Mystery Rolex

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GLADIATOR
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Mystery Rolex

#1 Post by GLADIATOR » Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 am

This watch has to me all the makings of a mystery. I bought it from a private seller. I was immediately struck by three lovely features that just make me want to add that timepiece to my collection.

First, an early hermetic sealed so called 'Trench Watch', secondly an original enamel dial with original aged lumed dial and hands - that orange/red patina is just fantastic, and thirdly integrated shrapnel guards.
This watch had all three and an original dial you could die for.

Additionally, here we have a rare hunter style case adapted (yes hand cut out) beautifully into an integrated shrapnel guard - wow!

Mystery #1
On examining the unscrewed back case we can see the import mark for London and a date code of 1917.
Case is stamped Brevet 71363 and also those famous initials (monogram) W&D for Wilsdorf (Hans) and Davis (Alfred) - the owners of Rolex and the marking they put on their timepieces in 1905 prior to Rolex being registered.
In other words 'W&D' went on to become Rolex Ltd which was registered in 1915 (1908 in Switzerland).
For some time, we can find cases with both names stamped on them i.e. ROLEX and W&D.
And for some unknown reason to me, we also find some later cases like this with again ONLY W&D marked on it. I got no idea why - maybe as a tribute to Davis who (for health reasons?) disappeared without trace?
But for certain this case is a Rolex case, both the back and the shrapnel guard have that W&D logo. Call that Mystery #1

Mystery #2
The case has Brevet (Patent) No71363 - Boîte-savonnette pour montres ( a hunter case for watches) -Granted June 1915 to a Charles Zurbrugg of Bienne.
Seems Zurbrugg had a number of wristwatch patents between 1912 and 1917, then disappeared.
But where does he fit into Rolex/W&D? Did he loan the the patent? We know Wilsdorf scoured the papers for others patents very often buying them out (like the original Oyster patent)
Interestingly I found in the Swiss Journal that Wilsdorf and Zurbrugg both filed patents on the same day (one digit following) - Maybe that is how Wilsdorf saw this patent 71363 (his was 71362)

Mystery #3
The movement I believe is NOT a Rebberg/Aegler movement. The dial is marked 'ARCADIA'. At first I suspected that the moment has been replaced.
But on studying various Rolex books, a similar watch was sold with a private label 'PARKS' - Could Arcadia be a private name?
Unfortunately 'ARCADIA' is such a popular jeweler name - it has not been possible to confirm or reject this theory.

So what we have here is a lovely savonnette cased W&D silver watch from 1917.
The hunter (savonnette) front cover has been perfectly modified (cut out) to become an integral shrapnel guard.
Dial and hands are immaculate and correct.

STOP PRESS
Mystery #3 solved. ARCADIA was a manufacturer, so my first suspicion that the movement is a replacement into this case is correct. Borne out by the incorrect spacing of case screws!

Anway to some pictures:
Image

Image

Image

Movement and Back of case.
NOTE Look closely you can see W&D Logo on INSIDE if top cover - but cut away to make shrapnel guard.
Image

MOVEMENT. - Sadly NOT Rebberg/Aegler
Image

Image

EXAMPLES OF EARLY ROLEX's
Image

Image

And MYSTERY #2 - That patent!
Image

Now - the question. I have an early correct Rebberg movement, but not as nice looking a dail. Should I fit the correct movement into this case to make the watch 100% correct
OR
Leave it as it is?

Fitted with a hand made strap:
Image


​AKNOWLEDGEMENTS - ​
Mark - TrenchwatchRestorations - Strap
Marcus Hardy - Vintage watches.com - Rolex/W&D dating.
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
Visit Here:http://highercailber.com/
Adam R Harris

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Literustyfan
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#2 Post by Literustyfan » Fri May 10, 2013 8:27 am

"Now - the question. I have an early correct Rebberg movement, but not as nice looking a dial. Should I fit the correct movement into this case to make the watch 100% correct OR Leave it as it is?"

Great info as usual Adam!

I would always opt to put the watches back to 100% correct.

We always see the incorrect changes that folks have made to watches over the years: wrong dials, hands, cases, movements and things that are simply time period incorrect.

I have honestly lost track of how many corrections that I've made to watches over the years but it is a lot, numbering in the hundreds!

I honestly feel that a 100% correct watch is much more desirable even if all of the parts are not 100% original to the watch.

Example: a Pershing Trench Watch with a 1918 date stamped dial that has a 1915 movement.

I would change the movement to a 100% correct 1918 movement and put the 1915 movement with something that would be correct for that year.

Many dealers simply slap watches together to get the sale without much thought if they are 100% correct.

Just my .02 !
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Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

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GLADIATOR
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#3 Post by GLADIATOR » Fri May 10, 2013 8:34 am

Thanks Stan
To me this is a tough call. Why? Because EVERYTHING you say is what I 100% believe in (as you know)
BUT
I LOVE that ARCADIA dial.

My Rebberg movement needs serviced, so I can not swop it out yet, I have time to think
BUT
I appreciate your input as correct
Regards
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
Visit Here:http://highercailber.com/
Adam R Harris

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Re: Mystery Rolex

#4 Post by Literustyfan » Fri May 10, 2013 8:41 am

I consider myself to be a historian first and a watch dealer second!
http://www.LRFAntiqueWatches.com

Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

441victor
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#5 Post by 441victor » Fri May 10, 2013 12:48 pm

Brilliant find Adam. And what luck to have a correct movement. I would definitely reacquaint the two. Any idea of the year of the Acadia movement? To me it looks too modern in design to be from the same era as the case. Maybe you'll find some markings under the dial. Joel

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Re: Mystery Rolex

#6 Post by GLADIATOR » Fri May 10, 2013 11:32 pm

441victor wrote:Brilliant find Adam. And what luck to have a correct movement. I would definitely reacquaint the two. Any idea of the year of the Acadia movement? To me it looks too modern in design to be from the same era as the case. Maybe you'll find some markings under the dial. Joel
Hi Joel - thanks
I think the Arcadia movement is same period. I suspect that based on the dial patina and the history of ARCADIA.

Regards
adam
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
Visit Here:http://highercailber.com/
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#7 Post by GLADIATOR » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:07 pm

Seems the last post and accusations against me were removed
Thank You to the moderation team
Adam
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
Visit Here:http://highercailber.com/
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#8 Post by vintagehamiltons » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:35 am

GLADIATOR wrote:Seems the last post and accusations against me were removed
Thank You to the moderation team
Adam
The poster requested they be removed as he admitted he may have been hasty with his rant.
Tom Diss
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Re: Mystery Rolex

#9 Post by GLADIATOR » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:44 am

vintagehamiltons wrote:
GLADIATOR wrote:Seems the last post and accusations against me were removed
Thank You to the moderation team
Adam
The poster requested they be removed as he admitted he may have been hasty with his rant.
He was mighty hasty, and completely out of order on My Hardy and especially me>
Yep, I have many faults, but I do not lie!

Thanks for explaining
adam
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