1955 Rolex bracelet original?
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  1. #1
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    1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    Hey everyone, Happy New Year! Iíd appreciate a little insight into my late fathers Rolex, which I recently got out of storage with a view to servicing it.



    Itís history is that he bought it way back in 1955 in Hong Kong. Apparently the bracelet is original. However inspecting it after last seeing it years ago, Iím wondering if the model didnít originally have a leather strap? The metal bracelet doesnít see to have a flush join with the face, which Iíd expect of a Rolex. The bracelet also tapers in, which Iíve not seen before, yet it does have the Rolex crown on it.
    A little bit of further info. My father last had the watch serviced back in the late 60s (from an official Rolex service shop in St Jamesís Park London and was told there was no suspicion of fake parts.

    Can anyone tell me if the bracelet is an original or not? Or just give me their thoughts on the piece. The strap just seems odd to me.
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  2. #2
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    The watch itself looks like a "Bubbleback" ref. 5015, but I'm not sure. There were a few 1950s Bubbleback models with an engine-turned bezel, so it's just a guess.

    The bracelet is, if I may say so, peculiar in many ways. I'm not that much into Rolexes, but it's odd to see the links sticking out beyond the width of the endlink, and the coronet on the clasp is either badly worn, or somewhat shoddy. Looking up other 1950s Bubblebacks, and generally the Oyster bracelets of the period, I haven't seen the links extending beyond the endlink, not in a single specimen.

    The worst case scenario is that the bracelet's a fake. I'm not sure of that, just saying it may be a possibility. The more optimistic theory would suggest, that it's a separately purchased OEM bracelet, only incorrect for this particular watch, retrofitted to it with a straight end link (as the bracelet was likely intended to be put on a watch with a considerably larger lug width). That is, of course, assuming that the bracelets for different lug widths (up to 2mm difference) had the same width of the centre links, and I don't know if they were, so...
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  3. #3
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    I would need more photos to be sure, but it could be a legit bubbleback. It would be helpful to have the reference number, photos of the movement, etc. The hands are likely replaced (this dial should have dauphine hands), and the dial is repainted.

    The bracelet is definitely wrong for the watch, and most likely a much newer non-Rolex aftermarket replacement. If the gold links are solid (not plated), then it's probably an authentic riveted oyster bracelet made for a later sports model, but I think it's probably unlikely.
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    Thanks so much for the info guys. I suspected as much regarding the bracelet. I would be surprised (not to mention sad) if the watch itself is not authentic. I know my father paid a considerable amount for it at the time and from a reputable dealer. The warranty card exists, with a signature of the dealer, but I suppose things like that can just as easily be made up.

    What would be the best way to certify its authenticity? Can these antique watches been sent to Rolex themselves for inspection?

    Thanks again for the advice.
    Last edited by gizmo1990; January 1st, 2018 at 14:18.

  6. #5
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo1990 View Post
    Thanks so much for the info guys. I suspected as much regarding the bracelet. I would be surprised (not to mention sad) if the watch itself is not authentic. I know my father paid a considerable amount for it at the time and from a reputable dealer. The warranty card exists, with a signature of the dealer, but I suppose things like that can just as easily be made up.

    What would be the best way to certify its authenticity? Can these antique watches been sent to Rolex themselves for inspection?

    Thanks again for the advice.
    I don't really doubt it's a Rolex, but it's hard to say exactly which model without more information and photos. If you have the original warranty card with a serial number that matches the watch, that is good support for authenticity. If you post a photo of the card, it might have useful information. Also, if we knew the exact reference of the watch, it would make it easier to look for other examples, to compare dial, bracelet, hands, etc. I think it is a ref 2940, but it would be good to know for sure. Also, the serial number would allow us to date the watch. On later watches, the serial number is between the lugs at 6 o'clock and the reference number is between the lugs at 12 o'clock. But in earlier watches, the numbers can be on the outside or even the inside of the case-back, I believe. So perhaps you can remove the bracelet and show photos of the back and between the lugs on both ends (assuming numbers are present). Finally, have the back removed and post photos of the inside of the back and of the movement, again making sure any numbers are clear. We can help you, but you need to provide more information.

    By the way, some of these bubbleback models did come with a riveted bracelet with straight end-pieces. It's just that this particular bracelet is not the original one, and it's the wrong size. Since the bracelets did not hold up very well with time, they are rare and expensive. Replacing the bracelet with a correct one would cost more than your watch. You can probably buy a better fitting aftermarket bracelet, or the watch would also be perfectly appropriate on a leather strap (probably 17mm for a ref 2940).
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    Thanks again badbackdan. The guarantee card has a watch no.619239 but no numbers by the lugs.

    I presume Iíd have to take the watch to a specialist to open the back up and check for numbers inside.

    Would an authorised Rolex repair watchmaker be able to tell if the watch is genuine? Or would this only be able to be found if the watch itself was inspected by Rolex themselves? Do they even offer a service to discover this on such old watches?

  8. #7
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo1990 View Post
    Thanks again badbackdan. The guarantee card has a watch no.619239 but no numbers by the lugs.

    I presume I’d have to take the watch to a specialist to open the back up and check for numbers inside.

    Would an authorised Rolex repair watchmaker be able to tell if the watch is genuine? Or would this only be able to be found if the watch itself was inspected by Rolex themselves? Do they even offer a service to discover this on such old watches?
    That is a serial number dating the production of the watch to 1949 or so. Authorized Rolex dealers and watchmakers don't necessarily know very much about vintage watches, and sometimes they are not even very good at determining authenticity of relatively modern watches. Rolex itself is notoriously unhelpful regarding vintage models. They won't even repair them.

    If you can get a comprehensive set of photos, you can post them here, or on the vintage rolex forum site, and the experts will absolutely be able to give you definitive information that is much more reliable than a Rolex dealer or repair shop.

    Any watchmaker will have the correct tool to open the back. There should be an engraved/stamped Rolex logo of some type, and a 4-digit reference number; I'm guessing 2940 but I could be wrong. Take photos. Also take several photos of the movement with the rotor in different positions.
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    Well, even with the rotor in different positions, we won't get to see anything interesting, as the Rolex movements of that period usually had the entire movement covered by the plate of the automatic winding module.
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
    Edgar Allan Poe

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    George Orwell

    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

  10. #9
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    gizmo1990...Hello! If you would like to know some history about this watch, simply take it to a watchmaker...any good, independent shop will do. They will remove the case back, take a few minutes ( or less ) to examine the movement, and tell you what you have.

    It is really not possible to comment upon authenticity by looking at the outside...any more than you could determine the correctness of, say, a 1960's Jaguar, without lifting the hood ( or, Bonnet, as they say in the car's home country ).

    Again: once a knowledgeable person peeks inside your watch for a few seconds or a minute or so, he or she will KNOW what you have.

    That's it.

    Good luck. Michael.

  11. #10
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    Re: 1955 Rolex bracelet original?

    The bracelet has the look of a Cromwell riveted stretch type, but I cannot say whether or not this would have been
    supplied by Rolex, thought I have seen them marked with the Rolex logo on the clasp and unmarked.
    The end pieces appear correct for the bracelet, but, again, I'm not sure whether they are correct for this model watch.
    " I like Chiken farming and old clock " --- Anon

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