Rolexness reviews


Friday, March 2, 2012

A look at the iconic 6538 "Big Crown" circa 1956

The Submariner 6538 is by far one of the most desirable vintage Rolex to own. It was made iconic by James Bond in his early movies.

My color change dial 6538 is a little more special being of an early serial number of 158xxx placing it around 1956. Just one other earlier series of 145xxx came first. All 6538 are fitted with the 1030 caliber, some sent to be certified chronometers and others were not.

Case back 3-56 and serial and referance numbers. Notice the bracelet clasp date code 3-56 as well.

Both 145xxx and 15xxxx had the first generation dial, noted by the flat coronet bottom.

I have noticed with original dials and hands on these early 6538, that a color change occurred not by water damage, but by degeneration of radium commonly found on original examples of that era. It gave the dial and hands a unique distress look to parts.

The original bezel insert from my research are of the true red triangle with rounded number font versions. The fat font insert on the left is the early "kissing 40 font". Very rare to find and were the next inserts on ealry Subs after the red triangle version.

The original bezels themselves are of the brass with silver nickel metal plating. The bezel on the left is the origianl version, and the ones the right are the later version

The full set box and papers

Below we can see the 6538 with the rare "kissing 40 insert"

If you want to read about and see more pictures regarding the James Bond and Rolex connection check out Jake's Rolex World..Very neat info.. Just see the link below.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Probably the rarest rail dial sapphire crystal Explorer II version..

I have been collecting and researching the 16550 Explorer II for quite a while.
About five or six years ago an interesting Explorer II surfaced.
I never really considered the 16570 model as a key must have collectable until I came across one with a rail dial with black markers.

To put it in perspective the 16550 silver marker rail dial was the standard key Explorer II to own during the early 2000.
Then the non rail silver marker 16550 was placed on the map. This 16550 dial variation was produced along side the rail dial, besides not having the two sentence alignment, the layout with no "hyphens" in the phrase was different.

I believe that this non rail sentence alignment variation is rarer because it appears to be produced in lower numbers then the silver marker rail dial 16550, and can be found up until "R" serial.

Finally, the less known and much rarer 16750 rail with black markers surfaced and became evident among collectors during the past few years. So far I have personally seen three of this 16750 dial variation possibly serial range from "R" to "N".

I have concluded that cream dial color comes in different shades on all 16550's with silver markers, and seems to hold true as well on early 16570 dials. So in my opinion from my research the Explorer II cream dial color is not exclusive to the rail 16550 variant
. As seen in the pictures.

The picture below depicts three dial types regarding the Explorer II. The left dial is the more commonly found rail, the dial on the right is the illusive non rail with silver marker variant, and the bottom dial is the ultra rare rail alignment with black markers.

The illusive a 16570 E serial rail dial with black markers. In my opinion the smallest produced Explorer II dial from the 1980's-1990's. If one finds this dial variation, it is quite a coup.

Different cream shades on dials..Some darker and lighter.

In this picture we have a rail and non rail silver marker 16550's.

R serial with box and papers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The rare first version 1655 orange straight hand Explorer II

The rare first version 1655 orange straight hand Explorer II is an interesting watch. A few elements make the first 1655 version a difficult watch to find in correct configuration. Dial, bezel, early case back, and straight second hand make it quit a coup to find an intact early 1655

The first generation dial is unique to the 1970-72 year model.
The coronate or crown on the first version dial print has a different shape to it. One can notice a small opining at the bottom side and is more centered over the letter "L" , but still resembles the frog foot design.

The bezel numbers are with smaller thick fonts on the first 1655 version, and are situated more towards the crystal area rather then being closer to the center of the bezel.

The sweep second hand is also unique to the early 1655 versions. Upon a closer look, one will notice that these hands are not just a white painted Datejust sweep second hand. The 1655 second is square tipped non tapered design with a specific length to it.

The case backs featured on the early 1655 models have a punched and dated numbers on them.

The second version of the 1655 orange luminous dot hand Explorer II from the year 1973-74

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A 1675 with the very rare and sought after all blue and all copper insert.

The insert numbers are a real silver and not faded to a light gold color as most early inserts become. Compare the all blue 1675 GMT insert numbers to the all copper GMT insert.

The early all gold inserts had fat number fonts..Compare the number "8" for example on the all gold faded 1675 with the copper insert.
Now as far as the silver color, the early fonts in the picture are more of a light gold cream from fade. But copper is a real no fade silver and is an entirely a different insert when one looks closer. The serifs are different as well on the two inserts, as one can see for example in the number "4".

The all copper insert has the number fonts in silver not gold..BIG differance..same as the all blue bezel. These 1675 GMT inserts I believe were used in the late 1960's and 1970's on the two tone model 1675 gold bezel and SS cases. But maybe also found on just an all SS 1675 GMT.

The all blue GMT insert from my research was issued on military 1675's at first..

But with surplus the leftover all blue bezels were given to Rolex service centers and made available as an option to service customers in the 1970's till the stock ran out. I was also told by Rolex NYC that the service center watchmaker years ago when I submitted my 1675 for service, that an in-house parts book had the all blue Tudor Sub and Rolex GMT bezel pictured. One interesting note, was that Tudor had an all blue bezel on the 1970 Tudor Sub and Monte Carlo chrono model.


One can also find GMT inserts in purple

Monday, March 22, 2010

The look at unique Milgauss 1019

The Milgauss 1019 Rolex is a very unique watch.
Used by professionals working in highly magnetic atmospheres such as in nuclear industries which yielded a strong magnetic fields. A need came about to have a watch movement be able to handle these extreme conditions. Rolex was up to the challenge and created a iron cage to house and shield the caliber from any magnetic harm.
A simple synopses of this model revels to us that only two dials were ever issued for this reference. A silver and black dial was the only chosen options a buyer had on this model.

The early models had the 1/5 hash markers on the dial, while later dials were changed over to a 1/2 hash markers. This dial is the rail dial version..Very rare to find a 1019 rail dial.

1/2 hash markers

1/2 hash markers

A picture of a rail and non rail 1019 dail.

rail dials

The 1019 featured two types of minute and hour hands. The early 1019 hands featured a gloss polished hour and minute hand built out of an antimagnetic material. The later hands had an aluminum matte textured hour and minute hand. Oddly enough the 1019 straight second hand with a red arrow tip and apparently been used on the early and later 1019 model run.

Three odd items which intrigued me were, the fact that the reference 1019 used a small 5.3 mm rather then the bigger crown. As well as the large tropic # 32 crystal. One of the largest plastic Rolex diameter crystal in the Rolex family. I believe this case design housed the movement top iron plate and resulted in a bigger crystal to cover the extra case size. The last odd fact about the 1019 transpired in the "M" letter being stamped on the caliber plate, only found on the 1019 caliber.

The 1019 rotor bridge had a specific 1580 stamp instead of the ubiquitous 1570 numbers.

One other notion regarding the 1019 dial variations, a rail 1019 dial does exist and is correct. See the comparison of a rail 1665 and 16550 to the 1019 rail dial in the picture below. Same font alignment and layout. No disputing this fact that the 1019 rail dial exists.

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