Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rolex Bubbleback 5050

One of the more unique and historical significance Rolex watches is the Rolex Bubbleback, whose name comes from its protruding rounded case back, which bulges in order to accommodate the thick movement and rotor that turns on a pivot, powering the winding of the mainspring. 

The first Bubbleback, in automatic, made its appearance in 1933, and the watches were produced for only about twenty years. The Bubbleback helped establish Rolex as a brand known for its reliability, and these watches certainly are reliable—as evidenced by the relatively high number still functioning today.

Most of the early Bubblebacks displayed time only. The original model featured subsidiary seconds, which later changed to sweeping seconds. Later models also in the 50-60s also included the date, becoming the first DateJust models produced by Rolex. In 1935, Rolex developed the “Super Balance,” a streamlined balance wheel that improved the functioning of the Auto-Rotor. Rolex then began producing the watch in three different sizes to make it more appealing to individuals of both genders. In 1941, Rolex launched a Bubbleback model intended specifically for ladies.

Most popular versions of the Bubbleback are steelium stainless steel,  Rolesor (half gold, half steel) and gold (9k, 14k, 18k pink or yellow gold). The terms Steelium and Rolesor are unique creations of Rolex, who patented them in 1931 and 1933 respectively. 

Case style variations include engine-turned and smooth bezels as well as some with hooded lugs made for the U.S. Markets. More variation can be seen in the dial designs, which differ between black, pink or white dials, two-tone dials, 24-hour military-style dials and an atypical California dial with mixed Roman & Arabic numerals.

The Rolex Bubbleback is a very iconic watch and a coveted collector’s piece. This is a simple stainless steel bubbleback ref 5050 in very good condition from 1949. The 5050 is the larger version of the bubbleback with a diameter of 34mm versus the standard 32mm. 

When playing with this bubbleback, one needs to be careful with the condition of the movements as there is no more spare parts available and the only way to fix a non working one is to salvage parts from other working Bubblebacks.

First weekend in Bangkok

This is my first weekend in Bangkok. Just took out some of my watches for winding.. At the same time, it has given me time to reflect on the direction of my collection. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Benrus type 2

Even though I am in Bangkok now, I am very close in getting a vintage Benrus Type 2

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rolex submariner 16800

Rolex Submariner history from the net

6204         First Submariner                          9 3/4'" A.260             1953 - 1954
6205         First Submariner                          9 3/4"' A.260             1954 - 1955
6200          Mercedes Hands - Coroncione  10 1/2"' A.296            1954
6538         Big Crown                                    1030                          1954 - 1959
6538A       Military Submariner                     1030                          1954 - 1959
6536         Small Crown                                1030                          1955 - 1959
6536/1      Chronometer                               1030                          1955 - 1959
5508         Small Crown                                1530                          1957 - 1961
5510         Small Crown                                1530                          1958
5512         Chronometer- The Cornini          1530-1560-1570        1959 - 1978
5513         First Crown Guard                       1520-1530                 1962 - 1989
5514         Comex Submariner                     1520                           1969 - 1977
1680/8       First DATE in Yellow Gold          1575                           1969 - 1978
1680         First Submariner Date                 1575                          1969 - 1979
5517         Military Submariner                      1520                           1977
16808        DATE  Sapphire crystal Gold      3035                          1979 - 1987
16800        DATE  Transitional model            3035                         1979 - 1988
16803        DATE  Sapphire crystal SS/YG    3035                         1983 - 1988
16610        DATE  Superluminova Dial           3135                         1986** - 2008
16613        DATE  Superlum. Dial SS/YG      3135                         1986** - 2008
16618        DATE  Superlum. Dial Gold          3135                          1986** 2009
14060        First with Sapphire crystal            3000                          1988*- 2001
14060M     Updated Automatic Movement      3130                        2001 - Today

The Rolex 16800 shall be my final purchase for the year. Given the growing number of watches, using my secondment to Bankok trip as an occasion, I have started to streamline my watch collection again by letting go watches that does not fit into my watch portfolio. Initially, I have wanted to start a IWC range and JLC alarm range of watches. However, owing to the difficulties to manage so many watches while on the move, I have decided to go against it and since then I have let go the hand winding cal 89 and two automatic IWc keeping only one round automatic as well as letting go the JLC alarm.

In addition, I have also let go the interesting one button chronograph and some other stand alone watch.

A bit of history. The reference 16800 was introduced in 1977-78. The 16800 introduced caliber 3135 which introduced the quick-set date and a sapphire crystal and it was now rated from 660 feet to 1000 feet. Sometime around 1985 or 86, white gold surrounds were added to the luminous hour markers. Toward the end of the production run of the 16800s, for only about nine months, Rolex produced a reference 168000 in which the quality of the stainless steel was upgraded from grade 316 to grade 904.

Timothy Dalton wore a Rolex Submariner 16800  in his second, and last, turn as James Bond in Licence to KillThe watch can be spotted again at the climactic ending, as Dalton climbs about an airborne single-engine plane.

I have never thought of keeping the 16800 before until I found the early Matt dial. The Ref 16800 is what is commonly referred to as a transitional Submariner because it was the first Rolex sport model to have a Sapphire crystal along with the introduction of high beat movement. The watch is interesting as even with all the added new features, it has retained the original matte dial, which looks like the 1680. Later 16800's were less transitional and interesting as the matte dial were replaced with a glossy finish and hour markers surrounded with white gold. 

Since, I am an antique lover, my preference will be the very early 16800's (79-83) with matte dial and tritium hands. Another reason why I have decided to keep the 16800 was because this was the last Submriner wore by James Bond....

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rolex 6694 with special Gold Tapestry Dial

I am not a great fan of 6694....until I saw this
Special dial with solid gold bezel

A comparison between the automatic versus the hand winding 6694

Found a similar one sold at the web:

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Seiko automatic Moonphase

I have just arrived Bangkok this morning. After visiting the four faced Buddha, I have decided to visit the Chatuchak market. The Chatuchak only operates over the weekend and there are thousands of stalls and stores to visit.

With my LOA, I have managed to find two very nice Seiko automatic Moonphase at very reasonable prices as below.

Even though these Seiko are relatively cheap, there are not easy to find as these were made in the Mid 1980s for the Pakistan market. I have seen some in very used condition but these two are in very good condition.

As you can see from the photos below, there are a few variations in the case design and dials making the watches unique.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Hunt for Benrus Type 2

With the finding of the Benrus Type 1, I have started to look for a nice condition Type 2 A first.  In order to make soae for the new toys, I have started to sell away my spare watches and watches that cannot fit into opmy collection at the moment. Owing to the need to bove to Bkk for my new assignment, I will have to let go some watches as I cannot carry so many watches with me when my apartment in Bangkok is still uncertain.

Wish me luck !