Rolex early days and Commemorative watches.Now in the early days of Rolex only about 1 in 5 had the name Rolex on the Dial,the rest were blank dials when they left the factory,so the various retailers could put there own name on dial.But after the arrival of the oyster case 1926-7 most of the oyster cased ones did have the name Rolex on the dial,but after this still a few companies were still allowed,to put there names on the dial. Like Goldsmiths,Asprey,various middle east sultans even Domino Pizza and coco cola.Later retailers like Bucherer Cartier, plus a few more.Tiffany were the final store retailers name to ever to be seen on a Rolex dial, and now any genuine Tiffany,Cartier named mainly sports Rolex bring very high prices indeed.
And now the only current company for whom Rolex will "co-brand" a watch is COMEX; an acronym made up of the letters from the company's full name COmpagnie Maritime d'EXpertise. COMEX as everyone now knows are the world's leaders in the provision of diving services to exploration companies all over the globe. It was in November 1967 that A. Zilbach, a Rolex technician who had worked in close collaboration with COMEX received the Swiss patent number 492,246 for a helium escape valve,shared with Doxa to rush it though. This was the result of experiments carried out with early 5513 Submariners which had been fitted with prototypes of this escape valve.These watches were used by COMEX divers for over 2 years without any problems and so the decision was made to produce a standard watch with this feature; it was, of course, the SD. The largest purchaser of these watches was and is COMEX; every diver who works for the company is issued with one and to prevent the watches from being "misplaced" Rolex print the name of the company on the dial of every watch. COMEX themselves also engrave the rear of the watch with their name and a unique serial number. These watches now have become incredibly collectible because they are the ONLY Rolex watch still being produced with another name on the dial.It is somewhat ironic that after almost 90 years of some different retailers' names on some Rolex dials. The only one left is a company who do did not ever sell watches,and thats Comex.
Rolex and Tudor very collectable watches
Model 6429 Steel Oyster Commando.
Any early 1930s- 40s Rolex Prince.
Any of the old Rolex chronographs 6236 etc
COMEX Submariner or SD
Early cushion case bubble-backs.
Model 6202 Turn-O-Graph.
Any Rolex Military Submariner like say 5510.
Single Red double red Subs SD.
Early Rolex Kew A class Oyster chronometers.
Any of the left hand wind Rolex watches Subs or Datejust.
Any early proper Milguas watches not the modern ones.
Rare early GMTs.
Orange hand Explorers
Early 60s Explorer dates like the Airkings TT are very rare
Daytona 6239 6263/5 etc.
Early Rolex watches made only for Canadian market
1939-45 military watches
Rolex Turtle Timer
Airking dates with the roulette date wheels
Rolex Date and Triple date with Moonphase.
Rolex Tudor military subs.
Any Rolex watch with say a Sultans emblem.
Cartier/Tiffany co branded Rolex watches.
Panama Canal special Rolex subs.
Rolex Tudor Monte Carlo Chronograph ref 7159
Rolex Tudor ranger alarm.
Most early Rolex subs.6200/6536/6205/5/6538/5512/3.
First Oyster quartz 5100 Beta 21 movement.
Sultan Oman very rare and now mega money.
Around 1970, Qaboos bin Said Al Said got rid of his father and has ruled as sultan of Oman ever since.The British (SAS) and several Arab Nations sent well-trained forces to assist the Sultan, and the rebels were defeated. Legend has it that the Special Forces suffered heavy losses, and only 7 Special Forces Officers survived. As a token of his appreciation, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, presented them each with a Rolex Sea Dweller ref 1665 with the Nations Coat of Arms printed on the dial in Gold. Also several Local Officers were presented with a Rolex Sea Dweller ref 1665 with the Nations Coat of Arms printed on the dial in Red.
I am not sure how many of these were issued.Many middle east sultans had there coat of arms added to Rolex watches, in fact there is/was a special department in Rolex H/Q to oversee these matters.During the 1970s and 1980s it was not only Subs and Sea-Dwellers. They came in Presidents, Datejusts , Dates, turongraphs, and Airkings. Back in that era it was quite common for the Middle Eastern Kings to display their names and Family and counties Symbols all over watches, cars etc to these people money was know object.
Unfortunately due to the rarity and the huge demand of these watches from collectors and investors, many fake or doctored dials have appeared in the market place.The only true way to check if you have a genuine Oman Rolex is a movement and serial check with Rolex.A dial insignia on the dial without provenance is completely useless,to a serious collector.Unless he has the correct case serial, movement etc matching to a Oman watch or any other middle east sultan, or kings coat of arms, in the Rolex data base.What the emblem of Oman shows is a Gambia (Arabian dagger with sheath) in front of two crossed curved swords, covered with an arms-belt.
And now as rare as rocking horse s--t. we would be talking of telephone number money and though big auction house territory like Christies.
Picture from Allan.
Very interesting post Padi, I can remember during my service in the Marines a couple of guys that had been on secondment to the Omani army as training instructors. They were both presented with these Rolex after their draft finished there. I cannot remember what model it was but I recall the motif on the face of the dial. This would have been approx mid eighties. Crikey with these and Milsubs the Royal Marines have done some good service for watch collectors!
Great information Peter
Peter, once again Thanx for the history lesson on Rolex manufactured items!!!