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Rolex Prince: the doctor’s watch
by admin

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In 1928 Rolex introduced the Prince which almost instantly became known as the doctor’s watch. The rectangular watch had a bigger dial on top for the hours and the minutes and below that a smaller dial for the seconds. That made it easy for a doctor to measure a patient’s pulse rate.

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In the history of watches the Rolex Prince is seen as one of the most groundbreaking watches. After it came on the market in 1928 it immediately set new standards for accuracy and ease of use for luxury watches.
After it’s introduction the Price was for sale in two different styles for the case, one a more rectangular (Classic) and the other one a much more round design (Brancard). Rolex used several materials to manufacture a Prince, yellow gold, sterling silver, platinum and two-tone combinations (later steel also became available). The Classic was Model 1343 and the Brancard Model 971.
Soon after it’s introduction the manual wound movement was replaced by an automatic one.

In the ’30s of the last century the price of a Rolex Prince was about the same as that of a car. The following illustrates that.
The Gruen doctor’s watch and the Rolex Prince both have the same movement. The former was made for the American market, the latter for the rest of the world and therefore they were not sold as competitors. Still, the price of the Gruen watch was only 30% of the price of a Prince.
Once again Rolex proved to be brilliant in their marketing and showed how strong the brand was.

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In 1935 Rolex started with the production of the ‘Railway Prince’. It was designed with the forms of a locomotive in mind and was registered as Model 1527.
The next new model, the ‘Jumping Hours’, was a truly new, futuristic design. The upper dial of the watch now had only a minute hand and the hours could be read as numbers (1-12) through a hole in the dial at the 12 o’clock position. Years later this invention was the inspiration for the development of the Rolex Datejust.
One of the last models of the Rolex Prince series was the ‘Super Precision Aerodynamic’. This watch had one big dial for the hour, minute and second hands.
Somewhere during the 40s the production of the Rolex Prince ended and it got replaced by more round and sports models.

During it’s existance several ‘special editions’ of the Rolex Prince were manufactured.
The ‘Sporting Prince’ was one of them. It was a pocket watch designed to be used during athletic activities. The movement was in a case which had a spring mechanism with which the dial could pop up from the case.
A big Canadian warehouse wanted to give their employees who had worked for them for more than 25 years a watch and ordered the ‘Quarter Century Club’ Prince by Rolex. These watches had the words ’1/4 Century Club’ printed on the outer ring of the dial instead of the normal numbers.

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Pic.: 1945 ‘Quarter Century Club’

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Pic.: 1929 white/yellow gold

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Pic.: 1930 asymmetric

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Pic.: different versions of the ‘Jumping Hour’

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Pic.: aerodynamic 1940s caliber

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Pic.: 1936 gold

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Afb.: 1930 staal

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Pic.: Prince pocket watch

Finally Rolex reintroduced the Prince and it is for sale in 2013 (Rolex Prince).

Jaap Bakker

September 22nd

11:11
Models

Eric Clapton: King of Rolex
by admin

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Pic.: Eric Clapton with his Submariner and B.B. King in the back seat with his inevitable yellow gold Rolex President (not visible)

Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, in the UK, on March 30th, 1945. His mother, Patricia Molly Clapton, was only 16 years old when Eric was born. His father, Edward Walter Fryer, was a 24-year old Canadian soldier, posted in the UK during WOII who returned to Canada after the war. Being a single teenage mother, Patricia was not capable of dealing with motherhood and her mother and step-father, Rose and Jack Clapp, decided to undertake this task. Eric’s family name originates from his grandfather on his mother’s side, Reginald Cecil Clapton.

Eric grew up in a very musical household. His grandmother was a talented pianist and his grandfather appeared to be a decent pianist as well.
When Eric was told the truth about his grandparents and mother – he thought they were his parents and sister – , he turned from a good student and popular boy into a reserved person who lost all motivation to study. However, at the age of 13, he appeared to have an outstanding talent for art and he went to the art department of the Holyfield Road School.
In that time, 1958, rock and roll had caused an explosion within the British music scene. As a present for his 13th birthday Eric asked for a guitar and he was given a cheap Hoyer made in Germany. But he found it difficult and painful to play this steel-string guitar and he let it slide.
It was not until he was 16 that, after being admitted to the Kingston College of Art, he was eager to get back to the guitar. Eric’s examples were blues guitar players like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Alexis Korner. The latter inspired Eric to buy an electric guitar, which was relatively rare in the UK in those days.
It was also at Kingston that he discovered something the lifelong impact of which would be almost equally great as the guitar: booze.
After the first time of getting drunk, at the age of 16, he woke up in the woods, alone, covered with vomit and penniless. Eric remembers ‘I couldn’t wait to do it all again’. It obviously did not take long before he was removed from school.
From 1963 on, Eric started hanging around in bars in London West End where he played with The Roosters, and Casey Jones and The Engineers for short periods of time. In order to get by Eric worked in the building trade.
In October 1963, Eric was invited to play with The Yardbirds, scoring his first commercial hits ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ and ‘For Your Love’. In 1965 he left the band and was substituted by the guitarists Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Later they would be considered the best rock guitarists ever.
After some time, in 1965, Eric joined the John Mayall & the Bluesbrakers blues band that would record the ‘The Bluesbrakers with Eric Clapton’ album one year later. This record established Eric’s reputation as one of the greatest guitarists of that time. With songs like ‘What’d I Say’ and ‘Ramblin’ on My Mind’ Eric won the very flattering epithet ‘God’, resulting from graffiti in the London underground saying ‘Clapton is God’.
Despite this success, Eric left the Bluesbrakers rather soon and a few months later he created the rock trio Cream, together with the bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Braker.
They played songs like ‘Crossroads’ and ‘White Room’ and after making three successful albums -Fresh Cream (1966), Disraeli Gears (1967) and Wheels of Fire (1968)- in addition to the extensive tour in the USA, Cream had gained an international superstar status. However, after two final concerts in the Londen Royal Albert Hall, Cream fell apart due to conflicting egos.

Eric-Calpton-Rolex-Ad:Ripley,Surrey

It would lead too far afield to reveal Clapton’s remaining musical history entirely.
The period between 1970 and 1987 was characterized by complete ambiguity. Clapton achieved tremendous musical successes (e.g. he wrote the song ‘Layla’ to express his desperate affection for Pattie Boyd, the wife of Beatle George Harrison), but his personal life was a mess. In the early 70s he was addicted to cocaine for three years and as of 1979 he had been a heavy alcohol abuser. One divorce after another followed, Clapton committed adultery and fathered two illegitimate children.
In 1987, Eric gave up drinking with the 12-step aid of the AA and he has been sober since. Even in 1991 when he suffered a great personal tragedy. His son Conor died after he fell from a window in his mother’s house. In connection with this tragic event Clapton wrote the song ‘Tears in Heaven’.
In 2002 he married Melia McEnery with whom he has three daughters, Julie Rose, Ella Mae and Sophie. Sober for the first time in his life, Eric greatly enjoys a stable family life.
In 1998, he founded the Crossroads Centre, a alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre, and in 2007, Clapton’s autobiography was published.

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Pic.: Eric Clapton wearing his Rolex Daytona Paul Newman with a ‘fatstrap’ like the one Newman used to wear

Eric Clapton is a collector of vintage Rolex watches and he is also an ambassador for Rolex.
Recently, two very rare samples from his collection were auctioned the proceeds of which went towards the Crossroads Centre.

This stainless steel Rolex Daytona was auctioned a few years ago and the bidding went up to $ 505,000, which was a worldwide auction record. What makes this watch very special is the ‘Albino’ dial, as it is extremely rare.

Eric-Calpton-Albino-Daytona

The Yachtmaster Daytona was a prototype of Rolex and was never put on the market. The prototype had the ref 6239/6242 and only three samples of this model are known. The first was Clapton’s, the second John Goldberger’s and the third is included in the private Rolex collection (this one has a special frame with ref 6542).

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Clapton’s Yachtmaster was auctioned in 2003 by Christie’s for $ 125,000.

Other watches from the collection include:

-Ref 6062: in 18-carat gold with diamonds on the dial, considered the best Rolex ever.

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- Ref 6036: gold with various gems and a romantic patina finish

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- Ref 6239: gold, white and anthracite with matching tachymeter ring

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- Ref 6236: the sports version of the Compax series from the early 60s

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- Ref 3525

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- Ref 6263: Oyster chronograph

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Jaap Bakker

September 14th

19:29
Models

Persons

Casio G-Shock: a non Swiss icon
by admin

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Pic.: the first Casio G-Shock, ref DW-5000C-1A

After a couple of years of hard working and smart thinking engineer Kikuo Ibe, working for Casio, could finally introduce the G-Shock in 1983. He and his team had been working around the triple 10 concept:

- the battery had to last for 10 years
- it had to be water resistent to 10 bar (100m)
- the watch had to survive a fall from 10m onto a hard surface

The first two demands were relatively easy to come by but the third gave Ibe headaches. Until one day he saw a child in a swimming pool playing with a rubber ball. The movement needed to float in some sort of material that would protect the inner watch against shocks. They developed the ‘floating module’ concept where the quartz mechanism floated free in a urethane foam cradle, with things like the outer buttons, and LCD module attached with flexible cables, with the buttons mounted to the watchcase, rather than the quartz module.
It was released in April 1983, seizing the unfilled recreational and sporting market for bulky, functional watches. In the first years Casio released a handful of new models each year and in 1991 the Baby-G models were released. The popularity of G-Shocks increased rapidly throughout the 1990s. By 1998, 19 million G-Shocks had been sold worldwide and there seemed to be a peak in demand as over 200 new models were released in that year alone.

G-Shock Milestones

Year Features Model
1983 World’s first shock-resistant wristwatch DW-5000C-1A
1985 Square-shaped face with dust/dirt-proof construction DW-5500C-1
1987 Best-selling model and successor to the square-shaped DW-5000 DW-5600C-1
1987 Circular-shaped model DW-5700C-1V
1989 Adopted a combination of analog and digital display AW-500-1E
1990 First hit model in Japan, employing a new face design DW-5900C-1 / DW-6000GJ-1
1993 First Frogman diving model, water resistant to a depth of 200 meters DW-6300-1A
1994 Equipped with EL backlight DW-6600
1994 First model supporting environmental protection “Dolphin & Whale Eco-Research Network” Model
1994 Shock-resistant wristwatch for women (first Baby-G model) DW-520
1996 Pair of G-SHOCK and Baby-G watches (his and hers) Lover’s Collection
1996 Full-metal casing with shock-resistant construction MRG-100
1998 Tough Solar G-SHOCK with solar-powered mechanism DW-9300
2000 Wave Ceptor watch with radio-controlled timekeeping GW-100
2002 Solar-powered radio-controlled watch GW-300
2005 5-motor chronograph module with multiple functions GS-1000

This line of watches has expanded considerably since then and now includes atomic clock synchronization and Tough Solar functionality in the latest models. The Cockpit Series G-Shock is the official timekeeper of Nismo Racing. Many newer G-Shocks feature metal (steel or titanium) banding and ornate analogue timekeeping.
Twice a year (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collection) the basic models are updated. New limited models are introduced more frequently through the year. As with Swatch watches, G-Shocks have become collectors items. Arguably, the most sought after line is the Frogman. Limited edition Frogmans such as the Brazilian, Men in Yellow, Black Helios and Black Spots are some of the most desirable Frogmans.

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Casio also produces collaboration models, often with popular fashion brands, like A Bathing Ape (Bape), Stussy, Xlarge, KIKS TYO, Nano Universe, Levi’s, Lifted Research Group, as well as Coca Cola, Pulp68 Skateshop, Lucky Strike and Marlboro.
G-Shock is popular with mountaineers, firemen, paramedics, police officers, astronauts, film directors (Tony Scott was often pictured wearing a GW-3000B, as is Ron Howard and Francis Ford Coppola) and soldiers. Ex-Special Forces soldier Andy McNab mentions in several of his novels how his fictional character Nick Stone relies on a G-Shock watch. According to Mark Bowden’s book Blackhawk Down, the DELTA Operators wore G-Shock watches during the combat events of 3rd & 4th October 1993. Since then, G-Shocks watches have become very popular with Special Forces groups in both American and other NATO nation units, due to their being “battle tested”.
Models DW-5600C, DW-5600E, DW-5900, DW-6600, DW-6900 are flight-qualified for NASA space travel.
In 2012, Casio released GB-6900, a Bluetooth-capable model of G-Shock. As of June 2012, it was only available in Japan. Casio claimed the battery life of 2 years on a single CR2032 battery.

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Pic.: Astronaut Thomas Reiter during Expedition 14 wearing G-Shock 5900 on the International Space Station

The Casio G-Shock is one of my favourite watches. You can literarely do everything with the watch on your wrist without ever having to worry that you cross the line of what it can withstand. It’s attraction is also in the fact that it is the total opposite of your beautiful Rolex or Jaeger-LeCoultre. And of course the prices are friendly what makes it easier to collect them.
In my eyes every watch collector should have a G-Shock in his collection. The only question remaining is whether the Swiss will ever come with a watch that can seriously compete with the Casio G-Shock.

Jaap Bakker

August 29th

14:56
Models

Rolex ref 3346 ‘Zerographe’: a very rare milestone
by admin

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In 1937 Rolex introduced the ref 3346 ‘Zerographe’ because they wanted to prove that they could make a chronograph with an in-house movement (up to then all chronographs had an outsourced movement).

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It was also the first Rolex ever made with a rotating bezel which had red and black markers and Arabic numerals.

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The manual wind movement had a handful of extra components to create a primitive ‘fly-back’ function. With this function the sweeping second hand moved continuously until you pushed the button at ’2′. Then it stopped, returned directly to ’12′ and started moving again. Big disadvantage was that you could not stop the second hand at the time elapsed because, if you pushed the button, the hand would return to ’12′ again.

The ref 3346 ‘Zerograph’ is possibly the rarest of all Rolex watches. Probably only twelve were ever made and only four are now accounted for.
The importance of the ref 3346 for Rolex history must not be underestimated. It was the first Rolex with an in-house chronograph movement, a rotating bezel and an Oyster case with a push button. It had it’s infuence on Bubbleback Oysters of the early 20th century and later models like the Thunderbird, Turn-o-graph, Submariner and the Daytona.

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This is what Christie’s had to say about the ref 3346 they had for sale:

Lot Description
Rolex. An extremely rare, historically important and very attractive stainless steel continuous flyback chronograph wristwatch with black lacquer California dial, revolving bezel, stainless steel bracelet and box
Signed Rolex Oyster, Zerographe, ref. 3346, case no. 146’276, circa 1937
Cal. 10 1/2”’ mechanical movement, 17 jewels, Patented Super Balance, black lacquer dial, luminous Roman and Arabic numerals, luminous mercedes hands, central continous chronograph seconds hand, outer gilt railway minute divisions, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, inclined rotating bezel calibrated for 60 units with Arabic five minute divisions and red baton quarters, screw down crown, screw back, single circular flyback chronograph button in the band for start/stop and return-to-zero, stainless steel bracelet and Rolex deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed
32 mm. diam.

Lot Notes
With Rolex original fitted red felt presentation box with a red sticker attached to the front bearing the company’s name. The box is lined on the inside with the imprint of a Rolex crown and the words “Waterproof Anti-Magnetic Unbreakable Glass” and is adorned with a gilt paper sticker with the red writing “The Highest Honours Ever Awarded By London, Paris and Geneva Observatories”.

The Rolex Zerographe is so rare that even the most important key literature about Rolex does not fully explain the watch or provide complete information in regards to its genesis, numbers of watches produced and historical context. This is the regrettable consequence of two important facts: firstly, according to our knowledge and after extensive research, there is no period Rolex advertisement featuring this model. Secondly, there is no official information at Rolex available today in regards to reference 3346 Zerographe, so scholars and collectors find it nearly impossible to draw final conclusions.

The most important source of information however are the watches known to have survived and there are astonishing facts that came to light when speaking to their current owners: in fact, we were able to identify four watches of reference 3346 and their serial numbers are 146’270, 146’271, 146’275 and 146’276, the present watch. Whereas decades ago production numbers in the range of 50 were rumoured, we can nearly scientifically confirm that probably not even a fraction of such quantity was ever produced. In fact, simple probability calculation concludes that if four watches of an undetermined number ever produced have serial numbers falling in a sequence not further apart than 7, then the total produced can statistically be at best 12.

We understand today that the Zerographe reference 3346 was the first Oyster chronograph model produced by Rolex and furthermore the first to be powered by an in-house movement. What made the 10 1/2 lignes sweep seconds movement special was the addition of a return-to-zero or fly-back mechanism. The timing of a single event was possible by rotating the bezel to match the minute hand and returning the seconds hand to zero by means of the pusher. The elapsed time could then be measured on the bezel.

It is characterized by a continuous chronograph seconds hand, which will go around the dial without stopping. This is different from ordinary chronographs, which will have one or two buttons to affect stop, start and return-to-zero and where the chronograph hand will not run unless activated. Once the Zerographe is wound, the mechanism, including the central chronograph seconds hand, will run continuously. A strong push on the chronograph button will return the chronograph seconds hand to zero. However, in order to keep the chronograph seconds hand at zero the chronograph button must be kept pressed down. Once the pressure is released from the chronograph button, the central chronograph hand will continue its travel around the dial.

Considered a crossover between a Rolex bubble back watch and Rolex chronograph, Zerographe reference 3462 marks a turning point in Rolex history. In fact, it was this model which was the first one given a revolving bezel, later found on the “TURN-O-GRAPH” and “SUBMARINER” families (but only some 15 years later!). The company used the name Zerographe and Centregraph interchangeably for this type of single button flyback chronograph mechanism. However, the “crowned” watch manufacturer gave the Zerographe with reference 3346 a calibrated bezel, while the Centregraph with reference 3462 has a milled bezel with dot and baton markers.

Jaap Bakker

August 21st

10:50
Models

Rolex ref 6062: the Moonphase
by admin

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Many consider the Rolex ref 6062 Moonphase the most beautiful Rolex ever. Anyhow, it is one of the most complex models.
The rarest design of the ref 6062 is the black dial and diamond indexes version, of which only two copies are known.

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Bao Dai, the latest emperor of Vietnam, was known for his good taste and had a reputation for tiger hunter, womanizer and car collector. During his stay in Geneva for the Indochina peace talks, he bought a Moonphase with a black dial and diamond indexes.
It was an 18-carat golden, self-winding waterproof watch with a triple calendar and positions of the moon, ref 6062, 36 mm in diam. A tonneau-shaped two-body case with screw back nr. 916366. This watch had been produced in 1952 and sold to Bao Lai in 1954. The crown is a Gold Super Oyster, ref 18. The watch has a black glossy dial with inlaid golden dart and five diamond indexes, an outer gold-plated date ring with a steel central date indicator and two openings for days and months. The hands are made of gold and the type is ‘Dauphine’. A supplementary dial marks the positions of the moon showing a black sky, combined with the constant second hand. The ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’ is in the center of this additional dial.
The ref 6062 was produced from 1949 until 1953, 350 copies in yellow gold, 50 in rose gold and a few in stainless steel.
Particularly the ref 6062 indexes varied greatly: the rarest were the diamond indexes, followed by the star-shaped indexes. A black dial is the rarest. Remarkably, in the Rolex ads for the ref 6062 the term ‘Cosmograph’ was used.

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The stainless steel design is an Oyster Perpetual Chronometer with a screw crown and on the side of the case push buttons to adjust the calendar. The dial is made of two-tone silver with inlaid stainless steel dart indexes and 3-6 Arab figures, black minute track, graduation for the days of the month in blue, supplementary second dial, openings for the days of the week, the months and the positions of the moon.
The watch contains a cal. 9 3/4”’ clockwork, rhodium-plated, 19 jewels, straight-line lever echappement, monometal balance, self-compensating Breguet balance spring. Dial, case and clockwork are signed. 36 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick.

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The design in 18-carat yellow gold. It is noticeable that the dial is made of ‘frosted’ silver with inlaid yellow golden facet dart indexes and star-shaped indexes and that luminous points have been put in.

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The very rare stainless steel design which is called the ‘Black Moon’. The hands are made of stainless steel, luminous and of the ‘Alpha’ type.

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The frosted silver dial with inlaid luminous yellow golden pyramidal, star-shaped and dart indexes and rose golden ‘Dauphine’ hands attract the most attention. Additionally, there is a cal. 655 chronometer clockwork, rhodium-plated, 18 jewels, straight-line lever echappement, Super-balance set on 6 positions, self-compensating Breguet balance spring. Dial, case and clockwork are signed. 36 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick.

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A ref 6062 is made of 18-carat yellow gold, put on the market by Serpico Y Laino (is written on the supplementary dial with the positions of the moon).

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A very rare design of the ref 6062 in stainless steel. Apart from the known specifications this watch was also antimagnetic. Driven by a cal. 9 3/4”’, 36 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick. Owned by an Asian collector.

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An extremely rare design of ref 6062 is this 18-carat, yellow golden version with a black dial and diamond indexes. The watch-strap is also unique, a so-called ‘gold tile-link’ with a folding lock.

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This version of ref 6062 has a so-called champagne coloured ‘Egyptian’ dial. Driven by a cal. 655 and 35.5 mm in diameter.

6062Ant:SS two-tone silver

A stainless steel ref 6062 with a beautiful, two-tone silver dial. Clockwork is a cal. 9 3/4”’ and 15 mm thick.

6062Ant:SS zwarte dial

A black dial and ‘Alpha’ radium-coated hands in this design of ref 6062 and driven by a cal. 9 3/4”’.

And last but not least a fine photomontage of the dazzling ref 6062:

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Jaap Bakker

August 14th

16:38
Models

A Rolex Submariner ref 5514: both COMEX and Military?
by admin

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A couple of years ago Auction House Christie’s had a very interesting Rolex for sale. It was a Submariner ref 5514, a model that was made especially for COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises). Ref 5514 was never available for the civilian customer.
The difference between the COMEX watch and the civilian version, ref 5513, was the helium escape valve on the left side of the case (similar to the valve on the Sea-Dweller). Of the ref 5514 Submariner only about 150 pieces were made.

