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Thinking of getting a Rolex dive watch but haven’t settled on which model to get yet? Maybe this comparison between the Submariner 116610 and the Sea-Dweller 126600 will help you decide. Read on to discover the similarities and differences between these two ceramic-clad stainless steel Rolex divers. 

Design: Submariner 116610 vs. Sea-Dweller 126600

At first glance, the Submariner 116610 LN and the Sea-Dweller 126600 are quite similar in looks. After all, both of them have 904L stainless steel Oyster cases, black Cerachrom ceramic bezels, black dials with a date window, and stainless steel Oyster bracelets. However, if we take a closer look at these components, the differences begin to reveal themselves. 

Firstly, the Submariner 116610 and the Sea-Dweller 126600 may have similar appearances; however, their cases are actually different sizes. The Submariner’s case has a 40mm diameter, while the Sea-Dweller’s case measures 43mm. Although previous versions of the Sea-Dweller had 40mm cases, the extra 3mm makes for a noticeably larger presence on the wrist and helps accommodate the Sea-Dweller’s helium escape valve, which allows it to be used for saturation diving. Let’s not forget that the Sea-Dweller is water resistant to 1,220 meters (4,000 feet!), which is four times the Sub’s 300-meter depth rating. 

If we turn our attention to the unidirectional bezels on both watches, we’ll see that the Submariner’s Cerachrom bezel insert includes markings for each of the first 15 minutes followed by markings for every 5 minutes. On the other hand, the Sea-Dwellers’ Cerachrom bezel insert has graduations all the way around the bezel for the complete 60 minutes. Both bezels include a luminescent pearl at 12 o’clock. 

Moving to the face of the watches, we see that they have almost identical layouts with lume-filled hour makers framed by white gold, luminous Mercedes-style hands, and a date window at the 3 o’clock location. Additionally, with the introduction of the ref. 126600, Rolex added a Cyclops magnification lens to the crystal of the Sea-Dweller, bringing these two watches even closer together. Both of these Rolex divers have Chromalight as their luminous material, which glows blue in the dark. Of course, the text on the dials differs to reflect each watch’s model name and depth rating, with the Sea-Dweller embracing red text for its name – an homage to the original version of the Sea-Dweller from the 1960s. 

The biggest difference between the tapered Oyster bracelets of the Submariner 116610 and the Sea-Dweller 126600 is the clasp. Both bracelets come equipped with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp and the Glidelock extension system. However, the Sea-Dweller is further equipped with the Fliplock extension link so that the bracelet can extend by an additional 26mm to fit over a thicker wetsuit. 

Movement, Production, and Price: Submariner 116610 vs. Sea-Dweller 126600

The Submariner 116610 runs on Rolex’s Caliber 3135 movement, which has a power reserve of about 42 hours. On the other hand, the Sea-Dweller 126600 is powered by the Caliber 3235, which offers users a 70-hour power reserve.  Interestingly, if you flip the watches around to look at the fluted casebacks that protect the movements, you’ll notice that the Sea-Dweller features an inscription (ROLEX OYSTER SEA-DWELLER. ORIGINAL GAS ESCAPE VALVE) on the steel surface – not a common sight on Rolex watches. Conversely, the Submariner, like most Rolex watches) has an unmarked caseback. 

The Submariner 116610LN made its debut at Baselworld 2010 and continues to be a part of Rolex’s current catalog today. Rolex launched the Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 in 2017 as an update to the 40mm version of the Sea-Dweller, and since it has only been in production for a couple of years, there are significantly fewer examples of the Sea-Dweller 126600 available the secondary market than the Submariner 116610LN 

The Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 retails for $11,350. However these days, they often sell for more than their retail price on the secondary market due to lengthy waitlists for the watch at authorized retailers. Additionally, although the ref. 126600 is Sea-Dweller is still in production, it has only been available for a couple years, so there are a relatively small number in existence.

Although the official retail price of the Submariner 116610LN is $8,550, it’s no secret that it is challenging to even find one for sale at a Rolex boutique these days, thanks to their incredibly high demand. Subsequently, expect to pay closer to $10,000 for a pre-owned Submariner ref. 116610LN and a few thousand more for an unworn example on the secondary market. 

To sum up, the new Sea-Dweller 126600 is more water resistant, less common, larger, and more expensive than the current Submariner 116610LN. Nevertheless, no one can deny that the Submariner is by far the more popular dive watch between the two. In fact, the Submariner is without a doubt the most famous diver in the watch world, period. Therefore, the Submariner 116610LN offers wider appeal while the Sea-Dweller 126600 is beloved by a smaller niche. 

