Does case pitting bother you and if so does it devalue the watch

Vintage Rolex Discussion

Does case pitting bother you and if so does it devalue the watch

Joined: November 25th, 2011, 11:35 am

November 27th, 2011, 12:40 pm #1

I am relatively new to the watch world, but before buying anything especially in the vintage lines, I prefer to do as much research as possible. Thanks to the web I have learnt so much, especially from this forum and from all the classified sections. I was looking at the 1960's explorers after googling for sale and noticed that although some are in very good condition on the outside, many of them have pits in a very vulnerable area such as under the case seals and case backs.

As a former metallurgy student, I find this a big turn off as these pits tend to grow as they cannot be arrested once they start. Now, I know for some this would not bother them as you cannot see them once the case is closed, however, knowing that the pits are there and are still burrowing through the case metal would compromise the watch case structure. I believe that the watch case can be even more important than the mechanism itself as once the case begins to be compromised then the movement is also vulnerable very much like having contracted a building company to build you a mansion but you have no land to build on.

Does pitting in these stainless steel cases devalue the watch or is it not a big issue amongst timepiece collectors? My understanding is that a lot of the vintage stainless steel model Rolex upto the 1988 are of 304L grade (18/10) stainless steel after we did an xrf analysis of the case confirmed by the molybdenum chemical test on a collegeues 16030 Datejust case which is the same stainless steel used in kitchen sinks.
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Joined: July 6th, 2008, 2:28 am

November 27th, 2011, 2:07 pm #2

Yes pitting will bring down the value of the watch . I have seen pitting along the serial number and model number area which is bad as well . Try to find a healthy case . You are correct a case is more important than a movement , you can always find a movement but cases are hard to find and pricey. reagards
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Joined: November 3rd, 2009, 8:57 pm

November 27th, 2011, 6:16 pm #3

I am relatively new to the watch world, but before buying anything especially in the vintage lines, I prefer to do as much research as possible. Thanks to the web I have learnt so much, especially from this forum and from all the classified sections. I was looking at the 1960's explorers after googling for sale and noticed that although some are in very good condition on the outside, many of them have pits in a very vulnerable area such as under the case seals and case backs.

As a former metallurgy student, I find this a big turn off as these pits tend to grow as they cannot be arrested once they start. Now, I know for some this would not bother them as you cannot see them once the case is closed, however, knowing that the pits are there and are still burrowing through the case metal would compromise the watch case structure. I believe that the watch case can be even more important than the mechanism itself as once the case begins to be compromised then the movement is also vulnerable very much like having contracted a building company to build you a mansion but you have no land to build on.

Does pitting in these stainless steel cases devalue the watch or is it not a big issue amongst timepiece collectors? My understanding is that a lot of the vintage stainless steel model Rolex upto the 1988 are of 304L grade (18/10) stainless steel after we did an xrf analysis of the case confirmed by the molybdenum chemical test on a collegeues 16030 Datejust case which is the same stainless steel used in kitchen sinks.
and many of them Rolex in stainless steel cases, I think this is much ado about nothing.
Most vintage Rolex watches have some pitting, some less and some more.
For you to say on this forum: "As a former metallurgy student, I find this a big turn off as these pits tend to grow as they cannot be arrested once they start."
is like shouting fire in a crowded theater.
There is a reason why these pits start on the underside of the case and between the lugs. I think it has more to do with the perspiration of the wearer.
Once the cause is removed there is no reason for the pits to continue growing.
Even if they do continue to grow this growth is very slow and may outlive 2 generations or more.
Besides with the laser welders the pits can be fixed if need be.
When I inspect a vintage Rolex in stainless steel case and I do not see some minor pitting I start looking even more carefully...
Pitting is a part of vintage Rolex.
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Joined: November 25th, 2011, 11:35 am

November 28th, 2011, 12:38 am #4

Thank you for your feedback. I welcome any information and both resopnses I have received to my post have helped answer my question. Of course pitting would be expected on vintage timepieces especially those made from stainless steel. However, I have seen vintage pieces that do not have any pitting which are offered for sale from reputable websites. For example my father's tiempiece from the late 1950's (whose brand I will refrain from mentioning) has no pitting at all and I am sure he never had any treatments done to his case ever since he had it from new. I checked under the seal and it was flawless on both the case back, case and between the lugs. Which is why I raised the question as a newbie to the timepiece collection if this bothered collectors. I will lecture metallurgy on this forum as I purely mentioned it to support my enquiry. However I am aware that the cases can be laser welded which I know is also expensive, hence compromising the value of the timepiece as responded to me to this thread prior to yours. Which of course is a turn off for me if I need to spend more money for a timepiece needing extra work which can be avoided on a similar timepiece without this problem ( in the same mechanical condition) for the same price. This would hardly be crying fire in a crowded theatre. Thank you for your response as it was very helpful.
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Joined: November 25th, 2011, 11:35 am

November 28th, 2011, 6:24 am #5

In the sentence

"I will lecture metallurgy on this forum as I purely mentioned it to support my enquiry".

was meant to be "I will NOT lecture metallurgy on this forum as I purely mentioned it to support my enquiry".

When I wrote the sentence I must have backspaced too far and accidently also removed the word "NOT".

My apologies to all readers of that reply,

regards,

Carl

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