Rolex Precision Metropolitan Chronometer 18ct 1955
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Beautiful Well Cared For & Used Immaculate Example
Immaculate High Grade Chronometer, 18 Jewels Manual-Wind Movement
Oversize 36mm Ref. 8952 Rolex ‘Metropolitan’ 18ct Yellow Gold Case With Milled Bezel
Beautifully Restored Ivory-Cream Dial with Original Restored Dauphine Hands
All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning, Freshly Restored Condition
9ct Yellow Gold Gent’s Bracelet Fitted with 18mm Lugs
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
Rolex Precision Presentation Box Included
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Overseas FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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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 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 a beautiful and amazingly well cared for example of a super rare 18ct Gold Rolex Precision Chronometer from circa 1955. This oversize example was a very large watch for the period at 36mm, excluding the crown and is one of the earliest Rolex Precisions we have seen.
This watch has the ‘Metropolitan’ milled bezel also often known as the ‘Thunderbird’ bezel.
This watch has just completed a full restoration by our team, including the movement, watch case and watch dial. This involves three different sets of skills. Our watchmaker has restored and serviced the watch movement, our watch case-maker has sympathetically restored the case and our dial restorer has restored the dial.
The Rolex ‘Metropolitan’ dial is a timeless design which we would all have no other way. The applied gilt batons and original ‘Dauphine’ hands over an ivory cream 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 dial, Metropolitan case and straight lugs lend the watch something of a Patek Phillipe Calatrava look.
The Rolex Coronet crowns the dial which is signed ‘Rolex’ with ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ below and ‘Swiss Made’ at the very bottom of the dial.
This is the original dial which has been sympathetically and beautifully restored to the highest standards by our dial restorers, who are regarded the best in the UK.
The Watch Case
The 18ct solid yellow gold case measures 36mm in diameter, excluding the Rolex nipple crown, making this one of the rare oversized Rolex dress watches.
This is an 18ct Gold Rolex Metropolitan Precision and model reference 8952. It is a very rare watch indeed, especially in such impeccable condition. 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 Geneva 18ct hallmarks. The case also carries the number 448 along with the Rolex model reference number 8952.
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.
As can be seen, the high-grade Rolex Calibre 1210, Chronometer 18 Jewel hand-wound 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 +4 seconds per day! This is truly excellent and has been checked on our electronic watch timegrapher. This movement also has an excellent 58 hour power reserve when fully wound.
The movement is signed ‘Montres Rolex S.A’, ‘Geneva Swiss’, ‘Adjusted 5 Five Positions and Temperatures’ and ‘18 Rubies’ with the calibre number below the balance wheel along with the serial number N99392. 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 Strap and Buckle
This watch is also fitted with a genuine vintage 9ct gold bracelet suitable for a gent’s dress watch with 18mm lugs such as a Rolex Precision or any other slimmer dress watch.
The bracelet is a good length for a mid to slightly larger than average wrist size at 20 – 20.5 cm. A two-step adjustable ladder catch allows an extra 0.5 cm. The bracelet could easily be tailored for a smaller wrist at extra cost to make it shorter. Making it longer, however, will be difficult.
The condition of the bracelet is excellent with no scratches or damage visible to the naked eye. All the links are in line and rotate just as they should.
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.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on watch date the watch to circa 1955.
Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included in the sale, with our detailed receipt and our 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also 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 watch comes complete with a Rolex presentation box.
This is a rare and first class example of a highly collectable 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 18ct gold Rolex ‘Metropolitan’ Precision watches are highly collectable 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 about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring these 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 inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very 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 wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service, Repair or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, please call our landline on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
We await your call! We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting, we will also be very happy to hear from you.
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches!