoming masters of self-promotion and capitalising on every opportunity with simultaneous worldwide marketing campaigns.
There are some fascinating books which describe these events and the development of the ‘modern’ wristwatch which must have seemed just as amazing during these times, as the advances in mobile communication technology today. A very brief section summarises these events and some of the history of Rolex in our FAQs section found via the link at the bottom left of this page.
Needless to say, these watches are still as highly prized today, as they were at the time they were first made.
We have here a Rolex Chronometer in the beautiful 18ct, 35mm ‘Metropolitan’ case with a milled bezel which is sometimes referred to as the `Thunderbird’ bezel. However, this is also the ultra rare Rolex model reference 9164, fitted with the Calibre 1000, 18 Jewel movement, the thinnest Chronometer movement ever made by Rolex. At 8mm deep including the lens, Rolex reference 9164 was also known as the Rolex ‘Verislim’ Chronometer.
This watch has been fully restored including the movement, watch dial and watch case. These are three completely differing sets of skills and so a watchmaker has restored and serviced the watch movement, a dial restorer has restored the dial and a watch case maker has sympathetically restored the case.
Large Rolex Precision dials with a subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock are always something special and here, the dial, Metropolitan case and straight lugs lend the watch something of a Patek Phillipe Calatrava look. The applied gilt batons and original Dauphine hands over a silver dial with sub-seconds dial, all elevate this watch to something quite special. Once again, pure simple style, along with classic timeless elegance are a perfect example of how vintage beats modern, hands down every time!
This is the original dial which has been sympathetically restored to the very highest standards by our dial restorers, making this is as fine an example as you are ever likely to see.
As mentioned above, this is a Rolex Precision Chronometer movement, which makes it one of the best of its day and highly accurate and reliable. This is also the very special Cal.1000 18 Jewel movement – The thinnest Chronometer movement ever made by Rolex.
As with all our watches, this is the original movement for this watch which has been completely overhauled and undergone close examination and servicing, then testing and calibration by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker. The movement is in spectacular condition having had the benefit of proper care and maintenance and only light use throughout its life.
The movement is all correctly signed Montres Rolex SA Geneva Swiss, Adjusted to Five Positions and Temperature. It also signed with the Calibre No 1000, 18 Jewels and the Serial Number N651628.
The technical specifics: This is a Rolex Calibre 1000, rhodium-plated, 18 jewels, straight-line, lever escapement, Super-balance adjusted to 6 positions, with a self-compensating Breguet balance spring.
The movement winds, runs & sets smoothly and is in superb working order and keeping excellent time: This watch has been fully overhauled and serviced by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker and is calibrated to run arrow straight within +1 seconds per day! This is no exaggeration. We have seen the test results from an electronic watch test instrument and in its half wound state, this watch is running wonderfully accurately! We are therefore more than happy to offer a 12-month warranty on the movement of this watch*.
The Watch Case
This is Rolex model reference 9164. At 8mm in depth, this is the thinnest Rolex Chronometer ever made. The case also carries the Metropolitan milled bezel which as can be seen is in amazingly good condition. It carries very fine radial grooves along with larger marks at each hour, accentuating the hours around the dial. Bezels are always prone to damage and particularly those with any kind of decoration. However, the bezel here really is in excellent condition and not overly polished which is very unusual, to say the least! This, along with a nicely polished case-back, indicates the watch has received a great deal of care and very little use. The 18ct solid yellow gold case measures 35mm in diameter, not including the Rolex crown, also making this one of the rare ‘Oversized’ Rolex Chronometers.
The straight lugs are also notable as they are beautiful in design. They are very nicely swept back, raising the watch a little, making it sit higher on the wrist. Lastly, the beautiful case-back is also in amazing condition and just like the rest of the case, carries no scratches, dings or any other damage visible to the naked eye.
Inside the case-back is the early Rolex ‘scroll’ signature indicating this is a Rolex Swiss made case from circa 1953. The case also carries the reference number 9164 along with Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks.
The watch case is very clean and ‘distinct’ indicating only light polishing. The watch shows only the very slightest signs of wear and no signs of anything other than very light, careful and limited use.
The Strap and Buckle
The strap fitted is a new well matched very high quality black crocodile strap with a Rolex gold plated buckle. Please note if a different style or colour of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black in stock, in plain padded leather, alligator, crocodile skin or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct dating the watch to circa 1953.
Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months Warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will be provided at the time of sale and our ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The watch also comes complete with a presentation box as shown in the photographs.
A highly collectable vintage gold watch from horology’s most famous name which will provide an excellent financial investment as well as something to treasure and enjoy!
This is a truly top class example of a c1953 oversize vintage Rolex Chronometer Verislim with the Metropolitan bezel, in amazing condition. The watch is ready to wear and totally practical for everyday use. If treated with care it will make an excellent investment or family heirloom piece.
Even though vintage gold Rolex prices have risen markedly in the past 12 months, we still feel great examples such as this are still undervalued, because as each year goes by, the world market for vintage gold Rolex watches is expanding almost exponentially and so we think prices are destined to climb ever higher in the foreseeable future.
A word on our prices… We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before then restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
*Note – 12 Month warranty only included if the list price is paid.
If you have any questions please call on Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250
Or if calling from overseas on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250
Please note we welcome part exchanges.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.