Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please
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  1. #1
    Member kazrich's Avatar
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    Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    This bubbleback is up for sale but the vendor seems a trifle vague on detail.
    Should this have a porcelain dial and approx. what year would it have been made ?
    Does it look correct ?
    Thanks in advance.
    Richard


    ROLEX BUBBLEBACK CHRONOMETRE CALIFORNIA DIAL REF.2940 CHRONOMETRE, VINTAGE WATCH | eBay

  2. #2
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Hi Richard,

    my first counter question: Why do you consider to buy this ruine at tenfold its value, and without any useful information from the seller?

    The problem, everybody tells something different about California dials, and actually nobody knows whether they were U.S. made or not, organized by Rolex or not, or authorized by Rolex or not. Too many stories circulating, and I've no mind to pick out the right.

    So I can only tell how the two dials of this sort were made, which I ever had in my hands, one of which on a watch I sold few years ago: bidfun-db Archive: Wrist Watches: 227: Gents Rolex Bubble Back Automatic Chronometer, 1945
    Consider that the efficiency of lume strongly depends on its thickness. So there is a choice either to apply thick ugly characters like on the watch you refer to, or emboss the characters and fill the sinks with lume to form a flush surface. No doubt that the second option means much more effort, and I doubt a cheap refinisher would ever create the tools to do this.

    I've no clue about these dials, but if ever one of the mentioned designs is the real thing, I believe it is the sophisticated with flush surface but still thick lume, and not the pedestrian solution with clumbsy characters. And if I consider the bold and poorly aligned print on the dial you refer to with the fine on the watch I mention, the mix between English (Oyster) and French (Chronometre) moreover misspelled with "e" instrad "è", and finally part of the model name "Oyster" in one line with "Rolex", I have a hard time to trust in this terrible dial.

    Hopefully some specialists will join this party. I'd like to learn about California dials - just have no mind for own research.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
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  3. #3
    Member kazrich's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Many thanks Roland.
    I did try for more info on this site's Rolex Forum. 165 views but no replies. I also thought that the lume looked too thick
    but when checking a Google image search - all the 2940 bubbleback watches look different .
    Finding meaningful and accurate information on less commonly known models of any brand can be frustrating. Sometimes it's worth
    a gamble on a £ 100 watch - but not a £ 2000 example.
    The vendor would also put me off. The pictures are good but I have never heard of a seller proclaiming that they take no
    responsibility for any loss or damage in transit ? Er - how about insurance ?
    Thanks again
    Richard

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    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Hi Richard and Roland
    For certain Rolex manufactured a dial with mixed Roman and Arabic numbers. The patent No is 221643, Granted August 1942. Here is a copy of it:
    Espacenet - Mosaics

    The term 'California Dial' came later from a company (in California) who made re-worked dials #.

    It was originally manufactured by Rolex in Models 2910, 2940, 2764, 3595 and probably a few more.

    The watch in the link you gave (and I had seen it) is terrible, and very pricey, but the 2940 is a legitimate Rolex so called (not by Rolex) 'California Dial'
    The crown in that watch is not correct for a 2940

    @Roland
    I can add more on so termed 'California Dial'
    Below I give a translation on Rolex patent
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; August 17th, 2014 at 19:47. Reason: 1942 not 1932
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    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    In addition to above, here is a translation of the Rolex patent 221643. NO mention 'California Dial'
    Dial timepiece.

    The object of the present invention is a timepiece dial.

    This dial is characterized in that it includes schedules signs consisting of Roman numerals and other by Arabic numerals.



    The attached drawing shows, as examples, four embodiments of the sub ject of the present invention.



    FIG. 1 is a plan of the first embodiment.

    The fig. 2, 3 and 4 are plan views on a small scale, of the second, respectively the third and fourth embodiments.



    The dial of FIG. 1 is a round dial with hour circle equipped with twelve signs, one for each hour.

    The signs for the hours of 10 and 11 and 1 and 2 consist fles Roman numerals for the hours those 4 and 7 and 7 and 8 by Arabic numerals, and those corresponding to noon, 6:00, 3:00 and 9:00, by simple geometric elements, namely by a triangle and three horizontal bars.



    We find that this provides the tower plain hours, easy to rea- Liser with the luminous matter and per putting easy reading of the time on all boxes for watches whose dials are relatively small .

    In effect, the fact that the Roman numerals occupy half of the dial and Arabic numerals another, clearly distinguishes these two sweaty.

    In addition, selected Roman numerals are those easiest to exe cuter and easier to read.



    In the three other embodiments, the reference to the time 5 time symbol consists of the Roman numeral corre ponding, and corresponding to 6:00 time symbol consists of a short vertical line.

    In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the sign corresponding to noon, is formed by a vertical line, in that of FIG. 3 by two vertical lines, and in that of FIG. 4, surmounted by a short stroke of a semicircle.

    Of course, the above provisions could be applied to the dials to shape other than round and other provisions are still possible.
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    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
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    Adam

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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Hi Adam,

    thanks, now at least nobody can call it a speculation that Rolex was responible for this design.
    (just correction of a typo: The patent was published in 1942, not 1932)

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    The crown in that watch is not correct for a 2940
    No idea how the crown should look like. Unfortunately I have no photo from the crown on the watch I linked to, but I remember it had no Rolex crown but a text refering the patent for the screw-down crown, and I'd surely remember if it had an instruction how to screw and unscrew it.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    Hi Adam,

    thanks, now at least nobody can call it a speculation that Rolex was responible for this design.
    (just correction of a typo: The patent was published in 1942, not 1932)


    No idea how the crown should look like. Unfortunately I have no photo from the crown on the watch I linked to, but I remember it had no Rolex crown but a text refering the patent for the screw-down crown, and I'd surely remember if it had an instruction how to screw and unscrew it.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
    Hi Roland
    I corrected my typo yes 1942. Thanks.
    I will post a picture of correct crown. Rolex changed the motifs on the end of their crowns many times (for good reasons).
    I have a list (rare book) of them all.

    Regards
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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    Member kazrich's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    So in essence, is that watch ' correct ' apart from a dodgy clumsy redial an incorrect crown and a very ambitious price ?

  10. #9
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by kazrich View Post
    So in essence, is that watch ' correct ' apart from a dodgy clumsy redial an incorrect crown and a very ambitious price ?
    In "essence" yes.
    I also want one in my collection, but $2500 for a redial seems a lot (that is differnt to your link)

    A
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  11. #10
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 2940 Bubbleback California. Opinions please

    They could have made a much nicer redial if they put some money into it. As it stands now it more or less is a joke.

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