Rolex Officer’s Watch 9ct Rose Gold, 1928

£3,600

100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed

9ct Solid Rose Gold, Rolex Swiss Made Case

Applied 1-12 Numerals and Subsidiary Seconds Dial

Good Sized 32mm Three-Hinged Case, Excluding the Crown

Original High Grade Rolex Signed, 15 Jewels Movement

High Quality Dark Brown Hirsch Camel Grain Strap

Simply Stunning Condition in Every Aspect

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

Green Suede Rolex Purse Included

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: R886
Sold 15th April '20
Price £3,600 Sold

£3,600

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Rolex

Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the company became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving to its new Geneva headquarters in 1919. The evolution and early success of the wristwatch can be largely attributed to a number of Rolex’ innovations which made the company one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These have included its famous “Oyster” case — the world’s first water-resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and its “Perpetual” — the world’s first reliable, self-winding movement for the wristwatch, launched in 1933. These would form the foundation for Rolex’s Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956. Also and equally importantly, Rolex is known for its sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

During the 1930s and ’40s, Rolex also became masterful in courting tremendous publicity and excitement through literally being ‘on hand’ during numerous historical 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.

Description

After initially trading as Wilsdorf and Davis with the brand W&D, the founders in 1908 settled on the name Rolex which they registered first in London where they were based and later in Switzerland as this was where their movements originated. During the next few years, business went so well that in 1912 Wilsdorf signed a huge £125,000 order with their movement suppliers Aegler of Rebburg, Bienne, Switzerland. During this period, the majority of their watches were signed with both the W&D and Rolex brands as there remained a great deal of goodwill attached to the W&D brand. However, the onset of WW1 led to the potential difficulties associated with having a German name as part of the trading company name. This prompted a change in name and a new legal entity – ‘Rolex Company Limited’, which was registered in London in 1915. Fortunately, Wilsdorf had previously become a British citizen a few years earlier when he married his English wife, Florence. Wilsdorf initially became concerned that supplies from Switzerland might become more difficult, but in fact, supplies were never interrupted and of course, WW1 led to huge orders for military specified wristwatches from the new Rolex Watch Company Ltd. Later in 1919, Wilsdorf left England, due to post-war taxes levied on luxury imports as well as export duties on silver and gold, driving costs too high. He moved the company to Geneva, Switzerland, where he established the Rolex Watch Company in 1920. This name was later changed to Montres Rolex, SA and finally Rolex, SA.

All of which brings us to the watch you see here…. the forerunners of which helped the British and Allied Forces prevail during WW1.

Why This Watch is Important

During WW1 (1914–1918), also known as ‘The Great War’, British Officers and those of the Alliance Forces were issued with ‘Officers’ wristwatches for the first time. Rolex was uniquely well placed to supply these and so large orders were placed for its ‘Rebberg’ watches, fitted with Aegler, 13 Ligne movements, specified mostly with silver cases. This watch movement became a military tour de force, storming the watch industry throughout WW1 and continuing in production all the way up until the mid-1920s. Cheaper versions with a 7 Jewel movement were also produced. At the same time, rare examples, such as the watch you see here, were specified with 15 Jewel Rebberg movements and 9ct gold cases, some of which were in rose gold, as opposed to yellow gold and silver. Unbreakable lenses had also been developed in response to military demands by 1926 so lens protectors were no longer required or fitted at this point.

The Rolex Officer’s wristwatch we see here in rose gold from 1928, is, as you will see from the images, in amazingly good condition. The three-hinged case is of particularly high quality, having been made for Rolex by Shackman & Sons of London. Shackman & Sons were one of three English case-makers used by Rolex, the others being Dennison & Sons of Birmingham and Britton & Sons of Birmingham UK. The case is of a very high quality construction with a press fit case-back which fits and clicks back with a reassuring click.

The movement, case and dial are all totally original and properly signed. The movement and case have been carefully and sympathetically restored by our team of expert watch restorers. In particular, the case is in amazingly good condition considering the watch is over 90 years old. The movement is also in wonderful condition and is keeping amazingly excellent time!

By 1928, the year this watch was produced, the Rolex company we know today, incorporated in Geneva as Montres Rolex SA., had become fully established, having been opened seven years earlier.

The investment potential here is excellent. When seeking a solid investment in the vintage watch market, there are golden rules which almost always apply, involving three key factors which are essential and which the wise investor always keeps in mind. These are; initial quality, rarity, and condition. There is no doubt that this wonderful timepiece qualifies very well on all counts.

The Movement

The original Rolex (deluxe) 15 Jewel, Calibre 13”’ (Ligne) Rebberg hand-wound watch movement was supplied by the Aegler Watch Company of Rebberg, Bienne Switzerland.