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Had this watch just been a ref 5514 made for COMEX than it would have already been very rare but this one was even more special. It had the military markings of the Argentine Navy. The ‘A.R.A.’ on the dial stood for ‘Armada de la Republica Argentina’. The caseback was engraved with both a COMEX number and a military issue number.

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Christie’s provided some very interesting information about this watch, especially how a COMEX diver’s watch ended up with military markings of the A.R.A.
They wrote the following:

Lot Description
Rolex. An extremely rare stainless steel automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, hack feature, bracelet, gas escape valve and box, made for COMEX and sold to the Argentine Navy
Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, A.R.A, 660ft=200m, Submariner, COMEX issue no. 449, A.R.A. military issue no. 68507-Ci, ref. 5514, case no. 4’155’925, manufactured in 1977
Cal. 1520 nickel-finished lever movement, 26 jewels, black matte dial marked A.R.A for Armada de la República Argentina, luminous dot, baton and dagger numerals, luminous mercedes hands, luminous sweep centre seconds, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, gas escape valve, revolving black bezel calibrated for 60 units, screw down crown, screw back engraved ROLEX COMEX 449 and military issue number 68507-Ci, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, case, dial and movement signed
40 mm. diam.

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Lot Notes
With Rolex contemporary fitted green presentation box and outer packaging.

The present watch is an exceptionally rare variant of the celebrated reference 5514 made for COMEX, featuring the abbreviation “A.R.A” for “Armada de la República Argentina” (Navy of the Argentine Republic) on the dial and ARA military issue number 68507-Ci engraved on the case back. Until today unknown to the market and to literature, it is believed to be the only reference 5514 with these characteristics to appear at auction.

Reference 5514 is amongst the rarest of all Submariner models, according to literature around 150 examples were made and sold exclusively to COMEX. The model was never available to the public and differs from the regular Submariner by a variety of features, most notably the helium escape valve on the right side of the case and the serial number repeated inside the case back, a characteristic reserved to COMEX and to military watches.

According to research, collaboration between COMEX and ARA dates back to the mid 1970s when Argentina’s state-owned oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales or YPF started the exploration of offshore oil fields.

Prior to the purchase of a semi-submersible platform essential for such project, YPF was looking for scuba divers able to operate in depths of 180 meters. Simultaneously the Argentine Navy was also investigating the possibility of forming divers for deep-sea dives and dives with different gas mixtures, leading to an arrangement with YPF who took a group of Navy divers under contract. Research revealed that between 17 and 30 October 1977, year of manufacture of the present watch, 16 Argentine divers were trained at COMEX Hyperbaric Experimental Centre in Marseille for saturation dives to a depth of 200 meters, using Heliox gas.

It can safely be assumed that COMEX commissioned Rolex with the supply of their reference 5514 watches for the Argentine divers, requesting the inscription “A.R.A” above the depth indication on the dial instead of the commonly found “COMEX”. A wristwatch built to withstand water pressure, in the present case to a depth of 200 meters (660 feet), is a vital accessory for a deep sea diver and essential for calculating the time of dive and controlling the rate of ascent and descent.

The Argentine military issue numbers were most likely engraved to the case backs upon the return of the divers to their home country.

Formerly the property of the son of one of these divers, the present watch stands out by its unmolested, original overall condition, including the contemporary Rolex Oyster bracelet reference 93150, the correct version for reference 5514.

A short history of COMEX

The Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises (COMEX) was founded in November 1961 by Henri Germain Delauze who has been in charge ever since. The company specializes in engineering and deep diving operations.
It’s main line of business includes hyperbaric testing facilities, oceanographical research ships (Minibex and Janus) and a testing pool.

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COMEX was a pioneer in the field of very deep saturation diving. They experimented with the use of hydrogen in the diver’s breathing gas. They started using Heliox and Hydreliox gas mixtures with Hydra I in 1968. This testing finally led to COMEX diver Theo Mavrostomos, with Hydra X in 1992, making a record simulated dive of 701 m in an on shore hyperbaric chamber.

The use of hydrogen was partly driven by the fact that it could help overcome the symptoms of high pressure nervous syndrome (HPNS). But another factor was that COMEX in 1987 was part of a Canadian-French consortium that tried to built the world’s first commercial nuclear mini-submarine. This submarine, Saga, was a prototype intended to be used for oil exploration and development under the Arctic ice. Saga was built on a hull originally constructed by Jacques-Yves Cousteau but not completed due to lack of funds. Saga would have a complete saturation diving system on board. The nuclear power plant would be able to produce large volumes of hydrogen and oxygen through the Electrolysis of water. This would provide plentiful amounts of breathing gas for autonomous diving operations under the Arctic ice cap.
The project suffered tax problems in Canada which caused political repercussions between the French and Canadian governments. Saga did undergo successful sea trials in 1991 but without the intended nuclear power plant. Underwater propulsion was provided by a Stirling engine and surface propulsion by a diesel engine. The project was abandoned and Saga was laid up at Marseille.

Today COMEX is still a famous company that is at the forefront of everything having to do with diving.
The following is a list of their customers:

Defence
Offshore industry
Engineering industry
University hospitals and other hospitals
Scientific research (physiology)
Search, survey, salvage and recovery operations on wrecks
Media (photography and motion pictures)
Underwater tourism
Maritime expertise
Underwater archaeology
Hydrography
Salvage
Insurance

A short history of A.R.A.

CoA:ARA logo

The Argentine Navy or Navy of the Argentine Republic or Armada of the Argentine Republic (Spanish: Armada de la República Argentina — ARA, also Armada Argentina) is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force. Each ship of the Argentine Navy is designated with the prefix “ARA” before its name.
The Argentine Navy day is celebrated on May 17, anniversary of the victory achieved in 1814 in the Battle of Montevideo over the Spanish fleet during the war of Independence.

19th century

CoA:Adm. William Brown

Pic.: Admiral William Brown.

The Argentine Navy was created in the aftermath of the May Revolution of May 25, 1810, which started the war for independence from Spain. The first navy was created to support Manuel Belgrano at the Paraguay campaign, but it was sunk by ships from Montevideo, and did not take part in that conflict. Renewed conflicts with Montevideo led to the creation of a second one, which captured the city. As Buenos Aires had little maritime history, most men in the navy were from other nations, such as the Irish admiral William Brown, who directed the operation.
As the cost of maintaining a navy was too high, most of the Argentine naval forces were composed of privateers. Brown led the Argentine navy in further naval conflicts at the War with Brazil and the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata.
In the late 1800s, the Argentine Navy began modernizing itself. At the close of the century, the force included:
5 armoured cruisers
4 coastal defence ironclads
3 second-class, high-speed, British-built cruisers
7 modern small cruisers and gunboats
4 destroyers and
22 torpedo boats.
The most powerful ships (counted in the list above) included the Italian-built Garibaldi and her sister ships, the General Belgrano, Pueyrredón, and the San Martín, each at over 6,000 tons. Three older ships, the Almirante Brown, Independencia, and the Libertad dated from the 1880s and early 1890s.
The navy’s ships were built primarily in Italy, Britain, France, and Spain and were operated by over 600 officers and 7760 seamen. These were supported by a battalion of marines and an artillery battery.

Today

The Argentine Navy participates in joint exercises with other friendly navies like Brazil, United States, Spain, France, Canada, South Africa,[14] Italy, Uruguay, and since the 1990s, Chile. They are also routinely held, in order to develop a common operational doctrine. Every year in conjunction with the Chilean Navy the Argentine Navy participate in the Patrulla Antártica Naval Combinada (English: Joint Antarctic Naval Patrol) to guarantee safety to all touristic and scientific ships that are in transit within the Antarctic Peninsula where the Navy is also directly responsible of maintaining the Argentine bases there.

Jaap Bakker

August 14th

15:14
Models

Niki Lauda: passionate race-driver
by admin

NL:pasfoto

The son of a wealthy Viennese family, Andreas Nikolaus ‘Niki’ Lauda was born on February 22nd, 1949. The family’s social status turned out to be both advantageous and disadvantageous to Niki. He found it very hard to adapt himself to the family’s straightjacket, but when he found himself seriously involved in racing, the family capital came in useful. As a 12-year old boy he would park the cars of his parents’ visitors and via Formule Vee and Formule 3, Niki ended up in Formule 2 in 1971. This against his father’s will who wanted Niki to stay away from racing.

Niki-Lauda:F1debuut

In the seasons of 1971 and 1972, with loads the family’s money he managed to secure a seat in the March team March (F1/F2 combination) together with Ronnie Peterson. Later he bought a seat in the BRM team of Louis Stanley and then, all of a sudden, Niki’s career took a wide scope. First, Stanley started to pay him for driving his car and subsequently Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari called him, as he had become aware of Niki’s great talent.

In 1974, his first year in the Ferrari team, he gained his first of the 26 F1 victories and he and his team mate Clay Regazzoni competed for the championship.

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The Ferrari 312 T (Transversal) was greatly superior to the competition cars and Niki won 5 races in 1975. He became world champion, leaving number two far behind and he called ’75 ‘the unbelievable year’.

Niki is most likely to be memorized by the championship he did not win.

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At the time of the Grand Prix of Germany on the Nurburgring in 1976, Niki led in the world championship significantly despite the fact that he had broken a few ribs while mowing on a tractor on his estate in Salzburg. In his McLaren, F1 playboy James Hunt, winner of the British GP in that year, lagged more than 20 points behind Niki.
After an early pit stop to change rain tyres for slicks, Niki’s Ferrari suddenly flew to the right for inexplicable reasons, hitting the crashbarrier near Bergwerk. The car bounced back on the track, Brett Lunger was unable to avoid Niki’s car which was set on fire.

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A couple of race-drivers including Brett Lunger, Guy Edwards and fearless Arturo Merzario managed to free Niki from the burning wreck. Although he was still able to stand after the accident, it soon became clear how seriously wounded he was. Hot, toxic gases had damaged his lungs and had entered his blood circulation. His helm had partly come loose, causing his head to be seriously burnt and he soon became comatose. For weeks on end his life was being feared for.

