Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Small collection of Rolex gilt dials

Vintage watch collection is always a challenge. Besides financial resources, luck and time are needed in collecting vintage watches especially those hard to find watches..after more then a quarter century of watch collection, I have only managed to find a few of the gilt dial watches as below.. I will still need to look for a gilt 1675..

Rolex 5513' 6202' 1016
Rolex 6610
Rolex 6694

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rolex 6556 & 6110

Watches from the 1956 & 1957.,

Rolex 6556 Tru Beat - a great way to celebrate my quarter century of vintage watch collecting..

,In my 25 years of watch collecting, I have came across 3-4 Tru beat of which non is having the jumping mechanism. It is very difficult to find one that is in working condition as the model was not popular and I guess Rolex has later on removed the mechanism responsible for the jumping function in most of the 6556.

No one can imagine that these small mechanism can costs as much as HK$40000! There are many watch that needed these mechanism in order to revive the Tru Beat in their Rolex.

I am fortunate to find one in very good condition where the Tru beat still jump to the beat and behave like a modern day quartz watch. In fact, I have seen 2 nice condition Tru Beat that is functioning at a small vintage watch shop near my home. It was a difficult choice as one has a nicer movement (my current one) while the other has a perfect dial. In the end, owing to the price differences, I have chosen the former, which has some aging on dial but with perfect 1040 movement. 
The movement is in a pristine condition since it production day of 1956, one year younger then my 6610.
Even though the 6556 looks like an ordinary Rolex Oyster, I guess only the true watch connoisseur will appreciate its inner beauty.. Goodbye speakers and hello 6556...this watch shall be a gift in celebration of my quarter century of vintage watch collecting..

In summary, the Trubeat is using Calibre 1040, 25 jewels, screw down case back, three-part case, plastic crystal, screw-down case back, Twinlockcrown, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet (ref. 7205), case,Diameter: 35 mm.

 Enjoy! Real blessed!

Different varieties of dials..

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rolex Tru beat

Lesson In Successful Failure

During the 1950’s, two of the most esoteric models rolex ever produced were introduced. The “Tru-beat” (model 6556) and the “Milgauss” (model 6541, 1019). The “True-beat” was a standard chronometer grade non-date Oyster Perpetual, but it had a dead beat sweep seconds hand that would make the second hand stop at each seconds mark before jumping to the next one. According to the “Milgauss”, it was made in response to people working in areas of high electro-magnetic radiation, such as research labs or power stations, in which the effects of radiation would make the watches unreliable because of magnetizing the balance work of a watch.
However, the sales for these watches were bad as nobody wanted these over-engineering watch. For example,  the Milgauss, geared towards those that worked in and around strong electro-magnetic fields.  Thebgreat irony is that these Rolex's failure five decades ago has translated into its success today.  The Milgauss was so unpopular, and so few were sold and these are now considered extremely valuable and collectors are going after these resulting in the escalation of prices.

Another example of Rolex's misguided product development and marketing coming full circle is a watch geared towards doctors and medical professionals, the Rolex Tru-Beat.  The only difference between the Tru-Beat and the standard Rolex Oyster is that the movement has been modified to make the second hand tick once per second instead of sweeping smoothly.  The point of this modification was so that an accurate pulse rate could be kept. 

The Rolex Tru-Beat 6556 represents an exclusive model of the Rolex range, both for its specific characteristics and its function. From the outer Aesthetically view, it looks similar to an Oyster Perpetual, this model is distinguished by its dead seconds complication of the 1040 calibre movement (based on the 1030 calibre): this function makes the seconds hand move forward in small jumps instead of sweeping, allowing a better visualisation of the seconds.

The Tru-Beat reference 6556 was produced in steel and 18kt gold (yellow and rose) with a standard or Metroplitan dial with Dauphine hands. Only some models have a red seconds hand.

The Tru-Beat appeared on the market for the first time in 1954 and went out of production in 1959, without being replaced. The problems with the fragile 1040 calibre were sometimes resolved by removing the dead seconds function and bringing it in line with the classic 1030 calibre.
Since the model was produced in a limited number of pieces and its unique jumping seconds, characteristics it has become a collector item now..