Among these two, which Rolex diver is your favorite? 

The post Rolex Submariner 116610 vs. Sea-Dweller 126600 appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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As a watch writer, I am constantly coming across mentions of the number of jewels in watch movements. And to be totally honest, in both my reading and writing, I usually gloss over this fact with little consideration. Amongst other details like case size, materials, complications, and performance specs, the number of jewels always seemed somewhat frivolous – a minor detail in the bigger picture.

It wasn’t until recently that I started wondering why the jewel was just so important to the mechanism. We constantly read about them in product descriptions for luxury watches, yet their function is rarely mentioned. And if I’m wondering these things, I thought some of you must be too. So, here I’m going to explain what I learned about jewels in watch movements and why you should care about them.

So, what are jewels?

When it comes to jewels in a watch, what we’re really referring to here are rubies. Second only to diamonds, rubies are incredibly hard, making them the perfect friction-fighting watch parts. In watchmaking, reducing friction is imperative to keeping the watch running accurately. So instead of having metal-on-metal contact for high-friction points in the movement – like on wheel trains and escape levers – watchmakers turned to jewels. 

So that’s why my watch is so expensive!

Not quite. Contrary to popular belief, the rubies used inside watch movements aren’t really all that intrinsically valuable. Given that natural rubies are extremely rare, the ones used inside your watch are synthetic. Plus, these rubies are so incredibly small – sometimes as tiny as 0.5 millimeters (0.02 inches) wide – and cut and filed into various specific shapes, so they really don’t hold any significant monetary value. However, when it comes to keeping your mechanism running smoothly, they’re totally instrumental. 

Rubies in your timepiece actually indicate quality

The jewel count of a watch is often a direct indicator of the complexity of the mechanism. To put things into perspective, the average mechanical watch will utilize 17 jewels. The vast majority of them serve as either cap or pivot jewels; however an impulse jewel is used for the balance wheel and two pallet jewels serve as the teeth for the pallet fork.

But, a watch with additional components or complications like a chronograph or moonphase, could use double the number rubies, if not more. This is simply because there will be more contact points where friction needs to be kept to a minimum. To give you an idea of what we mean, a modern chronograph like the Rolex Daytona has 44 jewels; however there are behemoths like the IWC Il Destriero Scafusia which has a flying minutes tourbillon and boasts 76 jewels.

In conclusion: jewels make your watch run better

While Jewels do make your watch run better, they don’t necessarily make it worth more. Yes, the number of rubies in your watch are indicators of the complexity of the complication. Additionally, a high jewel count in a simple movement can also be an indicator of precision or quality, since the manufacturer chose to add additional rubies to maximize its performance. However, the rubies themselves don’t make your watch any more expensive than the rest just because they’re in there. So the next time you find yourself reading product descriptions and see the jewel count of the movement listed, you’ll know exactly what they are doing there. 

The post What Are Jewels Doing in My Watch? appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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July 20th will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. And as many of you already know, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were all issued NASA-approved Omega Speedmaster Professional chronographs for their epic space journey. The vintage Omega Speedmaster market has always been robust, but we are seeing unprecedented levels of interest (and rising values) these days – no doubt fueled in part by the milestone anniversary. For those of you who may be interested in delving into vintage Speedmaster watches, today we’re taking a look at two vintage Speedmaster Professional references: the 145.012 vs 145.022.

Production Dates and Design: Speedmaster 145.012 vs 145.022

Omega produced the Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.012 from 1967 until 1968 (with a few models delivered in 1969). Given its manufacturing dates, it is known as a pre-Moon Speedmaster. In fact, astronaut Michael Collins was issued a Speedmaster Pro ref. 145.012 for use during the Apollo 11 mission. 

On the other hand, the Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.022 made its debut in 1968 to replace the 145.012 and remained in production until 1981. In 1981, the 145.022 transitioned to the 145.0022 reference (but still retained the same case number) and remained in the catalog until 1988. The 145.022 is the longest-running Speedy Pro reference to date. Since the Lunar Landing occurred one year later in 1969, there are only a few pre-Moon Speedmaster ref. 145.022 models. 

The cases of the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 and the 145.022 are essentially identical, which is to say 42mm in diameter, stainless steel, and topped with the familiar black tachymeter bezel. 

However, if you look closely at the tachymeter scale of ref. 145.012, you’ll see that there’s a dot over 90 (DO90 or DON) while the Speedmaster ref. 145.022 has the dot next to 90 (DN90 or DNN). The dials have some minor differences too. The Speedmaster Professional 145.012 has an applied Omega logo on the dial. Conversely, the Speedmaster Professional 145.022 introduced the printed Omega logo – a trait that can be found on the modern Speedmaster Professional watches that Omega manufactures today.

