MC Yoon (Login munchiew) VRF Member 18.104.22.168
Tough Subject, These Old Chronos..
January 25 2012, 9:33 PM
The old chronos, often times, for the same reference, had different variants of dials and hands. Pushers,too! This I discovered when I was trying to verify a 2508 I had found. So it is not prudent to draw conclusions based on comparisons to one or two watches one has seen, or has on file.
This message has been edited by munchiew from IP address 22.214.171.124 on Jan 25, 2012 9:36 PM
Matt's watch show the signs of having a base metal cast case, plated!
A base metal casting is made from base metals like zinc, lead, aluminium, together with traces of other metals like tin, to provide the desired qualities. ( similar to the Dinky car models of our childhood?)The case is then plated, usually with Nickel to give a hard and brilliant protective and aesthetic finish.
The reason why these were used was simple. Cheap, compared to stainless steel in those days when it was commercially available. If one remembers, when the SS Princes were sold, their prices were higher than their silver cased cousins!.
Matt's watch shows clear indications that it has a nickel plated base metal case;
1] these castings were brittle, and were liablle to snap or break off upon impact, showing irregular breaklines. All four lug ends of Matt's watchwas snapped off; naturally so, they protrude, and so are very liable to breakage during hard use. ( African Rifles, remember?)
2] the dark spots on the case surface are base metal corrosion where the Nickel plating has been breached. This is very common on old base metal casings in the Tropics where the heat and damp promotes copious sweating, attacking the Nickel plating over time. The part of the mid case where it meets the case back circumference shows extreme pitting. Same process.
Will a cast case have a different shape from a machined one? I do not know for sure, but likely. Casting is a cruder process, and may not be given to shapes that fine milling machines can achieve.
To be frank, I have not seen any Rolex that use base metal cases, but I have seen not just a few Gallets and Pierces that come with such cases. Common in Asia.
Matt's watch was sold in Nairobi, which was in those days a price sensitive market, I would reasonably presume. So cast cases are not impossible.
The point I make is that old Rolexes are less well known and studied, partly because they are much rarer, and partly because they do not garner as much interest among aficionados.. All the Subs, etc have been studied to death, but anything pre 50's.. who is the real expert??
thoughts concerning the hands..and waiting for philip
January 26 2012, 1:21 AM
first of all i must say i am waiting with much interest philips results concerning hands.
i also must say we pay to less attention to it. hands are a big part of the dial.
in this special case i think the red hand can be very well original.
all original second hands for dials with outer minute track touch the track, not to short and not to long (if not they are replaced in my opinion).
in this case the red red hand touches the track to measure the speed!!
remember that 80% chronographs were using Valjoux calibers at the time and I own
a NOS Heuer dial (for Val 23) that fit perfectly my 3525 so it is quite normal the hand fits perfectly.
Then it took me 5 minutes on the web to find the following pictures.
Now I called Jean François Treskow ex RSC Paris (and oldest watchmaker I could contact from the french staff) he never heard about any plated chronograph even in the non Oyster serie.
Once again anything is possible with Rolex but lest summurize: different hands, different case material, different case shape makes to many differences for me and for one and only watch.
I am still waiting to see a second one of that type. And the funny thing is that when VRF members find let say 1mm difference on a dial of a 6538 dial, case or whatever.... the thing must be a fake. Here with Matts watch we have a chrono NEVER SEEN BEFORE and I follow 3525 since 20 years but every one say bah its ok.
So please show me just show me another one similar, just one! (and I hope for Matt we can find one other similar, as I sincerely wish he got a nice authentic watch from his familly)
As you say, standard Valjoux caliber so another possibility is...
January 26 2012, 9:51 AM
...that the red chrono hand has been replaced at some point with a generic one.
So I don't feel that the red hand itself is determinative of authenticity one way or the other.
The case does bother me: are we sure it is not just Staybrite that has corroded rather than a plated base metal case? Because I have never heard of Rolex using a base metal case, even in this early era. And Staybrite was not as corrosion resistant as Stainless Steel to be sure.
But it does seem as if the back is steel, doesn't it, because it is much less corroded?
Could it be a "tropical" type construction fro the African market with Staybrite case but steel caseback?
Happy to be corrected on this or any other point, as these early chronos and this era of Rolex in general are hardly my specialty.
Thanks & best,
as I own both types of 3525 cases none looks like Matt's one.
Even the cheapest chrono from the Rolex line is made off
stainless sreel, I never heard about staybrite or plated ones.
But maybe Mike W. can help us as he mentioned that 'plated ones had a
different case shape'.
I wish Rolex will answer Matt and also wish the chrono is ok as it
is always fascinating to discover new types.
(and yest maybe a special case for a specific market, but why?)
Were made to cater for a lower end market. So dear Philip, it would not surprise me that someone in Paris has never seen one. They were made to be sold in the colonies. Not to the ruling class sitting in Paris, or London, or. ..You yourself did not know...
julian (Login watch-guy.com) VRF Contributing Member 126.96.36.199
Not sure if you are serious but I
January 26 2012, 2:27 PM
think it is extremely unlikely Rolex made a separate type of case for the " colonies " as you suggested.
However I have no idea about this watch so I cannot comment on the originality.
Ocums Razer applies in medicine and should be applies in most facets of life. Don't look for the most implausible cause , it is usually the most comon diagnosis that is the cause. If you hear hoof beats , don't think Zebra , think horse!
I will remember that. But If I am in Africa, and I hear hoof beats, and i think "Zebra", is that so off tangent?
On the other issue, Rolex has a record of catering to niche markets. There were special models for the Canadian Market, 369 Subs for the British market, bombe lug cased watches for the French market, no lume models for the Japanese and Korean market,etc.This is one reason for Rolex's success and dominance as a Global company; it understood the needs of the different markets.
On yet another point, going with the obvious is easy. But progress is not made that way. The World was flat until someone came along and said maybe it is not flat. Today, Einstein's vaunted General Theory is being questioned, as new discoveries are being made at the CERN labs.
Julian, "We do not know what we do not know". I am a great fan of this saying by Donald Rumsfeld.
Thanks for that great piece of advice you gave me. Best..
in these days rolex chronos had to compete with many other well known chronographs.why risk a bad name in selling plated cases to a continent, where the sweat of the owner will ruin the case quite quickly? the opposite should apply and the price difference would be marginal, because the machinery for the base metal cases in a very small production run would not appeal to a swiss businessman.... the explanation of broken off lugs can be a military one. RAF issued omega´s had the WW2 alloy cases (with steel backs and bezels) decom. with the lugs cut off. same applied to some lemania chronos for the South African airforce; lugs cut and/or backs squashed. just my 2 cents.... kind regards. achim