Niki-Lauda-Coma

The unbelievable happened: six weeks after his accident Niki could again be found in the cockpit of his Ferrari. Later he confessed that he was almost paralysed with fright at that time. In the previous 6 weeks two GPs had taken place and Hunt had come closer, having gained a second victory in Zandvoort. Niki returned at the Monza GP and finished fourth admirably (3 points). Subsequently, Hunt won the two following GPs in North-America. In Canada, Niki was forced to give up due to suspension problems and on Watkins Glen he came in third. Before the final race on the Fuji circuit, Hunt only lagged 3 points behind Niki. The race started in heavy rain and after two laps Niki gave up, saying it was madness to race under those weather conditions. He may have been right, but his previous accident is very likely to have influenced this decision as well. During the race the weather conditions improved quickly and despite a late pit stop, Hunt finished third resulting in his becoming world champion, with 1 point ahead of Niki.
In 1977, Niki became world champion for the second time driving a Ferrari (thanks to only 3 victories), but at the Canada Grand Prix he suddenly terminated his collaboration with Ferrari. In ’78/’79, he drove for Brabham and then announced the end of his F1 career.
However, in 1982 he returned, for financial reasons he said, (in the intervening year he had started his own airplane company Lauda Air, which was heavy financial burden to him). He entered a contract (the agreement cost him a lot of money, but involved only 4 races) with Ron Dennis of McLaren. His teammate was John Watson.
In 1984, Niki became the world champion for the third time, this time with the McLaren TAG Turbo, with 1/2 point (the Monaco GP was cancelled due to which the points had been halved) ahead of his former teammate Alain Prost.
A short overview of Niki’s record in F1:
- Races: 171
- Victories: 26
- Pole positions: 24
- Podiums: 54
- Fastest racing laps: 25
- Number of laps having the lead: 1620
- World champion: 1975 and 1977 (Ferrari), 1984 (McLaren)
‘This year (1974) I wasn’t ready to become world champion. If I have a good season next year, I shall know the reason for it all: to make me tough and ready for great things’
Lauda
‘What struck me was how “clever” his best performances were. He often kept himself back, in practice, and awaited the right moment, and then really went flat out. He always thought more deeply than the others, and he also gave himself endless trouble preparing the race’
Fritz Indra, Ferrari mechanic
‘My PR value alone is worth that much. You’ll be paying only one dollar for my driving ability, all the rest is for my personality’
Lauda, during the negotiations with McLaren and Marlboro to return in F1
Niki Lauda has always been a loyal wearer of Rolex watches.

Niki-Lauda:Big Red Panda Daytona

Pic.: Niki with his Rolex Daytona ‘Big Red Panda’

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Pic.: Niki with his ‘Pepsi’ Rolex GMT-Master

Jaap Bakker

August 12th

13:15
Ferrari

Models

Persons

Magnum P.I.: ex-Navy Seal with a Rolex and a Ferrari
by admin

Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV (played by actor Tom Selleck) was the main character in the popular TV serial Magnum, P.I. in the eighties.
He was born between 1944 and 1947, most likely on the 8th of August 1944. His parents were Katherine and Thomas Sullivan Magnum III and both his father and grandfather were naval officers. He was born in Detroit, but raised near Tidewater, Virginia.

Magnumtomselleck:308

Magnum was in the US Navy forces for over ten years, serving in Navy Seals as well as Naval Intelligence. He fought in the Vietnam war and was made a prisoner of war. In 1979, a disillusioned man, he left the Navy, but in the final Magnum P.I. episode he decided to re-enter active naval service as Commander (O-5). He may have served in the Golf War and retired in the rank of Captain (O-6) in the late nineties after a 30-year service period.
After he left the Navy, Magnum ended up in Hawaii where he hung around as a private detective, broke, being uncertain about getting paid jobs. Nevertheless, he was able to have a comfortable life which he owed to the well-known actor Robin Masters who put him up in the guest rooms of his country estate ‘Robin’s Nest’. Moreover, Magnum was allowed to make unlimited use of his Ferrari 308 GTS, as long as he could safeguard the security on the estate.

magnumpi:robin 1

The clothing Magnum liked most consisted of khaki short or jeans (Navy-issue trunks or Levis), an Aloha shirt and Sperry boat shoes or Puma Easy Rider sneakers, usually without socks. He often wore timeworn baseball caps of his favourite team, the Detroit Tigers.
Magnum led the life any man dreams of: a Rolex round his wrist, a Ferrari at his disposal, working when you feel like it, a never empty fridge filled with beer, beautiful women and adventures with friends.
During the first season of the serial it became clear that Magnum was a fan of the Styx, Jefferson Starship and Blondie bands. But he reluctantly admitted having recordings of Bach and Beethoven as well, particularly to impress his pal Higgins.

Tom-Selleck-as-Magnum-PI-Rolex-GMT-Master

mpi:308:tekst

Magnum’s favourite drink used to be Old Düsseldorf beer in long-necked bottles, but it did not bother him at all to pinch a bottle of wine from Robin Masters’s wine cellar; but only when he was absolutely sure that Higgings was not around.
He was characterized by a collection of personal stuff, souvenirs collected over the years such as baseball bats and caps, a gorilla mask and a rubber chicken. He also had a VHS tape of ‘Stalag 17′, his favourite movie.
His personal weapon, which he bore with some regret, was a Colt Government Model .45 ACP hand weapon, Colt’s commercial version of the standard military issue M1911A1 (In the serial Tom Selleck did not use a .45, because he could not rely on it when firing dummies. It was substituted by a 9 mm dummy Parabellum, a weapon that strongly resembles the 45).
One wall in Robin’s Nest guest rooms was decorated with a real Gauguin and Magnum frequently negotiated with Higgins about using expensive cameras and the tennis courts on the estate. And to crown it all, Magnum was allowed to drive Robin Masters’ Ferrari 308 GTS unlimitedly.