The casebacks of the earlier 145.012 reference featured the famed Omega Hippocampus emblem along with “Speedmaster.” After Buzz Aldrin took his steps on the moon with his Speedy on his wrist, Omega began including “The First Watch Worn On The Moon” text on the back of the Speedmaster Pro ref. 145.022 watches. The style of the inscription changed over the years, culminating in the medallion case back with the Hippocampus at center encircled by text.

The only exception to these design differences can be found on the “transitional” pre-moon Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.022-68, which carried over many of the design details of the preceding ref. 145.012. 

Movement: Speedmaster 145.012 vs 145.022 (Caliber 321 vs Caliber 861)

The exterior variances between the 145.012 and the 145.022 may be difficult to spot at first glance; but open up the case and you’ll see one major difference between these two vintage Speedmaster Professional models. The ref. 145.012 is the last Speedmaster to have Caliber 321 while ref. 145.022 was the first to come equipped with Caliber 861.

The result of a collaboration between Omega and Lémania, the manually-wound Caliber 321 uses a column-wheel chronograph system with a horizontal clutch. Compared to a cam-controlled chronograph, a column-wheel one is considered better quality and smoother to operate – yet more complicated and expensive to build. This beautifully designed and robust movement is so important to Omega’s history and so beloved by Omega enthusiasts that the brand recently announced that Caliber 321 will be going back into production.  

The subsequent manually-wound Caliber 861 (also Lémania-based) uses a cam-controlled chronograph, resulting in an easier and less expensive movement to build. It’s safe to assume that Omega anticipated that the demand for the newly coined “Moonwatch” would be significant, thus needed a chronograph caliber for the Speedmaster that would be quicker to manufacture. However, the Caliber 861 also brought with it a higher frequency; it operates at 21,600 beats per hour compared to Caliber 321’s 18,000bph rate. 

Value and Collectability: Speedmaster 145.012 vs 145.022

In the current vintage market, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is generally significantly more expensive than the Speedmaster Professional 145.022 – about double. This isn’t surprising given that the earlier model was only in production for two years, and it is the last Speedy to come with the coveted Caliber 321. 

The Speedmaster Professional 145.022 is still an affordable option for a vintage Speedy with current prices ranging anywhere from $3,500 to $5,500. It remained in production for a long time, so there are plenty of examples currently available on the secondary market. But as we have mentioned, the general demand for vintage Speedmasters is on the rise. And we wouldn’t be surprised if prices for the Speedmaster Professional 145.022 continue to go up as demand increases. Consequently, while they are still somewhat plentiful today, the pool of examples in good condition may start to dry up.  

Both great examples of vintage Speedmaster watches, the Speedmaster Professional 145.021 is the last of the pre-Moon Speedys equipped with the legendary Caliber 321 movement, while the Speedmaster Professional 145.022 with its then-new Caliber 861 paved the way for the modern Omega Moonwatch lineup.  

The post Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 vs 145.022 appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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Legendary Swiss-Italian watch brand Officine Panerai (owned by Richemont) is giving its Radiomir watch collection a bit more muscle with four new versions sporting military green dials. As Panerai’s two oldest lines of watches, the Radiomir and Luminor both have impressive military heritages, having originally been designed for and worn by the Italian Royal Navy’s elite underwater commandos.

The Panerai Radiomir’s cushion-shaped design actually predates that of the more-popular Luminor, with prototypes having originally been created back in 1936. At sizes ranging from 45mm to 48mm, the new watches are hardly understated, but the brand calls the matte green dials with beige lume “discreet and intentionally elusive.” We would add extremely handsome.

Two of the four new military green dial Radiomir watches offer GMT functionality. (Image: Panerai)

New Panerai Radiomir Watches with Green Dials 

First up is the 45mm PAM995, which comes fitted with Panerai’s thinnest automatic movement, the caliber P.4000. At $11,200 it is the least expensive version of the four new green-dial watches. The PAM998, priced at $12,000, is a GMT watch and also has a case size of 45mm. Inside it features the caliber P. 4001, which adds a second time zone and an AM/PM indicator, along with a power reserve that is displayed on the movement side of the watch.

