"Plated Cases In Africa Do Not Make Sense.."

Vintage Rolex Discussion

"Plated Cases In Africa Do Not Make Sense.."

munchiew
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munchiew
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Joined: July 25th, 2010, 6:16 am

January 30th, 2012, 12:43 am #1

As a follow up to an earlier post on a watch that spent its life in Kenya,...

It was said that plated caes did not make sense in the Tropics. That may be so, but they exist. Here is a pic of 3 examples from my drawers; I still have them.

The Pierce and Lemania were sourced from India many years ago, while the Ulysee Nardin came from Vietnam.

There is no quarrel that these cases were not the best to withstand the rigours of the Tropics, with perpetual high heat and humidity. This environment was indeed a killer of many things, not just plated cases. But it should be remembered that the plated cases, were made mainly in the 30's; this was a period that followed the Great Crash of 1929, and the ensueing Great Depression that followed, culminating in the Second World War. I will not go too deeply into the history of the period, sufficing to say that it was a period of extreme and widespread poverty, leading to trade wars between countries trying to protect their own employment and industries, and untimately leading to a great military war that involved the whole World!

During these distressed times, watch manufacturers struggled, like everyone else, and there was a need to bring out products that the meagre market could afford. Hence the plated case as an alternative to the precious metal cases( gold and silver). Stainless Steel was just making its advent, and was a difficult material for the metal working machines that the watch manufacturers used. New machines had to be invented, and it was, from a manufacturing point of view, a challenge, and a costly affair to make jewellery grade items, like fine watch cases, from a very hard material. Plated cases had a place during those challenging times.

Few of these have survived today; firstly , because they were not very durable, being subject to corrosion and breakage (the metal being brittle in nature), and secondly, they were not highly regarded by collectors and owners , being made of base metal. Even fewer that were sold in the Tropics have survived, for reasons already mentioned.

It is interesting to note that in all the examples below, the caseback is made of stainless steel, but thin gauge pressed steel, not the 'monoblock" CBs we see today.

Just to set the record straight.

On a separate matter, but still relating to Matt's 3525,it has been said that the dial, among other things, is wrong. The "ROLEX" legend MUST be written in an Arch, not linearly, as in Matt's watch. While it is true that nearly all 3525s seems to be arched ROLEXs, there has been argument that rare lineear ROLEXs do exist. I have just founnd pics of variants to the Arched ROLEX. For those of you who have the Mondani publication ROLEX, COLLECTING MODERN AND VINTAGE WATCHES, BY O PATRIZZI, in 2 volumes, Pg 137 , Vol 2, shows a 3525 with a linear ROLEX legend, and another one , with no legends at all! I know there will be haws and hems, and while I do not consider Patrizzi God, he is nevertheless much respected, including by me.












Last edited by munchiew on January 30th, 2012, 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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WorldOysterWatcher
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Joined: November 29th, 2007, 6:14 am

January 30th, 2012, 1:02 am #2

a little snippet from Rolex Jubilee Vade Mecum...

"Generally speaking, the wristwatch was bound to bring about a certain revolution in the industry: it naturally caused an increase in sales, not only on account of its novelty, but also because of its very nature, it called for frequent renewal". More exposed to damage than the pocket watch, it was not of a type to become a "family heirloom" handed down from father to son for several generations."
Hans Wilsdorf, c.1946
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Joined: April 10th, 2008, 11:35 pm

January 30th, 2012, 2:11 am #3

As a follow up to an earlier post on a watch that spent its life in Kenya,...

It was said that plated caes did not make sense in the Tropics. That may be so, but they exist. Here is a pic of 3 examples from my drawers; I still have them.

The Pierce and Lemania were sourced from India many years ago, while the Ulysee Nardin came from Vietnam.

There is no quarrel that these cases were not the best to withstand the rigours of the Tropics, with perpetual high heat and humidity. This environment was indeed a killer of many things, not just plated cases. But it should be remembered that the plated cases, were made mainly in the 30's; this was a period that followed the Great Crash of 1929, and the ensueing Great Depression that followed, culminating in the Second World War. I will not go too deeply into the history of the period, sufficing to say that it was a period of extreme and widespread poverty, leading to trade wars between countries trying to protect their own employment and industries, and untimately leading to a great military war that involved the whole World!

During these distressed times, watch manufacturers struggled, like everyone else, and there was a need to bring out products that the meagre market could afford. Hence the plated case as an alternative to the precious metal cases( gold and silver). Stainless Steel was just making its advent, and was a difficult material for the metal working machines that the watch manufacturers used. New machines had to be invented, and it was, from a manufacturing point of view, a challenge, and a costly affair to make jewellery grade items, like fine watch cases, from a very hard material. Plated cases had a place during those challenging times.

Few of these have survived today; firstly , because they were not very durable, being subject to corrosion and breakage (the metal being brittle in nature), and secondly, they were not highly regarded by collectors and owners , being made of base metal. Even fewer that were sold in the Tropics have survived, for reasons already mentioned.

It is interesting to note that in all the examples below, the caseback is made of stainless steel, but thin gauge pressed steel, not the 'monoblock" CBs we see today.

