In the first decade after the turn of the twentieth century when someone referred to a ladies watch they most often meant one object - a larger, timing instrument kept in the pocket. That changed in part because of Hans Wilsdorf, a true legend in timekeeping history, who founded Rolex Watch Co. in 1908.
Today's offering showcases this extremely rare Rolex "trench style" ladies watch was case stamped 1912, only a handful of years after the founding of Rolex.
When the first World War erupted, demand rose sharply for these novel wristwatches as Allied servicemen needed a more suitable way to access their vital timepieces. But this ladies wristwatch was made even before that.
This particular piece is one of the earliest known outwardly signed Rolex watches. It was made while the Titanic was still sailing.
Born before the days of constant brand focused marketing, very early Rolex wristwatches were often not signed Rolex on the dial. Only the movement and the case were signed. Hans Wilsdorf was a watch branding pioneer and realized that the name Rolex would never become famous only stamped on the movement; he became one of the first watch manufacturers to insist the brand name also was on the dial.
"Tired of waiting, in 1925, I decided to launch the "Rolex" trade mark by means of an intensive advertising campaign. The policy entailed annual expenditure of more than £12,000 - not for one year alone, but for several in succession. One of the results thus obtained was that dealers agreed first that four, and later five, out of every six watches should bear the name of "Rolex". At last, in 1927, the waterproof "Rolex-Oyster" was launched and we were then in a position to announce definitely that in future not one of our watches would ever again leave our works without our name on the dial, inside the case and on the movement." (Excerpt from his book Rolex Jubilee Vade Mecum )
Though this was made before the Great War and for women, it is done in the style of what came to be known as a Trench Watch because they enabled an officer to coordinate his men's activities with precision with just a glance at his wrist. With its circular case, easy to read dial with large numerals, and small "onion" winding crown, it clearly showcases its resemblance to a pocket watch.
The centerpiece of this watch is its beautiul enameled bezel done in a shade of blue that has a slight purple hue to it. It makes a lovely contrast to the sterling silver case and mostly monochromatic dial. The dial has wonderful circular guilloche texturing.
We believe these more than a century old Rolex are underappreciated: At a time when Rolex values are climbing this watch, an exceedingly rare watch like this one which is one of the earliest known signed Rolex watches, is selling for less than a ubiquitous placing 70's Rolex Oysterdate watch.
Its very early sterling silver case is stamped with Wilsdorf and Davis stamp, the founders of Rolex. It is in excellent condition with some rippling to the case back that's not visible while it's being worn. The original enamel is still fully intact.
Its dial presents very cleanly. Its original, signed Rolex Rebberg movement is running.
One of our Master Watchmakers, who used to be the watchmaker for an authorized Rolex dealer and was given special training by Rolex at their Beverly Hills Service Center to be an authorized Rolex watchmaker, has fully serviced the watch which consists of fully disassembling the movement, carefully inspecting each part, replacing any overly worn components with genuine Rolex parts, installing a new correct mainspring, polishing the internal pivots, reassembling and lubricating the movement, and extensive timing testing and regulation (a $795 value).
We have timed the watch on a machine that spins it all directions simulating it being worn. While it is quite good time for a movement of its age and size, please do not expect timekeeping comparable to a modern watch.
For the finishing touch, it comes equipped with a Swiss leather strap making it ready for immediate enjoyment.
Included with the purchase is a one-year international warranty on the movement and its function and a custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity.
Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a very rare and historical interesting Rolex.
Country of origin: Switzerland
Year built: Cased in 1912
Case no.: 491884
Functions: Hours, Minutes
Designed for: Ladies
Case material: Sterling silver and enamel
Case markings (inside): W&D (for Wilsdorf and Davis, the two founders of Rolex), Depose (patented), 491884, and precious metal hallmarks from 1912
Case condition: Excellent condition with some rippling to the case back that's not visible while it's being worn. The original enamel is still fully intact.
Dimensions: 26mm diameter (excluding crown), 39mm long lug tip-to-tip
Dial: Signed Rolex, circular guilloche, black painted Art Deco Roman numerals, outer railroad minute track, presents in very pleasing condition
Hands: Blued steel
Movement type: Fine Swiss quality, Rolex Rebberg, signed Rolex, decorated with pearling, 15 jewels, index regulator
Movement markings: Rolex, Swiss Made
Jewels: 15 rubies
Band: Swiss made, leather, the top looks hardly worn although the underside has cracking from age, very serviceable condition
Crystal: Mineral glass, excellent condition.
Serviced: One of our Master Watchmakers, who used to be the watchmaker for an authorized Rolex dealer and was given special training by Rolex at their Beverly Hills Service Center to be an authorized Rolex watchmaker, has fully serviced the watch which consists of fully disassembling the movement, carefully inspecting each part, replacing any overly worn components with genuine Rolex parts, installing a new correct mainspring, polishing the internal pivots, reassembling and lubricating the movement, and extensive timing testing and regulation (a $795 value).
Timing: Timed on a state-of-the-art computerized system. Also timed on a machine that spins the watch in all directions simulating it being worn. While it is quite good time for a movement of its age and size, please do not expect timekeeping comparable to a modern watch. Your watch is important to us, and we will take care of it for its lifetime. We provide the best after sale care in the business with an extremely experienced team of four Master Watchmakers all of whom each have over thirty-five years of experience and a large number of parts.
Warranty: 1-year international warranty. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Box/Papers: BOX - Connoisseur of Time watch presentation box; PAPERS - Custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity
Returns: 7 days full refund. 100% satisfaction guarantee
We offer a 100%
satisfaction guarantee for all of our watches. If you are in any way
unsatisfied with the watch we will fully refund the purchase price anytime
within 7 days after the watch has been received. Our goal is to exceed our
client's expectations throughout the buying experience.
All watches are packaged carefully and mailed double boxed in specially
constructed, reinforced shipping boxes designed for high value items. All
watches are sent fully insured with signature required. Most of our domestic
shipping is done through FedEx. At times we will also use USPS Express Mail,
and we can accommodate most requests for your preferred carrier.
International shipments are sent USPS International Express Mail or FedEx.
The purchase price will be the declared value of the merchandise on any
required customs forms. The payment of all customs duties, tariffs, and
taxes are the responsibility of the buyer.
Also note that water resistance of vintage watches can no longer be
guaranteed and is not covered under the watch's warranty. We do not
recommend getting a vintage watch wet, even one that was originally designed
to be waterproof.