Panerai Radiomir PAM995. (Image: Panerai)

The 45mm PAM999 moves up to $12,200 and gets the caliber P. 4002, which also offers GMT functionality, but brings its power reserve indicator to the dial side of the timepiece. And finally the PAM997, priced at $13,300 and sized at 48mm, is the big bad wolf among them. It features a matte black ceramic sandblasted case which gives it a stealth ops vibe that is well suited to the model’s heritage.

Panerai Radiomir GMT PAM998. (Image: Panerai)

There is no power reserve indicator on the PAM997; however it offers a cleaner dial in the style of the PAM995. And while the other models come on brown or tan leather straps, the PAM997 sits on a black “Ponte Vecchio” calf leather strap, named in homage to the famous landmark in Florence, where Panerai was founded in 1860. 

Panerai Radiomir GMT PAM999. (Image: Panerai)

All of the watches are water-resistant to 10 bar (a depth of 100 meters) and come presented in satin-finished green cherry wood boxes (along with spare straps) that are lined in green leather, in a nod to the dials. We’re not sure if these watches will win over any diehard Luminor fans, but they may just attract some new dive watch enthusiasts to the ranks of the Paneristi.

Panerai Radiomir PAM997. (Image: Panerai)

The post New Panerai Radiomir Watches with Military Green Dials appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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Let’s be honest; you may not have heard of the watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier before. However that’s okay because a decent number of people have not either. Yet, if you delve into the details of this Swiss haute horlogerie brand, there’s plenty to discover. Founded by a master watch restorer, backed by a foundation funded by pharmaceutical fortunes, and part of a larger vertically integrated horology group, Parmigiani Fleurier is a niche high horology brand that is serious about its watchmaking. Join us as we outline the history of the independent Parmigiani Fleurier watch manufacture. 

The Origins of Parmigiani Fleurier

In the mid-1970s, smack in the middle of the Quartz Crisis, a young watchmaker named Michel Parmigiani opened a workshop to restore antique and vintage timepieces. His reputation quickly gained him an illustrious list of clients including Patek Philippe (who entrusted Michel Parmigiani to restore important pieces for its museum), Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, and others. 

Another one of Michel Parmigiani’s customers included the Sandoz Family Foundation (of Novartis Pharmaceuticals fame), founded by sculptor Edouard-Marcel Sandoz as an institution to promote Swiss entrepreneurship. The watch restorer was tasked to maintain the foundation’s large collection of clocks and automata. 

This encounter proved to be significant, as it was due to the Sandoz Family Foundation’s encouragement and investment dollars that paved the way for the birth of the Parmigiani Fleurier brand in 1996. Fleurier is a small town in Switzerland where the brand is headquartered. 

In 1999, three years after the founding of the brand, Parmigiani Fleurier presented its first watch in the form of the Toric QP Retrograde, a round watch with a highly decorative multi-step bezel. This was quickly followed by the Kalpa Hebdomadaire, which featured an unorthodox case silhouette somewhere in between a rectangle and a “tonneau” (aka barrel) case.

Today, the Toric and Kalpa collections continue to serve as the backbone of the Parmigiani Fleurier catalog. 

The Evolution of Parmigiani Fleurier to an Independent and Vertical Manufacture

We often speak about Rolex’s structure as a vertically-integrated watch manufacturer, whereby almost all of the Swiss watchmaking giant’s components are made in-house. Parmigiani Fleurier‘s structure is similar, albeit on a smaller scale. 

Thanks to the deep pockets of the Sandoz Family Foundation, Parmigiani Fleurier has benefitted from a slew of acquisitions that now allow the brand to make more than 90% of its watch parts in-house. It started in 2000, when the foundation purchased watch movement gear makers, MBBS and renamed it Atokalpa. The spending spree continued for the next five years with the acquisition of case makers Les Artisans Boîtiers, bar turning machine makers Elwin, movement makers Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, and dial makers Quadrance et Habillage. 

It’s estimated that Parmigiani Fleurier now only outsources the production of sapphire crystals and some leather straps (notably made by Hermes). It has essentially become a self-sustaining watch brand because of the Sandoz Family Foundation’s strategy of building a comprehensive supply chain. 

However, it’s worth noting that since Parmigiani Fleurier produces watches on a relatively small scale, the Sandoz Family Foundation’s Watchmaking Centre also supplies other Swiss watch brands with watchmaking components. 

Parmigiani Fleurier Today

While Parmigiani Fleurier does not often stray too far from its high horology roots fueled by complex movements and avant-garde designs, the brand does recognize the need for simpler watches and commercially-driven models that speak to a larger audience. 

As such, along with the Kalpa, Toric and high complications collection, Parmigiani Fleurier does also make pared down three-handers within the Tonda collection, as well as sporty motorsports-inspired chronographs within the Bugatti lineup. 

