Rolex WW1 Officer’s Watch 9K 1919, Porcelain Enamel Dial
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed
Immaculate White Porcelain-Enamel Dial
Rolex 9ct Antique Yellow Gold Officer’s watch from 1919
9ct Solid Gold ‘Dennison for Rolex’ Hinged Case
Arabic Numerals and Subsidiary Seconds Dial
Large Size 33mm Case, Excluding the Rolex Crown
Original High Grade Rolex Signed 15 Jewels Movement
Simply Stunning Condition in Every Aspect
High Quality Crocodile Leather Strap
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
VGWL 12 Months’ Warranty Included*
Hardwood Presentation Box
Free UK Next Day Delivery
Overseas FedEx £45
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Anyone who knows a little of the history of Rolex will know the company began as a partnership between Hans Wildorf and Alfred Davis, a German and an Englishman who set up business in Hatton Garden, London in 1905. Their early business was simply importing pocket watch movements, cases and dials from various Swiss manufacturers, before then testing them for quality, assembly and calibration. This was carried out for them by various watchmakers in close by Clerkenwell. In the first few years, their watches were simply signed W&D on only the movements and cases and the dials were left blank for their customers – the watch retailers, to sign. Soon after establishing this business, Wilsdorf, while reading accounts of the British fighting in the Boer War (1898 to 1903) against the Dutch South Africans, learned of the advantages of wristwatches in combat. He quickly decided this would be a good niche for his young company to pursue and therefore he decided he would specialise in wristwatches. This was at a time when no major watch companies took the gents’ wristwatch market seriously, such was the tradition and gentleman’s attachment to the pocket watch, along with of course, his waistcoat and chain. Business went well and Wilsdorf soon realised the company would need a better name under which to trade, a strong brand in fact, which would be very simple and would work well in any language. In 1908 Wilsdorf and Davis settled on the name Rolex which they registered in Switzerland since this was where their movements originated. In the next few years business went well, so well in fact that in 1912 Wilsdorf signed a huge £125,000 order with their movement suppliers Aegler of Rebburg, Bienne, Switzerland and they registered the Rolex name also in London. During this period, the majority of watches were signed with both the W&D and Rolex brands since 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, Wildorf had previously become a British Citizen a few years earlier when he married his English wife Florence. Wilsdorf also became concerned initially that supplies from Switzerland might become difficult, but in fact, these 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 wartime taxes levied on luxury imports as well as export duties on the silver and gold, driving costs too high so he moved the company to Geneva, Switzerland, where it was established as the Rolex Watch Company in 1920. This name was later changed to Montres Rolex, SA and finally Rolex, SA.
Which, of course, brings us to the watch we see here….
During the 1914 – 1918 Great War, British Officers and those of the Alliance forces were issued with Officers wristwatches for the first time. As Rolex was uniquely well placed to supply these, large orders were placed for their ‘Rebburg’ watches, fitted with Aegler, 13 Ligne movements, specified with military porcelain-enamel dials and mostly silver cases. This movement became a military tour de force, storming the watch industry throughout the war and continuing all the way up to 1923. Cheaper versions with 7 Jewels movements, were also produced. At the same time, rare examples were such as this watch, were also specified with 17 Jewel Rebberg movements and 9ct solid gold cases. Unbreakable lenses had also been developed in response to military demands by 1916 so lens protectors became no longer required from this point onwards.
1919 – the year this watch was made, also saw a new company incorporated in Geneva as Montres Rolex SA.
So here we have a simply wonderful, rare 9ct gold, Rolex Officer’s, hand wound wristwatch from 1919, in spectacular condition. This watch is all original and has been sympathetically and expertly restored to the very highest standards by our team. Note the beautiful white porcelain dial has no cracks or crazing. The case is also perfect throughout with good structural integrity and the movement is running so well it almost defies belief! Quite amazing in fact, for a watch which is 100 years old in 18 months time!
The Investment Potential: Strong. When seeking a solid investment in the vintage watch market, there is a golden rule which almost always applies, involving three key factors which are essential and which the wise investor never loses sight of: Initial Quality, Rarity & Condition. There is no doubt that this amazing timepiece qualifies well on all counts.
The original Rolex Deluxe 15 Jewel, Calibre.13”’ (Ligne) Rebberg hand wound watch movement was sourced from the Aegler Watch Company of Rebberg, Bienne Switzerland.
