Rolex Railway
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  1. #1
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    Rolex Railway

    I just joined here a few days ago with questions for a forum about a watch I had received as a gift. I have spent a lot of time perusing the forums and it's extremely entertaining. Now, I will introduce another watch and I'm prepared to be beat up about it! (Hopefully not, but prepared nonetheless)
    Many years ago my wife gave me a watch for my 30th birthday. Her father's business partner was into watches recommended a guy who sold "vintage" watches through a newsletter. This was before the internet was a part of everyday life. My wife knew and knows nothing about watches but she trusted her Dad's partner and he highly recommended the watch dealer. She looked through his newsletter and bought a watch for me, a Rolex Prince Railway. She spent what was for us a fortune on the watch. I know nothing about watches either, just what I like the looks of and I appreciated the gift more than I can describe. It meant a lot to me.
    Something about the watch has never sat right with me... the dial didn't look correct. After the internet came, I was able to search Rolex Prince Railway watches and see hundreds of examples of what one should look like. The case of the watch looks right and its beautiful, the watch works well although I have no pictures of the movement but the dial, well I'll let you all see.
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    This watch means a lot to me whether it's 100% or not and I'm just curious to know what those of you in the know, who have something constructive to say, think about it.

  2. #2
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Looks like an old redial to me.

    Probably this inside:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Rolex 300 Prince
    Developed by Aegler, used by Rolex and Gruen (Techni-Quadron). Such a configuration (seconds subdial under the hours/minutes dial) is what's called a "doctor's watch".

    Others will surely be able to tell you more about the watch than I can- I'm not a particular fan of the brand, although these 1930s pieces by Rolex are what I'd like to be associated with the brand, rather than all these blingy, diamond-set Day-Dates.
    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.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Well, if nothing else, that diagonal cross is a real mess! Which means that the dial is not 100% original. Which may mean that the entire watch isn't 100% original.

    There is no way of being certain about it until you look at the movement, I'm afraid. Sadly, this sort of movement was also used by Gruen. I have seen examples of fakes with "Rolex" on the mainspring gear plus a sort of laurel twig etched into the movement - where "Gruen" used to be written! I.e. the watch was really a converted Gruen. So, if you want better confirmation, have it opened up.

    Hartmut Richter

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  5. #4
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Looks like a redial to me too. The dial is skewed a bit. The lume is a bit off some how and from what I see of the Rolex, it is not as crisp as one would expect from the original. That said, nice watch still.

    I want to echo the idea that the current state of the brand is more flash than substance for what it is. We here all know it is not the top quality watch or the highest luxury watch on the market. They are well made yes. They have great movements. But their marketing is what makes everyone think they are the top of the market. I love reading the stories of people wearing far superior watches like a Patek being told by a knowledgeable sales clerk as they browse "looking to move up to a Rolex?". HA HA HA
    https://www.ThePassthrough.com

  6. #5
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Well, if nothing else, that diagonal cross is a real mess! Which means that the dial is not 100% original. Which may mean that the entire watch isn't 100% original.


    Hartmut Richter
    Is it difficult to open and look at or should any decent jeweler be able to do it? Sounds like I need to give it a look.

  7. #6
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Quote Originally Posted by brookview View Post
    Is it difficult to open and look at or should any decent jeweler be able to do it? Sounds like I need to give it a look.
    A watchmaker, not a jeweller. Stay away from jewellers, unless you need to have a gold or silver case fixed, or got a bent lug in a plated case. Find a good watchmaker, and he shouldn't charge you anything for opening the watch. If he does ask for money, find another one.
    A watch like that generally is not hard to open, there's an opening "lip" between the lugs (in case of "tank" and "tonneau" watches). That's where you open it with a case knife. If you don't have the right tool to do that, or if you are afraid that you can damage the case, leave it to the watchmaker and don't try it yourself.
    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.

  8. #7
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Quote Originally Posted by mkws View Post
    Looks like an old redial to me.

    Probably this inside:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Rolex 300 Prince
    Developed by Aegler, used by Rolex and Gruen (Techni-Quadron). Such a configuration (seconds subdial under the hours/minutes dial) is what's called a "doctor's watch".

    Others will surely be able to tell you more about the watch than I can- I'm not a particular fan of the brand, although these 1930s pieces by Rolex are what I'd like to be associated with the brand, rather than all these blingy, diamond-set Day-Dates.
    Well You know they make these too :)

    Chaos is my focus

  9. #8
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    I think also it's a redail. A shame!

  10. #9
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Quote Originally Posted by denny73 View Post
    I think also it's a redail. A shame!
    I think you are right.
    Let's just say it is, we really have no idea why that was done. Could be a good reason for all we know... Maybe the dial was destroyed or ruined somehow. Regardless, I have known in my heart the dial wasn't right for years despite knowing virtually nothing about watches. That hasn't mattered, I have loved the watch for what it is.
    Now, is there any way to fix the problem? Is there a way to return this watch to its former look, or a look that is more in line with what it should be? Are vintage dials out there? Are there good watchmakers who can make this right or do I simply live with it the way it is, the way I have known it?

  11. #10
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex Railway

    Quote Originally Posted by brookview View Post
    I think you are right.
    Let's just say it is, we really have no idea why that was done. Could be a good reason for all we know... Maybe the dial was destroyed or ruined somehow. Regardless, I have known in my heart the dial wasn't right for years despite knowing virtually nothing about watches. That hasn't mattered, I have loved the watch for what it is.
    Now, is there any way to fix the problem? Is there a way to return this watch to its former look, or a look that is more in line with what it should be? Are vintage dials out there? Are there good watchmakers who can make this right or do I simply live with it the way it is, the way I have known it?
    Well, there are ways to fix almost anything. But before you think any further, it is absolutely essential to see the movement. What good does it do if you replace the dial and then find out that there is another, not original movement inside, of whatever make? This type of case is by far the easiest to open, but don't fiddle around with it if you are unsure and bring it to a watchmaker. I agree with mkws that this should be done without charging anything. Take some good pictures. If any markings don't come out clear, write them down and give them separately (unless this is some kind of a logo and not letters or numbers). Dials can be very expensive and priced higher as spare part than many good watches. To make a long story short: Find out first what you have - inside and out!

    The dial is not (entirely) original, that seems clear anyway, otherwise it would have been better to see the 'Rolex' writing in full and not partly covered by the minute hand. The 'Prince' is missing on the dial (I understand that was always written under the Rolex, but I might be wrong). The way it sits in there makes me believe, that the movement doesn't fit into the case, but that is most likely only bad positioning, not unusual with watches of this type and time. Perhaps someone just wanted to have a lume dial and it was changed or the stuff applied afterwards.

    But there could very well be the good surprise, that inside the watch everything is o.k.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; December 11th, 2015 at 20:09.

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