In just over two decades, Parmigiani Fleurier has flourished from one watch brand stemming from Michel Parmigiani’s vision into a fully-fledged horology group ready for the future of Swiss watchmaking. 

The post The History of Parmigiani Fleurier appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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Can you call yourself a true watch collector if you don’t own at least one Patek Philippe? Widely considered to be the most prestigious watchmaker in the world, the Swiss brand has had an uninterrupted history of production for 180-years. Over that time, they have created more than 20 calibers and received more than 100 patents for their innovations. But far beyond their technical advances, their portfolio is stuffed to the gills with some of the most famous designs ever to grace a wrist. From the simple elegance of the Calatrava to the icon that is the Nautilus, Patek Philippe has remained the epitome of horology excellence for generations.

With all they have to offer, it is no wonder the brand is so highly sought-after. But another factor that affects the massive demand is the actual number of watches they make. Whereas Rolex are known to produce around one million pieces each year, Patek have made roughly that many – since 1839. That amounts to, in the modern era, around 50,000 annually, spread out over the 200 or so different models currently in the lineup. They are the farthest thing from a mass producer, with their most basic models taking around nine months to complete, and those at the most complicated end requiring the better part of two years.

That level of commitment certainly doesn’t come cheap. An entry level Patek (if there is such a thing) is still the thick end of $20,000. But, as with all things luxurious and exclusive, buying a Patek Philippe is not as simple as just walking into a boutique and picking one off the shelf. With such a low production number, competition for the most popular models is extremely fierce, and you will most likely have to work to get your hands on one.

Below, we have laid out everything you need to know to buy your first Patek Philippe.

New or Pre-owned Patek Philippe?

First things first; are you going for a brand new model or a preowned/vintage one? If you decide you want a box fresh, never been worn watch, there are three places you can go to find one. 

Salons 

Firstly, Patek operates its own Salons in London, Paris, and Geneva. That’s just three worldwide, none of which are in the U.S. However, what they lack in accessibility, they more than make up for in experience. Visiting a Patek Salon is something every horology fan should do at least once in their lives. Like walking into a fine gentleman’s club, every one of the brand’s 200+ watches are set up amidst all the dark mahogany and buttery soft leather upholstery. 

Unfortunately, just because you can see them doesn’t automatically mean you can buy them. Only the most relatively plentiful models will be for sale, such as the likes of the Calatrava. If you were hoping to get one of the more rare or hugely complicated pieces, you will suddenly find yourself up against some very big spending VIPs who have dedicated years to establishing a relationship with the salon. 

That shouldn’t put you off though. The service you receive will be second to none, and you will likely get the opportunity to try on some incredibly valuable watches that you may have only seen in pictures before. Additionally, it is not out of the question to come away with a few add-ons with any watch you end up purchasing. As well as some (very classy) merchandise in the shape of Patek pens or watch wallets, they might even throw in the watch’s initial service for free. Plus, you have taken the first step in building your own rapport with the Salon – something that will only help grease the wheels in the future. Just don’t ask for a discount!

Authorized Dealers 

Like most very high end brands, Patek has their own network of authorized and licensed retailers, each owned and operated by third-parties. At the present time, there are 78 of these dealers in the United States, and with the lack of any Salons in the country, they are the only places to go if you want a brand new watch and don’t fancy international travel. Again though, it is just not as easy as that. Most will only have a very limited number of models in stock, so there will be a struggle for the most coveted pieces here as well. 

However, one big advantage is the fact that Patek ADs are only permitted to sell to local customers. You will be asked to provide details of your address to make sure you are not out of state. They are also forbidden from selling over the phone, so your competition for the best models is no longer global billionaires but instead restricted to a much more confined area. 

Another detail worth its weight in gold is that official ADs are not allowed to charge over retail price for any of their pieces. Anyone who has perused the secondary market will know just how much above MSRP the most desirable models can go (just think about stainless steel Rolex Daytona prices), so it makes sense from that point of view. But obviously, everyone wants the lowest price, which explains why there are always so few watches up for grabs, and often long waitlist for the brand’s most popular models.

Here, just as much as with a Salon, making a connection is key. Being a good and loyal customer will pay off in the long run with the dealer going out of their way to get you the watch you want down the line. Unlike a Salon though, certain ADs will grant a discount of some sort; at their own discretion of course, and not on the models everyone is fighting tooth and nail to buy. Play your cards right and you might just walk off with a few freebies here too.

