Today's offering showcases this fine and very rare tremendously early Rolex Oyster with enamel dial, made while the company was building its early Oyster line. Our photos couldn't begin to do it justice.
Presumably built within a couple of years of the very first Oyster in 1926, this is one of the very early Oysters Rolex made. It was made for the prestigious Kenyan retailer Dobbies of Nairobi at a time when it was called British East Nairobi.
Mr. Ewart Dobbie was a pioneering European watchmaker and jeweller of British East Nairobi. Upon his death in 1926, a Scottish friend of his who had been trained in watchmaking and jewellery trade by a distinguished firm in Edinburgh took over his store. For those interested in learning more about Dobbies, his name comes up in several old book: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...page&q="Matthew Ewart Dobbie" nairobi&f=false
While having only the jewelers name on the dial was common prior to around 1926, when the retailers had more power than the watch maker, 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 Vade Mecum Rolex)
Without question one of the company's greatest contributions to horology is in the area of waterproof cases. The Rolex Oyster case birthed the idea of the modern sport watch as we know it and was a key catalyst for the initial widespread acceptance of the wristwatch.
Several events worked to greatly popularize the watch: Sir Malcolm Campbell's land speed record attempt where he achieved a speed of 272 mpg, all done while wearing perfectly functioning Oyster. And, of course, perhaps the most well-known early event in the company's history: Mercedes Gleitz's English Channel
swim wearing an Oyster. Following the historic event, Rolex took out a full-page ad in the Daily Mail introducing the Oyster.
Unlike many watches from this era, it is not a small boys size watch. While not large, it is a mens size that measures approximately 32.5mm without the crown, and the large crown adds another 3mm.
It has all of its original parts including its original Oyster + Patent crown.
Its sterling silver Oyster case with screw down bezel is in excellent condition with fairly mild wear and signs of previous polishing. Its rare and wonderful double signed enamel dial is nearly flawless in original untouched condition. The slight visible marks are on the crystal, not the dial. Please inquire if you would like a new crystal installed.
Powering the watch is its original very high grade Rolex caliber chronometer handwound movement rated Prima. It was adjusted to six positions and for "all climates" temperatures. Photos of the inside available upon request.
One of our watchmakers has just disassembled it down to the last screw and cleaned and oiled the movement. It continues to keep very accurate time. For the finishing touch we have installed a brand new Hirsch diamond calf strap making it ready for immediate enjoyment.
Included with the purchase is a one-year C.O.T. warranty on the movement and its function and a custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity
Country of origin: Switzerland
Year sold: It appears to be 1928
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Subsidiary Seconds
Designed for: Men
Case material: Sterling silver
Case condition: Excellent condition with fairly mild wear and previous signs of polishing. Like virtually all early wire lugs watches, the lugs have been previously reinforced.
Case markings (outside): Personalized T. J. Kenny with date that is no longer readable but appears to be from 1928)
Crown: Original Rolex screw-down Oyster + Patent crown
Dial: Enamel, two-tone, signed Dobbies, LTD, Nairobi with Rolex Oyster the lesser signature at the bottom, black painted Art Deco numerals, railroad minute, sunken subsidiary seconds dial, untouched original condition, nearly flawless with light fading of the jewelers signature
Dimensions: 32.5mm wide (excluding crown - the crown adds another approx. 3mm) by 38mm long lug tip to tip
Hands: Original, blue steel cathedrals
Movement type: Rolex, chronometer, adjusted for six positions and temperatures, manually wound, nickel finished, correctly signed, 16-jewel lever movement with Breguet overcoil hairspring, index regulator, signed Rolex, rated "Prima"
Band: Hirsch diamond calf, remborde, designed for fixed lug use, brand new and unworn.
Width between lugs: 16mm
Crystal type: Acrylic, good condition. The slight visible marks are on the crystal, not the dial. Please inquire if you would like a new crystal installed.
Serviced: One of our watchmakers has just disassembled it down to the last screw and cleaned and oiled the movement making it ready for immediate enjoyment.
Timing: Timed to precision on a state-of-the-art computerized system. 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 experienced team of watchmakers both of whom each have over forty 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 - 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.