Magnum PI 1982 Ferrari interior

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magnumpi:308:wallet

Pic.: the camera used by Magnum in the Ferrari and the contents of his wallet

In the serial three different Ferrari types were used:
- Season 1: 308 GTS
- Season 2-6: 308 GTSi
- Season 7-8: 308 GTSi QV
Below an overview of the technical specifications of the various 308 types:
1978 308 GTS
Year(s) Horsepower
1977-1980 240 HP
Weight Torque
3,160 lbs. 181 lbs. @ 5000 RPM
Top Speed 0-60
151 MPH 7.0 seconds
1980 308 GTSi
Year(s) Horsepower
1980-1982 205 HP
Weight Torque
3,225 lbs. 181 lbs. @ 5000 RPM
Top Speed 0-60
146 MPH 7.3 seconds
1984 308 GTSi QV
Year(s) Horsepower
1982-1985 230 HP
Weight Torque
3,230 lbs. 188 lbs. @ 5000 RPM
Top Speed 0-60
155 MPH 6.1 seconds

His most precious possession was the Rolex ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master that had belonged to his deceased father. Magnum’s father was a Navy pilot who died in the Korean War when Magnum was only five years old.

mpi:gmt pepsi

mpi:gmt:levis

Thanks to Egbert Bakker

Jaap Bakker

August 12th

13:00
Ferrari

Models

Persons

The Rolex Daytona and the Zenith El Primero caliber 400
by admin

DayZe:kal4030(1)

After having trusted on the hand winding Valjoux 72 (and several variations) movement to drive the Daytona, Rolex in 1987 decided to start using a Zenith movement instead of the Valjoux.
The El Primero calibre 400 movement was first put on the market by Zenith in 1969 and, after a period of several years, was back again in 1986. Most important feature of the calibre 400 was that with 36,000 vph it was a rapidly ticking movement (normally movements had 18,000, 21,600 or 28,800 vph). The frequency of 5 Hz made the movement more accurate.

The Zenith calibre 400 was the only chronograph movement with automatic winding that passed all the high Rolex standards for a movement. But that did not mean that Rolex just bought the movements from Zenith and put them in the case.
The following adjustments were made by Rolex before using the movement:

- a new escapement with a much bigger, free moving balance and a balance coil with a Breguet overcoil; a by Rolex preferred and more expensive configuration that leads to higher accuracy
- 36,000 vph was brought back to 28,800 vph; this lowers the need for maintenance
- removing the date function from the movement

In total about 80% of the movement was modulated by Rolex before it was good enough to drive the Daytona. The Rolex calibre 4030 was born.

DayZe:kal4030

The Daytona with this calibre was the ref 16520. Ref 16520 differed from the former generation Daytona’s in that it had sapphire glass and some esthetic changes. Under influence of the other sports watches from Rolex, for instance the Submariner, the case diameter had grown from 37 to 40 mm. The surface of the dials were now lacquered and shiny versus matte (black) or metallic (silver). The dial had metal hour indexes inlaid with radiant material. The sub dials had a thin scale with an opposite colour and around this a metal rim.

Rolex has produced the ref 16520 from 1987 until 2000. From 2000 onwards the Daytona had a fully inhouse manufactured movement.
During the period 1987-2000 there are six periodes in which small changes were made to the Daytona:

- 1987(late)-1988: ‘floating’ Cosmograph; ‘Cosmograph’ printed in the middle of the dial
- 1989-1990(early): 4 lines; ‘officially certified’ not printed on the dial
-1990(early)-1993(early): ‘inverted’ 6; the number ’6′ on the sub dial at 6 o’clock is inverted and looks like a ’9′

The complete story of the production of the Daytona ref 16520 between 1987 and 2000:

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Pic.: 1988

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Pic.: 1989

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Pic.: 1991

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Pic.: 1992

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Pic.: 1995

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Pic.: 1999

Jaap Bakker

August 8th

13:41
Calibers

Engineering

Models

The Milgauss: a missed opportunity
by admin

Milgauss-Ref.-6541-Full-Steel

Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref 6541

In 1958 Rolex started with the production of the Milgauss. Most important feature of this watch was that it could withstand magnetic radiation. Certain groups of professionals who had to deal with this radiation benefitted from this watch that kept it’s accuracy.

Most important facts of the ref 6541 were:

- case diameter: 38 mm
- caliber 1066M
- bracelet: Oyster ref 6636
- material: stainless steel
- crown: Oyster twinlock ref 21
- hands: Dauphine
- at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock steel triangles with facet
- seconds hand: lightning bolt
- anti-magnetic: up to 1000 Gauss

Ref 6541 was also produced with a black, rotating bezel divided in 60 units.

From the 1960s until the 1980s Rolex produced the Milgauss ref 1019, the successor of the ref 6541.

Milgauss:1019

Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref. 1019

The most important features of the ref 1019 were:

- case diameter: 37 mm

-       kaliber 1580 (rhodium-plated, 26 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions and temperature, shock absorber, white metal Breguet balance spring, Microstella regulating screws)

-       bracelet: Oyster

-       material: stainless steel

-       soft iron gilt metal anti-magnetic protecting cap forming a Faraday cage

-       dial: black over soft iron dial with luminous steel baton indexes, outer minute/seconds divisions, ‘milgauss’ in red

Rolex also made a special version of the ref 1019 for the CERN in Geneva. This watch had a Rolex USA jubilee bracelet and engraved in the inner site of the caseback was III.67, meaning that it was made in the third quarter of 1967.

Milgauss:1019:CERN

Pic.: Rolex Milgauss CERN ref. 1019

The initial tragedy of this Rolex model with all it’s interesting specifications was that it turned out to be practically unsellable in the 1960s and 1970s. In the Netherlands in the 70s they were offered for 1600 to 1900 guilders but even with this reduction in price they still kept collecting dust in the safes of the dealers.

In 2013 the Milgauss turns out to be in a totally different ballpark! Because they were so hard to sell the Milgauss now is a very rare watch and everybody understands what this does to the price. In a recent search I found one for $ 29.000 and in Holland expect to pay at least 20.000 Euros for a Milgauss.

There is a whole bunch of people now that lie awake at night wondering why they didn’t buy a couple of Milgauss’s in the good old days:
a missed opportunity!

With thanks to Wilfred Muhring, Shop Director Schaap en Citroen Utrecht

Jaap Bakker

August 8th

11:28
Models