Non-Authorized Dealers

Non-Authorized dealers are those retailers not affiliated with Patek in any way, and as such, are not bound by any of their restrictions. Most sell online through their own websites, and they can be the best (if not the only) place to buy those exceptionally hard to find pieces immediately, without having to sit at the end of a five year-plus waiting list. 

That level of convenience does not come cheap though. With no one from the brand itself having a say in the matter, non-ADs can charge whatever they want for a watch, or rather, whatever the market will bear. And when that market contains fans of Patek Philippe who are also some of the wealthiest people on earth, it can bear quite a lot. Don’t be surprised if the model you want is selling out quick at more than twice its retail price.

On the upside, getting a discount on one of the more straightforward models is easier here than anywhere, and it is also the place to discover some of the best discontinued and vintage watches from the archives. However, it all comes with the usual word of caution; nowhere is the old adage of ‘buy the seller’ more fitting than in the horology industry. 

Skullduggery and footpaddery are rife, and while Patek’s extraordinary dedication to the very highest quality makes out-and-out fakes fairly easy to spot (if you know what to look for), “frankenwatches” – those assembled from different parts of genuine models, are far less so. Considering the level of outlay required for even the least expensive example, there really isn’t such a thing as doing too much research, on both the watch and the seller.

Hopefully that gives you a good starting point to begin your journey into the impossibly sumptuous world of Patek Philippe. Buying your first from the Maison is a major event and should be a memorable and rewarding experience. The watches they produce are pretty much without equal, and even ignoring the aesthetic and engineering virtuosity, they are one of the very few brands that can be classed as a wise investment. There is little out there that holds its value as well as a Patek Philippe.

The post How to Buy Your First Patek Philippe appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, the auction-world power house run by Aurel Bacs, has announced that another holy grail Rolex will cross the block at their December 10 sale in New York: the iconic Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 worn by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now

Assumed to be lost for many years, Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master has surfaced and will be hitting the auction block. (Image: Phillips)

An “Absolutely Superb” Provenance

Unlike the dodgy “Godfather” Datejust that surfaced a few months back, Phillips is calling the provenance of this Brando watch “absolutely superb.” And it features “M. Brando” engraved by the actor’s own hand on its caseback, making it even more unique. The watch remained among Brando’s prized possessions until 1995 when he gave it to his adopted daughter Petra Brando Fischer upon her graduation from Brown University. Fischer recalled the famous actor telling her “This watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep on going. I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you.”

The caseback includes a hand engraving that was done by Marlon Brando himself. (Image: Phillips)

Eight years later, Fischer gave the watch to her husband Russell Fischer as a wedding present. Now of course it is likely worth millions, though exactly how many is difficult to say until the last bid has been placed. Bacs and co. are obviously hoping for a result somewhere in the neighborhood of Paul Newman’s personal Daytona, though this watch isn’t quite equal to that one. 

Part of the proceeds will be donated to a children’s charity. The Brando GMT – one of a number of Rolex watches the actor apparently owned – will join the previously announced Day-Date President owned by Jack Nicklaus at the sale, which Philipps is now calling Game Changers, hinting that other watches owned by “important people who are considered ‘game changers’ in their fields” will be joining the lineup as well. We can only speculate as to what some of the others might be, but one of Buzz Aldrin’s Speedmasters wouldn’t surprise us.

Jack Nicklaus’s Rolex Day-Date President will be joining Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master at the “Game Changers” auction. (Image: Phillips)

The Marlon Brando Rolex GMT-Master 1675

Brando’s Rolex GMT-Master was manufactured in 1972 and its case is unpolished, adding to its value. It comes on an aftermarket rubber strap that resembles the one that Brando used to secure the watch to his wrist during the filming of Apocalypse Now. Though its dial, hands, case, crystal, and crown are all original to the watch, its iconic two-tone bezel is missing; Brando supposedly removed it on the advice of a crew member while filming the Vietnam War epic to make it a little less “flashy.” 

Although the dial, hands, crown, and crystal are original to the watch, the bezel has been lost to history. (Image: Phillips)

Of course it would be worth much more if the original bezel was at least included in the sale, but apparently it’s lost to history. This is the first time the watch is being offered for sale or indeed seen in public; for many years it was thought to have been missing. “Russel and I believe this watch is a piece of movie history that belongs in the hands of a collector who will give it the prominence it deserves,” Fischer said in a statement. And no doubt that’s exactly where it will end up. 

The post The Marlon Brando Rolex GMT-Master from ‘Apocalypse Now’ Hits the Auction Block  appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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It’s time for a new Watch in the Box – Episode 8 is out now!

