Ollech & Wajs Caribbean 1000 (what the rolex Sub should ahve been?)
Not a review. Just a look at an inovative idea designed 30 years ago and why a little known company built something that should have been built by Rolex in IMHO.
The watch in the scans below is an Ollech & Wajs Carbbean 1000 meter dive watch. O & W were not only makers of interesting watches, but also supplied parts to Breitling for their Navitimer models.
The case is a s/s unibody (one piece) with the movement inserted from the top. 40 mm in diameter and 45.5 mm lug to lug. With crystal on. The height is 16 mm. Crown is a screwdown with threads on the inside of the winding tube.
The movement is an unadorned ETA 17 jewel automatic with date.
Bezels came with 60 minute or 12 hour bi-directional turning with luminous markings. The watch came in dark blue, black, yellow or jade green with matching bezel insert. There were also two different widths of bezel inserts. A thin model (shown in scan) or the wider (about 1 mm more)
The watch in the early 70's was used to set a number of dive records. With tank and without. Been also said that the watch was a favorite of Vietnam military personnel who purchased the watches rather than use one's supplied to them.
The interesting thing about the watch is the crystal and why the watch warrents it's 3000 ft. depth rating.
The movement sits in a movement ring and is placed deep into the case. The crystal is then placed into the case and held in place with a s/s screwdown retaining ring. A rubber "O" ring under the crystal and a flat rubber ring under the retaining ring insuring proper water tightness.
With the bezel on. The crystal has a very low profile. The edge is barely 1/32nd above the rim and sit's about 1/8" higher in the middle.
The crystal is a slab of plastic. 1/8" thick on the side, with a 1/8" thick lip which the retaining ring presses down on. It's the top that's interesting.
Due to the lower sitting movement. The crystal has a very shallow curve on the underside matching that of the top. Between inside and out, is a 5 MM thickness of plastic.
At the time of it's creation. The Rolex Submariner had a 200 meter or 660 ft. depth rating.
Original value was $105.00
Most of these seen for sale are NOS due to the company going out of business just after the death of Mr. Ollech in the early 70's
At most, have seen over the past year and a half is less than 50 watches listed for sale. How many were produced is unknown, but willing to say that compared to a vintage Rolex from the same era that the Caribbean is much rarer
Current prices for the watches are about $550-$700. With a price of $1000.00 expected by the end of the year by some collectors.
Currently timing mine and is in pieces.
O & W image used with permission (Thanks Bob - sinnezm)
Some additional information supplied by Howard M. Marx