Rolex Metropolitan Chronometer 18ct c1956
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Completely Original and Lightly Used Example
All in Absolutely Top Grade, Simply Stunning Condition
Wonderful 18ct Yellow Gold Case with ‘Metropolitan’ Bezel
Ultra High Grade, Chronometer Rated 18 Jewel Automatic Movement
Large 18ct Yellow Gold Case, 35mm, Excluding the Correct Unsigned Crown
Original, Unrestored and Untouched Ivory-Cream Dial with Subsidiary Seconds Dial
High Quality Black Alligator Embossed Strap with Rolex Gold-Plated Buckle
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
Rolex Presentation Box Included, as Shown
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the partnership 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 quite masterful in courting tremendous publicity and excitement by being literally ‘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.
Of course, Rolex is now so ubiquitous it is almost its own kind of its currency. A Rolex is the watch you want on your wrist when you’re in a Third World country when revolution breaks out and there’s only one seat on the plane, – and there’s a guy standing there with a machine gun! You give him a Rolex and he’ll give you the seat!
Rolex Precision Chronometers are very special watches, due to the precision of their movements which were designed to meet the highest standards of accuracy and reliability for their day. This was independently tested and certified by an official Observatory, usually Swiss or British, such as Neuchatel Observatory, Geneva Observatory, or Kew Observatory in London. Tests of the accuracy and reliability of individual watches were carried out over numerous weeks in 6 positions and over a range of temperatures. Only individual watches which passed these very strict tests qualified and were granted permission to be classed as “Chronometer grade” watches. Furthermore, each year special Prizes were awarded to the manufacturer who submitted the most accurate wristwatch, and the manufacturer who submitted the highest number of watches to qualify as Chronometers. Manufacturers competed fiercely for these prizes as they were highly coveted and publicised. Just as with the motor manufacturers associated with Formula 1 Grand Prix winners of yesteryear and today, the publicity was priceless. Rolex, Omega, Longines and Zenith were the most successful manufacturers in submitting watches which passed these tests and also winning prizes as outright winners.
During the 1930s and ’40s, Rolex was also undoubtedly the most successful watch manufacturer in courting publicity. It managed this by being on hand, or wrist, during many record-breaking events. For example, swimming across the English Channel (1927), world automobile speed record (300mph, 1935), breaking the sound barrier in 1947 and the conquest of Everest in 1952.
No matter how pre-planned or well-orchestrated these events were, one cannot blame Rolex for building its brand. In fact, the company was creative and ahead of the game in capitalising on every event and opportunity. Some fascinating books have been written about these events, which were just as amazing at the time as the many modern advances in hand-held/mobile technology today. A brief section covers some of these events, as well as some of the history of Rolex, in our FAQs section found via the link at the bottom left of this page.
Rolex Precision Chronometers remain as equally prized today as they were when they were made. Today Rolex produces more Chronometer watches than any other manufacturer and indeed it has done so for quite a few decades. To be classed as a Chronometer today, watches are required to be submitted to an independent Swiss body called the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, for testing over 15 days at a range of temperatures.
Here we have one of the most beautiful Rolex Precisions in the form of the ‘Metropolitan’ 18ct Oversize with the milled bezel. This is also often known as a ‘Thunderbird’ bezel. This beautiful watch also carries a wonderful, original, unrestored and untouched ivory-cream dial which also carries a subsidiary seconds dial.
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 mixed applied gilt ‘pencil’ and ‘baton’ hour indices and original ‘leaf’ hands over an ivory cream dial with a sub-seconds dial, all elevate this watch to something quite special. Once again, pure simple style and classic timeless elegance is a perfect example of how vintage beats modern, hands down, every time!
The Rolex Coronet crowns the dial which is signed ‘Rolex’ and ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ around the upper edge of the subsidiary seconds dial, along with ‘Swiss Made’ at the very bottom of the dial below 6.
As this dial is original and unrestored, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
As can be seen, the high grade Rolex 18 Jewel, chronometer grade automatic movement is in incredibly clean and sparkling condition. It has just completed an overhaul and service by our vintage Rolex specialist watchmaker and winds, sets and runs perfectly.
Following its service, the movement was calibrated and final tested and was found to be running arrow straight at -9 seconds per day! This is truly excellent and has been checked on our electronic watch timegrapher. This movement also has an excellent 42 hour power reserve when fully wound.
The movement is signed ’18 Rubies’, ‘Rolex Chronometer’, ‘Swiss Made’ and ‘Timed 6 Positions’ and is marked with the reference number E79187. This particular movement is in superb condition and with regular servicing, say every 3 or 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run quite happily and provide very faithful service for another 60+ years or so to come! We have no hesitation in offering this watch with our 12 months’ written warranty*.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The Watch Case
The 18ct solid yellow gold case measures 35mm in diameter, excluding the correct Rolex unsigned crown, making this one of the larger sized Rolex dress watches.
This is a Rolex Precision Metropolitan and model reference 4325 is quite a rare reference. The milled bezel carries very fine radial grooves along with larger marks at each hour, which accentuate 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 unusual to say the least. This, along with the clean and nicely polished case-back, indicates the watch has been well cared for and seen very little use.
The straight lugs are also notable as they are beautifully elegant 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, as well as Swiss 18ct hallmarks. The case also carries the case reference number 383 along with the Rolex model reference number 4325 and Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks.
The watch case is very clean and all its lines are very distinct, indicating only very light hand-polishing. The watch shows only the very slightest signs of wear with no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The case has only required some very gentle hand-polishing to bring it back to the condition you see here.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
Fitted to the watch is a high quality black Alligator embossed strap, with a Rolex gold-plated buckle. We feel this matches nicely with the watch, however, if a different colour or style 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 and black in stock, in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin, but can also obtain most types and colours of strap from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 18mm straps if you wish, here.
Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to c1956.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch 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 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The Rolex presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.
If you would like to pay by bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. 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.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London and deliver your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.
This is a rare and first class example of a highly collectible and highly practical vintage watch from horology’s most famous name, which will provide an excellent financial investment as well as something to use, wear, treasure and enjoy! It will make an excellent evening wear dress watch as well as a practical highly accurate and reliable timepiece to use on an everyday basis.
Vintage gold Rolex Precision Chronometers are highly collectible and the rarity of this watch means the value will always remain strong. This watch will make an excellent investment and family heirloom piece and even though vintage Rolex prices have risen markedly recently, we feel fine examples such as this still remain undervalued. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage watches expands, availability will become more limited so prices are surely destined to 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.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.