Rolex bubbleback (1945)


This is one of the watches that the Rolex brand’s stellar reputation was built upon. The watch embodies two of the developments which Rolex perfected: the waterproof case and the automatic winding mechanism.

The waterproof watch case was a priority for watchmakers ever since the watch moved from being an object carried in the pocket, to an item worn on the wrist. On the wrist the watch is subjected to a far harsher environment than the cosseted pocket watch! Rolex’s solution to this problem was twofold: firstly they use a tightly fitted threaded case back, which solved the problems associated with the snap on backs of pocket watches. Secondly they developed a screw-down winding crown, thus addressing the other area of weakness in traditional case design.

The watch is also an automatic, which means it doesn’t need winding by hand every day, instead the mainspring winds up from the everyday movement of the wearer’s wrist. This was partly for convenience, but mostly because it meant the wearer would not need to unscrew the winding crown, except to occasionally re-set the time and thus prevent undue wear to the waterproof threads and seal.

This model is known as a bubbleback, the automatic winding module was considerably thicker than a conventional hand-winding one and, rather than compromise the appearance of the case, Rolex created space for the movement within the bulbous case back.

The watch is a certified chronometer, which means that the movement was subjected to rigorous testing over a period of several days, across different temperatures and in different positions. Of all the mechanical watches produced in this period, only a tiny percentage were produced to this standard.

The watch has been fully serviced and adjusted, it’s running extremely well and is a testament to the quality of the movement which Rolex produced all those years ago. The case has been cleaned, but as with all out vintage watches we have left it unpolished, the case has the usual marks of wear. The watch has been fitted with a new Hirsch leather strap and comes with our standard 12 month guarantee.

Please see vintage watch care advice here.


Specifications:
Case diameter: 32mm
Case material: stainless steel
Strap width: 17mm
Time keeping: grade A


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