This watch movement is properly signed, with the words “Rolex 15 Rubies” on the bridge. This confirms this is the higher spec Rolex movement since this was reserved for the best movements produced by Aegler for Rolex. Earlier Aegler Rebberg movements were simply engraved (Rolex) on the ratchet wheel. This is an easy component to change, as just a single screw holds it in place and some less than scrupulous watch dealer/repairers in the distant past, have replaced these on an otherwise unsigned Aegler 13”’ movement, to pass them off as higher spec ‘Rolex’ movements.

Technically speaking this is a lever escapement movement with a cut bimetallic temperature compensation balance, with a Breguet, overcoil balance spring and 15 jewel bearings. This watch movement was tremendously successful for both Rolex and Aegler and it can be fairly said to have trounced the competition and put Rolex well and truly on the map! Indeed, it is said the Germans were at a significant disadvantage during WW1 because they had to rely on generally poor quality and unreliable pocket watches and their wristwatches were even worse!

This movement has been fully restored by our Vintage Rolex Specialist / Master Watchmaker. This involves the movement being completely disassembled to its component parts, cleaned, critical parts inspected under high magnification, then rebuilt using only original Rolex replacement parts as required, before final testing and calibration.

Our watchmaker, who has restored this movement, is a vintage Rolex specialist and his work is truly excellent. Following careful calibration and testing,  this watch was currently running within +8 seconds per day. This is outstanding and quite amazing for a vintage watch which is over 90 years old! These movements are reasonably strong, accurate and reliable, making the watch suitable for occasional use. The movement is in A1 condition and so with care and regular servicing, we would fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come! We are therefore pleased to offer 12 months’ warranty on this watch movement*.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.

The Watch Case

The rare 9ct rose gold watch case measures 32mm in diameter, excluding the period flat ‘Onion’ crown. At the time, most Officer’s watches were made of silver as this was an excellent metal to use, due to the ease with which it could be worked and also with its good resistance to corrosion. This was before chrome-plated and stainless steel cases could be manufactured with sufficient quality, so a gold case for a Rolex Officer’s watch in 1928 with a top of the line Rolex watch movement was quite an extravagance in the years immediately following WW1. One will, therefore, see many more of these watches in silver rather than in gold.

The case here is in beautiful condition with no dings, scratches or other damage visible to the naked eye. The case is as structurally sound as the day it was made and the case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.

The case-back is signed ‘RWC Ltd’ and carries  Glasgow UK 9ct hallmarks, which are as expected, since a great many gold Rolex watches from this period were hallmarked in Glasgow. The double ‘F” is the Glasgow hallmark and the small ‘f’ denotes the watch case was assayed in 1928. Below these marks, the case reference number 113719 is shown.

As ever our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should always be kept clean and dry and at all times – no matter what the original specification.

The Dial

The wonderful original faded yellow/fawn coloured dial has applied ‘1 – 12’ standard Arabic numerals along with the original Feuille blued steel hands.

This dial is original, unrestored and untouched. It is also in really excellent condition considering the age of the watch, with even fading, a little spotting and an even overall patina. Due to its relative excellent condition and for reasons of retaining the character and the originality of the watch, we have left it completely alone. If however, you would prefer the dial sympathetically restoring, we will be happy to arrange this for you without any extra charge.

The dial carries the period small subsidiary seconds dial at ‘6’.

In our view, this is a beautiful dial/hands combination, all surrounded by antique rose gold – simply wonderful!

Please note, even though our photographer has done excellent work, the dial does look much better face to face in real life.

The Strap

The watch is fitted with a new, Hirsch camel grain strap in dark brown, which we feel suits the watch perfectly, and the strap is fitted with a pink gold plated Rolex buckle. However, if a different colour or different style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to provide your choice, free of charge.

The Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with the watch, the movement, case numbers and hallmarks all match, dating the watch to 1928. A detailed written receipt with 12 months warranty* and a separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘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 Green Suede Rolex purse shown in the photographs is included in the sale.

In Conclusion

We have here a very rare and historic fully signed Rolex Officer’s wristwatch in 9ct rose gold which is in tip-top condition and running accurately and reliably. This is a highly collectable watch from horology’s most famous name, which will provide an excellent financial investment as well as something to treasure and enjoy! It will also make a wonderful addition to any Rolex collection and an excellent investment and heirloom piece, especially if kept in such good condition.

We think this watch will make a solid investment. Even though vintage gold Rolex watch prices continue to climb, we still feel sure that top class examples are underpriced. This is because as time passes and the world market for vintage gold Rolex watches continues to grow, a finite supply means prices will inevitably climb ever higher.

A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before 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 with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

If you have any questions please call on our 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. If you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.

We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.

Thank you.