Every week, countless packages get shipped to our Newport Beach headquarters from all around the world, and inside each one is a different luxury watch. Join us for Episode 8 of our Watch in the Box video series, where we pull aside one of the incoming boxes and open it up on camera, so that you can be part of the big reveal. 

Watch in the Box: Episode 8

If you are not already familiar with our Watch in the Box video series, click HERE to visit our YouTube page, where you can watch all of our previous episodes and get caught up before watching the latest installment below. 

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Watch in the Box Episode 8 | Bob's Watches - YouTube

The post ‘Watch in the Box’ Video Series: Episode 8 appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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For more than half a century, two of Rolex’s flagship watch collections for men – the Day-Date and the Datejust – came with 36mm cases. Then, in the late 2000s, Rolex finally answered the larger men’s dress watch trend by offering bigger versions of both watches. However, the Day-Date II and the Datejust II collections did not last long in the Rolex catalog (less than a decade) and have since been replaced by newer iterations. Let’s dig into the details of the short-lived Rolex Day-Date II and Datejust II collections. 

The Rolex Day-Date II

The Day-Date, better known as the Rolex President, made its grand entrance in 1956. Exclusively made in precious metals and featuring a pair of calendar windows on the dial to indicate both the day of the week and the date of the month, Day-Date timepieces quickly went on to become the must-have status watch among elite circles. The watch earned the “President” nickname for two main reasons: its semi-circular link band is called the President bracelet, and the simple fact that the watch is associated with some of history’s most powerful people (yes, including some U.S. presidents). 

As a dressy watch, the Day-Date always maintained classic proportions – a size and shape that pairs well with a suit. That all changed in 2008 when Rolex unveiled the beefier Day-Date II lineup with 41mm cases, to sit alongside the classic Day-Date 36 watches. 

Rolex made the Day-Date II in four different metals, all fitted with wider Super President bracelets to accommodate the bigger cases. The yellow gold (ref. 218238), white gold (ref. 218239), and Everose gold (ref. 218235) models included fluted bezels while the platinum versions (ref. 218206) sported smooth domed bezels. 

Also new to the Rolex President II watches was Caliber 3156, equipped with new Paraflex shock absorbers for improved shock resistance and a blue Parachrom hairspring for more resistance to temperature fluxuations and magnetic fields. 

In 2015, Rolex replaced the Day-Date II collection with the slightly smaller and slimed down Day-Date 40 range, complete with the new-generation Caliber 3255 movement that is based around Rolex’s Chronergy escapement, which offers users an increased 70-hour power reserve. 

The Rolex Datejust II

Rolex introduced the now-famous Datejust in 1945 as the first automatic wrist chronometer to display a date aperture on the dial. Since then, the Datejust has become Rolex’s signature timepiece, available in a myriad of metals, with a bevy of bracelet and bezel styles, and in select size options. Men’s Datejust watches traditionally had 36mm cases until the launch of the Datejust II in 2009.

Similar to the Day-Date II pieces, the Datejust II watches also had 41mm Oyster cases. However, the only bracelet option available with the bigger Datejust was the Oyster bracelet – an interesting move considering that Rolex created the Jubilee bracelet specifically for the very first Datejust. Material options include the two-tone steel and yellow gold edition with a fluted bezel (ref. 116333), the steel edition with a white gold fluted bezel (ref. 116334), and the full steel edition with a smooth bezel (ref. 116300). It’s also worth mentioning that the latter all-steel model only joined the catalog in 2012, and Rolex never made any Datejust II models in Everose gold. 

Movement wise, the Datejust II watches run on the self-winding Caliber 3136, which has a power reserve of 48 hours, a blue Parachrom hairspring, and Paraflex shock absorbers. 

At Baselworld 2016, Rolex announced that the Datejust 41 (with the new generation Caliber 3235) would replace the Datejust II collection. Despite their same 41mm measurements, the Datejust 41 cases are thinner and include slimmer lugs. As a result, the newer Datejust 41 watches appear slightly more elegant than the sportier Datejust II models. 

Although Rolex no longer produces the Day-Date II and Datejust II watches, these models are still popular in the secondary market – particularly with buyers who want the biggest and sportiest versions of these two iconic Rolex flagship timepieces. 

The post The Short-Lived Rolex Day-Date II & Datejust II Collections appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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For casual Rolex fans, the Explorer may not be the first model to be plucked out of the brand’s substantial tool watch lineup. However, for longtime devotees of the brand, the Rolex Explorer is a highly respected model, despite its rather minimal feature-set. It’s a Rolex that takes a certain amount of time to appreciate – for instance, if money is not an issue, it’s quite uncommon for a first-time Rolex buyer to opt for the subtle Explorer over the ultra-recognizable Submariner. 