This watch movement is properly signed, with the single word “Rolex” on the bridge. This means there is no doubt this is the correct Rolex watch movement. The single word “Rolex” was reserved for the best watches produced by Aegler for Wilsdorf / Rolex so we can be sure this is a high-grade Rolex movement, simply by the singular use of the word. There are no numbers visible on the movement.
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 well and truly trounced the competition! 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 wrist watches were even worse!
Note, earlier Aegler Rebberg movements were simply engraved on the ratchet wheel. This is an easy component to change, just a single screw holds it in place and some much less than scrupulous watch dealer/repairers in the distant past, have changed this on otherwise an unsigned Aegler 13”’ movements, to pass them off as Rolex movements.
This movement has been fully restored by our Vintage Rolex Specialist – Master Watchmaker. This involved 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’s work is excellent and following careful calibration and testing on 19th May, this watch is currently running within +4 seconds per day. This is outstanding. quite amazing in fact for a vintage watch which is nearly 100 years old! These movements are strong, accurate and reliable, making this watch suited for occasional use. This movement is in A1 condition and with regular servicing, we would fully expect this watch to run happily for many more decades to come! We are pleased to offer a 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, solid, 9ct gold watch case measures 33mm in diameter, excluding the period Rolex ‘Onion’ crown. At this time, most Officer’s watches were made of silver since this was an excellent metal due to the ease with which it could be worked and its good resistance to corrosion. Note, this was around 10 years before chrome plated and stainless steel cases could be manufactured with sufficient quality.
A gold case for a Rolex Officer’s watch in 1919 with a top of the line Rolex watch movement was of course quite an extravagance in the years immediately following the war end, so of course, we see many more in silver than gold.
As can be seen, the case-back is hinged. The hinge area is very secure and shows no signs of wear. The case-back is a nice secure snug fit on the case, pressing back with a very reassuring click. The case is in simply 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 carries Birmingham UK 9ct hallmarks, which is to be expected since all Rolex watches with solid gold cases were supplied by Dennison located in Birmingham UK, at this time. In fact all watch cases supplied to Rolex were specifically stamped in the following style: “DENNISON WATCH CASE CO.” The absence of W&D branding here is in fact, a major plus, since Wilsdorf ’s aim was to simplify the branding of his best quality watches, meaning the omission of ‘W&D’ or ‘Rolex Watch Co’ or ‘RWC’ or any other variation other than the single word: ‘Rolex’, which is shown on the movement.
The case carries the Birmingham anchor Hallmark and the capital ‘U’ denoting the watch case was assayed in 1919. Dennison’s usual brand ‘A.L.D.’ is also found below, along with the Dennison case number 190436.
A final point about the case is that the colour of the gold has a distinct pink or rose look about it, although this is not a pink or rose gold case. This is in keeping with the colour of most ‘yellow’ gold used for watch cases at the time, which is sometimes known as ‘antique gold’.
The simply wonderful original White porcelain dial is seen here with Arabic numerals and is in perfect condition with no cracks or crazing. Note: the numerals, batons and hands would have been originally painted with radioactive luminous paint. These have been replaced with the correct colour and consistency of paint, to look identical to aged luminous paint, as is the norm with vintage dials of this age which have been restored and which originally had luminous painted numerals.
The dial carries the desirable subsidiary seconds dial at ‘6’ and the oh so beautiful, original restored set of ‘Cathedral’ hands. These are so called because they look similar to old cathedral hands. In our view, this is a wonderful dial/hands combination, all surrounded by antique yellow gold – simply perfection.
This has been expertly restored to the very highest standards by our vintage watch dial restorers which are considered to be the best in the UK.
The watch is fitted with a new, high quality Lizard strap, which suits the watch perfectly. The strap is fitted is with a gold plated buckle. However, if a different colour or different style 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 this watch, the movement, case numbers and hallmarks all match, dating the watch to 1919. A detailed written receipt, with our written 12 months warranty*, our Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee and a separate Insurance Valuation for the replacement value will be provided at the time of sale.
The presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.
We have here a very rare and historic Rolex Officer’s wristwatch in 9ct antique 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 be something to treasure and enjoy! This watch will make a wonderful addition to any Rolex collection and is also an excellent investment and heirloom piece, especially if kept in 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 about 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 very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be very 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% transaction 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.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges, along with outright purchases of similar watches for us to restore, service and list. We can also offer Watch Service, Watch Repair & Watch Restoration, please see here.
If you have any questions please call 020 7727 7095 or 07515 949 250 or +44 7515949250 if calling from overseas.
We are here, ready, available and awaiting your call!
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine Vintage Gold Watches!