Prices of the Tru beat varied according to whether the Tru beat still jumps. Very often, these mechanism that enable the Trubeat to jump were being removed when being serviced by Rolex. Prices dropped as much as 60A% when the Tru beat no loner jumps.

This is how the mechanism look like:

To prepare for the coming of the Tru Beat, I have sold off my precious 25 gold Classic Cds which I have spent 6 years in collecting. In addition, I have also sold off my new Italian Sonus Faber Cremona speakers. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rolex Explorer1 ref 6610

As metioned earlier, i was actively hunting for a gilt dial 6610. I have finally found a nice condition Rolex 6610 gilt dial Explorer 1 from 1957. I will needn to by usenmy Rolex Thunderbird 1625 + WW2 Pilot Laco watch plus cash to trade. I have come across several Explorer 1 in 5504 version and 1016 version but I have made mistakes by cutting them to friends. 

The Ref. 6150 was replaced by Ref. 6610. The 6610 was equipped with the new Calibre 1030 movement and the original Bubble Back back case was also changed to be flat. The Rolex 6610 , with gilt dial, were only being produced for five years and was replaced by the Explorer Ref. 1016 in 1963. The size of these early watch is very comfortable to wear for everyday use..with the right weight and balance.

The deciding process for this 6610 was not easy as the were two 6610 watches ( yes two) to choose from. The one that I bought and another one with dial that is turning chocolate and with spring bracelet. Originally, my desire  was to go for the one with the spring bracelet with dial condition turning brown (and showing signs of flaking) plus there was some corrosion at the back case.

After deep consideration, I reminded myself that the fever for chocolate dial or the tropical dial is something of a man made fever. My rational mind keeps reminding me to take the watch in better condition, better dial and better case.

Perhaps these decision making process are part of the fun as it really test one's preference and core values in vintage watch collection.

There are many sellers who came up with fanciful name in their efforts to better promote the watches. Faded gilt dial is called tropical, Pepsi or chocolate dial. Normal White Sea dweller, some called it the great white), the cracked 5513 dial is known as the spider dial, the colored dial for day date is now the Stella... Etc. all these fanciful names were not used in the 80s-90s and early year 2000.

In the end, the choice is up to the individual of course. However, if one wants to buy a Ming dynastic antique vase, will he choose one that is in perfect condition or one that has been wormed out by weather and in less then ideal condition? In the past for vintage watch collection, the earlier collectors were going after watches in perfect conditions despite the age.... Food for thought...Haha


Even though I need to sacrifice a few watches to exchange for this 6610, I have no problem with it as my collection is getting huge and its a good time to streamline my collection by down sizing them for easy management. Looks like I am going to start my operation streamlining soon...

For the “Red Depths” 6610:

Serial 114XXX….i56

Serial 1139XX…i56

Serial 114XXX…..i56

Serial 168xxx ii56

Serial 1142XX…i56

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I remembered inding myna prince in 1988. After more then 20 years, I am glad that my ollect ion has grown...

Vintage watch wish list

I used to own a Rolex Explorer 1 gilt dial but I have to return to the shop as the bezel was not original. I have been eyeing on a Rolex Explorer 1 gilt dial for some time ...Hopefully, I can find one in good condition soon.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

China watches

The Shanghai A581 watches are one of the collectable Chinese watches as the previous premier Zhou En Lai was wearing them during the 1950s and this was one of the first few China made watches..

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Gruen jump hours again and again

I was torn between getting this Gruen jump hour or another Rolex 1016 gilt dial. After much consideration, my decision when to the Grien jump hour as the price is very right and the Gruen Jump hour is much rarer then the rare 1016 gilt dial.

Even though this is my second Gruen jump hour, technically speaking, the two are different as the former is Gruen while the latter is Alpina Gruen. Moreover, one is stepped case and the other one is straight with slight stepped case plus one is steel and another is silver.  Next target is a gold Rolex Prince Jump hour. One day, the prince jump hour shall jump out and unite with the rest of the Princes.

Vintage Glashutte diver

This is the vintage Glashutte diver made in Germany. Case: chrome plated; diameter excl. crown approx 38mm; lug to lug approx. 46mm; lug wid...