Just back to Singapore for a short Easter holiday and took out these 1930s watches.
The Rolex Prince
The Rolex Prince was introduced in 1928 as a watch for men who were looking for something distinct to wear. It was indeed a distinct watch for its trendy rectangular case and its dual dial. The dual dial was in the form of separate dials, one on the top and the other on the bottom. The top dial featured the hours and the minutes while the one on the bottom was for the seconds. Powered by the calibre 1036 movement, this model was compared to the Cartier's Tank watch because of its rectangular shaped case.
Rolex Prince Available Today
The Cellini line (dressy wristwatches) of Rolex watches are available in Prince models for men alongside many other unique models designed for ladies. The currently available Rolex Prince gives you the choice of 18k yellow gold, white gold, or everose gold, enabling you to choose the one that fits your style. Although the Prince is exclusively a men's wristwatch, it offers the options of decorated dials as well as Rayon flamme de la gloire dial with Arabic numerals, clou de paris dial with Roman/Arabic dials, silver godron dial with Roman numerals, and many more. Featuring a small second hand at the 6 o'clock position and hand-wound movement, it offers leather straps in black, brown, and many other colors. A gold folding clasp is a common feature of all leather straps.
The Cellini Prince features the standard rectangular case. Its most unique feature is the movement that can be viewed through its transparent case back.
Different Styles Available in Vintage Rolex Prince
For all vintage watch collectors, the early Prince models that were available during the 1930s and 1940s are nothing less than treasures. There were five different styles of the vintage Rolex Prince. Each style was unique in some way or the other. Here is a brief summary of each of those models:
The Classic Rolex Prince (Model 1343): It was one of the original styles that marked the introduction of the Rolex Prince. It featured the standard rectangular case along with the dual dial. It was available in 9k and 18k gold as well as in sterling silver.
The Brancard Rolex Prince: It was also introduced at the same time as that of the Classic model, but featured a more gorgeous design. It was made available in a two-tone 18k gold configuration as well as gold and sterling silver. However, by the 1930s, the Brancard line was extended to include two more models 971U and 971A. The added feature of these two models was the faceted end pieces. While the model 971U was made available in gold and sterling silver, the model 971A was introduced in two-tone 18k gold stripes all over the top of the case. This made it popularly known as the “tiger stripe.” In the early 1930s, Rolex made even more additions to the Brancard line. For instance, in 1934 it rolled out a steel-only version of the Brancard. It had even offered a solid platinum option in this line, which today is considered one of the most expensive Rolex wristwatches.
The Railway Prince: The model 1527, popularly known as the Rolex Railway Prince, was introduced in 1935. It had been so named for its stepped sides that looked just like a locomotive.
The “Quarter Century Club" Prince: It was a special line of Prince, customized for one of the leading Canadian department store chains known as the Eaton company. The watch was engraved with “¼ Century Club" along the perimeter of its top dial. This made it a unique and great collectible vintage watch. The reason behind its interesting name is that this watch had been given as a memento to the employees of the Eaton company who had served Eaton for 25 years. It was indeed a great way to acknowledge the association of people with the company. The case back of every watch had the name and years of service of the individual engraved on it.
The Sporting Prince: It is one of the rarest models of Rolex pocket watch. It was largely used during athletic events--particularly golf. Its unique feature was its hunting case, which once opened, would bring into action a spring loaded mechanism that protected the movement from outside disturbances during the sporting events. Later, the same model was even created as a wristwatch. Since, these models had been produced in very limited numbers, they are really sought after by the rare vintage watch collectors.
The Rolex Prince Heures Sautantes: In 1935, Rolex introduced the H.S. (Heures Sautantes) movement which means jumping hours. All Rolex Prince models that were introduced with this feature had a tiny aperture at the 12 o'clock position in place of the hour hand. The aperture had a miniature wheel to display hours from 1 to 12. Its working was quite simple. When the minute hand passed the 60-minute mark, the wheel would turn with the hour mark jumping into the next hour display. Although this arrangement never became popular amongst the masses, it later led to the introduction of the Datejust aperture in 1945, which became a big success. Rolex also later came out with additional versions that featured sweep seconds.
As my vintage hifi collection shrinks, my vintage watch collections, thankfully, continues to grow.
The latest acquisition is the solid gold bubbleback with the nice engine turned bezel. The bubbleback was the most collectables watches during the 80-90s where smaller watches are still in demand. The trend for small watches are coming back...
Some of my friends has asked what's my reason of collecting vintage watches. The answers is probably because I like to see these watches reuniting with each others after so many decades. In addition, it takes relatively small space to keep.
Of course, the challenge now is that after so many years, some of the watch condition may be so bad that they become spare parts. The challenge is of course to find those in as pristine condition as possible..
Being a history student, I have a deep interest in military subject. I have tried to start a military watch collection in the past but has never really got deep into it for various reason.
Lately, besides my vintage Longines pilot watch made for the Czechoslovakian air force, the Breguet Type xx made for the French pilot, I have added a JLC military watch. My recent find from Ukraine is the huge 55mm Laco military pilot watch made for the German pilot during world war 2. It comes with the original leather band! It seems like I can start the military series now..
There were five manufacturers: A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, Laco, Stowa, and Wempe. One down, four to go...
Military watches that have gone through world war reminding us not to have wars.
Vintage watch hunting is a very exciting hobby where one needs to have some patience to hunt for the best!
This is another cloisonné dial with map of the Middle east by Omega. This watch was bought from Saudi Arabia. My interest in the Middle East started after my first sight seeing visit to Egypt many years ago where I found my first cloisonné watch.
This is an extremely rare Polychrome Cloisonné Enamel Dail special creation by Omega in the 1960s for Aramco the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia. The center area of the dial depicts the Saudi Arabian map in polychrome cloisonné enamel (green, yellow, blue, white) with the Saudi crest at the 6 o'clock position and an oil well near the 2 o'clock position over the location of Dhahran on the Saudi map. Dhahran is the residential community built by Saudi Aramco for its employees The cloisonné enamel dials represent one of the highest forms of art offered on an Omega (or any other) watch. The cloisonné (which literally means "partition" or "cell" in French) process begins with thin metal strips called "cloisons" being bent into shapes for and soldered onto the base to form the cells to be filled in with enamel. The piece is heated in an oven and cooled in order to permanently affix the cloisons to the base. Next, ground, colored glass, or "frit", is blended with water and painted into the sections marked off by the cloisons. It is allowed to dry before the entire piece is again fired in an oven. Multiple applications of frit and firings are often necessary to complete a single cloisonné work. Different colors or transparencies of frit may be layered on top of each other to create a desired look. Cloisonné is then finished by polishing the piece smooth.
I have just returned from Baselworld 2011. Despite the busy schedules, I have managed to find two new old stocks vintage jump hour with special decoration from Zurich inichen. These watches were popular in the 1930s where the watch makers then tried to be innovative and produce a "digital" numbered watch. The front of the case has three apertures for the hour, minute and seconds to be shown. This style of watch is also known as an early digital watch. What made these interesting and unique are the special colours decoration as most jump hour are in all steel, gold or silver with no colour decoration.
This is one of the most beautiful modern interpretation of time! It's a limited edition nos 39 out of a limited total production of 250 gold watch using the Maurice Lacroix own manufactured in house movement! Just look at the workmanship and you can see this beautifully crafted double retrograde watch with GMT function.