I like to compare it to young chefs, who typically include dozens of ingredients and techniques in their dishes in a bid to prove their worthiness, while older, more experienced chefs are confident enough to just rely on a handful of good ingredients to compose a delicious plate of food. And on the Rolex menu, the Explorer is certainly a delectable choice, proudly without the proverbial foam and spherification action. However, that is not to say that Rolex has not tinkered with the Explorer recipe over the years; they have, and today we’re taking a closer look at the evolution of the Rolex Explorer from the reference 14270 to 114270 to 214270. 

Rolex Explorer 14270 (1989 – 2001)

Towards the end of the 1980s, Rolex introduced the Explorer ref. 14270. This then-new model replaced the long-running Explorer 1016, which was in production for roughly 25 years. Consequently, after about a quarter of a century, a few modernization applications were in order. Rolex kept the same 36mm Oyster case size as the preceding model, but fitted it with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal instead of one made from acrylic. 

The dial of the 14270 also underwent a facelift, with Rolex opting for a glossy texture for the black background rather than a matte finish like on its predecessor. Of course, the baton hour markers punctuated by the 3, 6, and 9 Arabic numerals that make the Explorer the Explorer remained. However this time, they were applied to the surface of the dial and crafted from 18k white gold, rather than being painted on like on previous Explorer references. 

Earlier models of the 14270 use tritium for luminescence, while later ones (starting around the mid-1990s) feature LumiNova. It’s important to note that the Arabic numerals are not lume-filled so they do not glow in the dark. There’s also a rare version (and thus, a collectible edition) of the Explorer 14270 made for one year from 1990 – 1991, which is dubbed the “Blackout” because the 3, 6, and 9 are filled with black paint instead of white paint. 

Additionally, the ref. 14270 Explorer brought about a change inside the watch too, with Rolex replacing the earlier 19,800 beats per hour Caliber 1570 with the higher-beat 28,800bph Caliber 3000. 

Rolex Explorer 114270 (2001 – 2010) 

In 2001, a new Explorer model joined the collection. However, this is a classic example of Rolex creating a new reference to house a new movement and not indulging in much else design-wise. For the new Explorer 114270, Rolex fitted it with the updated Caliber 3130 movement. 

On the outside of the Explorer 114270, Rolex did add solid end links to the Oyster bracelet, removed the lug holes from the case, and switched to Super-LumiNova for its luminous material; however almost everything else stayed the same. That is to say the updated Explorer 114270 sports a 36mm Oyster case that houses a black glossy dial with 18k white gold applied indexes and Mercedes-style hands.  

Rolex Explorer 214270 (MK I: 2010 – 2016; MK II: 2016 – Present)

In 2010, Rolex made a big change to the collection when it phased out the Explorer 114270, and presented a brand-new Explorer, which (for the first time in the model’s history) featured a larger 39mm Oyster case. Internally, Rolex also updated the new ref. 214270 Explorer with the updated Caliber 3132 movement, which features Rolex’s new Paraflex shock absorbers.

On the dial side, Rolex moved the Explorer name to the bottom half and fashioned its signature trio of Arabic numerals entirely from 18k white gold without any paint filling them. What’s more, similar to other Rolex watches of the era, the rehaut received the ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX engraving (along with its serial number) as an anti-counterfeit measure. 

The biggest criticism the 2010 Rolex Explorer 214270 received was in regards to its hands. Many observed that the hands were simply too short for its larger case, and assumed that Rolex had used the same hands as the 36mm version without giving any regard to the fact that the minute hand does not reach the minute track. 

Consequently in 2016, Rolex conceded and gave us the Rolex Explorer 214270 “Mark II” – an unofficial label Rolex collectors like to use to differentiate between variations within the same reference family. (Hint: Rolex mistake + short production run = future collectible). The current Rolex Explorer 214270 “Mark II” not only has better-proportioned hands, but also features a dial that has all of its hour markers finished with luminescent material – including the 3, 6, and 9 Arabic numerals. 

While there are those that lament the increased size of the Explorer, many actually prefer the larger case, and feel that it offers more choice for the consumer if they look beyond the current catalog and investigate what’s available in the secondary market. Whether you prefer the original 36mm version or the larger 39mm size, the Rolex Explorer is the perfect expression of when less is more.

The post Rolex Explorer Evolution: 14270 to 114270 to 214270 appeared first on Bob's Watches.

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