Vintage Rolex?
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  1. #1
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    Vintage Rolex?

    So my latest watch fever is vintage. I've been searching the net far and wide and have come across a few rolexes around the 1500-2000 dollar range. What are everyone's thoughts regarding Rolex from the 50s to the 70s? Would they be more likely to need expensive service done to maintain them? Would they be something a local watch repairman could service or would they require work to be done by Rolex exclusively? Just wanted to get a general idea of everyone's thoughts
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  2. #2
    Member stratct's Avatar
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    This isn't your latest watch fever...it's your last... Vintage will stick with you once you start ;)
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    Stratocasters Rock!

  3. #3
    Member stratct's Avatar
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    Oh, and to actually help you out. my understanding is that 50s 60s 70s 80s 90s whatever the year, Rolex was always held in the same respect as they are today. I could be wrong tho.
    Stratocasters Rock!

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  5. #4
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Rolex?

    The 50's-60's were probably the "Best" years in mechanical watches overall; there was enough competition to spur innovation in both mechanics and style while keeping prices reasonable. I tend to think that was particularly true of the "high end" watches like Rolex; in order to justify their significantly higher price, they had to be significantly higher quality.

    In many respects, you're better to use a highly skilled "independent" watchmaker for regular service; a "Rolex Trained" watchmaker isn't likely to have any greater ability when dealing with vintages, and only marginally better access to replacement parts. If parts aren't needed, there's almost no value in going to Rolex itself. Indeed, going to Rolex themselves is likely to result in the unrequested replacement of parts, since Rolex is more interested in preserving their modern day marque then the vintage originality of your watch.

    The key to getting <any> watch serviced is the skill of the person doing the service. The lower the quality of the watchmaker, the more likely you'll have the watch come back with additional minor scratches/scuffs on the plates, and the greater the chance that the might have badly oiled some part or left dirt/fibers/etc inside the watch case. The risk is that any mistakes like this may cause damage over time, like scoring on the pivots or excessive wear on the winding parts. This kind of damage isn't immediately obvious, and by the time you realize that it's there, it's there and you can't make it go away. Not a huge issue if your watch is $20 ebay special; somewhat more annoying if its a $2000 vintage Rolex.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Rolex?

    Great tips. Thanks everyone for the feedback
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  7. #6
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Vintage Rolex?

    I would add that Rolex has not always been held in the same (relative) regard as nowadays - in the fifties and sixties, Omega were definitely regarded as superior and Longines were easily on a par with Rolex, if not a little better. This is not to say that Rolex made bad (or worse than the current) movements and watches in those days, the others were simply better on a relative scale. It's only the quartz crisis and the comparative handling of this by the various companies that gave Rolex the edge in the seventies.

    Apart from that, Omega is, of all the various companies, the most similar to Rolex. Massive output, high quality but not as special as Patek and Vacheron, etc. Therefore, both suffer from the same syndrome in vintage watches - there are lots of mariages (aka "Frankenwatches") about. The demand is high (because of reputation) and the material is abundant (because of a large output - hundreds of thousands of watches a year) - so if one watch looks bad and the next doesn't work well any more, you take the good case and dial and "marry" it with the functioning movement to make a presentable watch. These items are worth far less than the originals, even when all the parts are from the same reference (no use matching a gent's watch dial with the hands of a sports watch!) and you need to watch out that you don't overpay for a piece of junk (at least in terms of collectibility).

    Good luck!

    Hartmut Richter
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  8. #7
    Member baronrojo's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Rolex?

    ...and if unsure post pictures of the watch before buying...many frankens abound...

  9. #8
    Member Time Exposure's Avatar
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    Many collectors appreciate the quality of the 15xx automatics. I had an earlier piece (I forget the caliber) that was a great time keeper. Months after I began wearing it I obtained the chucks to open Rolex cases, so naturally I opened my watch to peak inside. Gads! The rotor axle had bent, causing the rotor to literally shave pieces off the bottom plate. There was filth all over that movement AND IT KEPT GOOD TIME! Of course this is an exception. Buy the best you can afford & don't send it to Rolex!

  10. #9
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    Re: Vintage Rolex?

    I will very likely post pics and get your opinions :)
    Tissot PRC200
    Invicta 8928OB Pro Diver
    Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 2503.33.00
    Parnis Power Reserve Automatic
    Tissot Lelocle
    Jacques Lemans Sydney 1-1541G

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