Just to set the record straight.

On a separate matter, but still relating to Matt's 3525,it has been said that the dial, among other things, is wrong. The "ROLEX" legend MUST be written in an Arch, not linearly, as in Matt's watch. While it is true that nearly all 3525s seems to be arched ROLEXs, there has been argument that rare lineear ROLEXs do exist. I have just founnd pics of variants to the Arched ROLEX. For those of you who have the Mondani publication ROLEX, COLLECTING MODERN AND VINTAGE WATCHES, BY O PATRIZZI, in 2 volumes, Pg 137 , Vol 2, shows a 3525 with a linear ROLEX legend, and another one , with no legends at all! I know there will be haws and hems, and while I do not consider Patrizzi God, he is nevertheless much respected, including by me.












one suggestion - where you describe "Stainless Steel was just making its advent, and was a difficult material for the metal working machines that the watch manufacturers used. New machines had to be invented, and it was, from a manufacturing point of view, a challenge" - i suspect it was not the machinery but the alloy that needed development. Later SS alloys were developed that contained a slight bit of lead (316L) that made it easier to turn and cut - the lead serves as a lubricant for the cutting bit

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munchiew
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munchiew
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Joined: July 25th, 2010, 6:16 am

January 30th, 2012, 4:10 am #4

Thanks, Larry. Some more interesting information! Aside from the difficulty you mentioned, i think also the milling machinery at that time were being developed to mill more sophisticated shapes. I remember that the Princes which came out in steel all had rather simple shapes. At least, I have not come across a steel Branchard.
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Maloja54
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Maloja54
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Joined: August 22nd, 2010, 7:54 pm

January 30th, 2012, 4:52 am #5

one suggestion - where you describe "Stainless Steel was just making its advent, and was a difficult material for the metal working machines that the watch manufacturers used. New machines had to be invented, and it was, from a manufacturing point of view, a challenge" - i suspect it was not the machinery but the alloy that needed development. Later SS alloys were developed that contained a slight bit of lead (316L) that made it easier to turn and cut - the lead serves as a lubricant for the cutting bit
My understanding has always been that the "L" in "316L" stood for "Low Carbon".
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WorldOysterWatcher
WorldOysterWatcher

January 30th, 2012, 6:49 am #6

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Joined: July 9th, 2011, 9:36 am

January 30th, 2012, 7:12 am #7

As a follow up to an earlier post on a watch that spent its life in Kenya,...

It was said that plated caes did not make sense in the Tropics. That may be so, but they exist. Here is a pic of 3 examples from my drawers; I still have them.

The Pierce and Lemania were sourced from India many years ago, while the Ulysee Nardin came from Vietnam.

There is no quarrel that these cases were not the best to withstand the rigours of the Tropics, with perpetual high heat and humidity. This environment was indeed a killer of many things, not just plated cases. But it should be remembered that the plated cases, were made mainly in the 30's; this was a period that followed the Great Crash of 1929, and the ensueing Great Depression that followed, culminating in the Second World War. I will not go too deeply into the history of the period, sufficing to say that it was a period of extreme and widespread poverty, leading to trade wars between countries trying to protect their own employment and industries, and untimately leading to a great military war that involved the whole World!

During these distressed times, watch manufacturers struggled, like everyone else, and there was a need to bring out products that the meagre market could afford. Hence the plated case as an alternative to the precious metal cases( gold and silver). Stainless Steel was just making its advent, and was a difficult material for the metal working machines that the watch manufacturers used. New machines had to be invented, and it was, from a manufacturing point of view, a challenge, and a costly affair to make jewellery grade items, like fine watch cases, from a very hard material. Plated cases had a place during those challenging times.

Few of these have survived today; firstly , because they were not very durable, being subject to corrosion and breakage (the metal being brittle in nature), and secondly, they were not highly regarded by collectors and owners , being made of base metal. Even fewer that were sold in the Tropics have survived, for reasons already mentioned.

It is interesting to note that in all the examples below, the caseback is made of stainless steel, but thin gauge pressed steel, not the 'monoblock" CBs we see today.

Just to set the record straight.

On a separate matter, but still relating to Matt's 3525,it has been said that the dial, among other things, is wrong. The "ROLEX" legend MUST be written in an Arch, not linearly, as in Matt's watch. While it is true that nearly all 3525s seems to be arched ROLEXs, there has been argument that rare lineear ROLEXs do exist. I have just founnd pics of variants to the Arched ROLEX. For those of you who have the Mondani publication ROLEX, COLLECTING MODERN AND VINTAGE WATCHES, BY O PATRIZZI, in 2 volumes, Pg 137 , Vol 2, shows a 3525 with a linear ROLEX legend, and another one , with no legends at all! I know there will be haws and hems, and while I do not consider Patrizzi God, he is nevertheless much respected, including by me.












about their flagship watch the 3525 POW Monobloc which already was produced in solid SS within the same serial numbers as Matt's watch?
Last edited by greenoysters on January 30th, 2012, 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 9th, 2011, 9:36 am

January 30th, 2012, 7:29 am #8

is mentioned. Yes 408 pages!
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Joined: November 22nd, 2004, 10:13 am

January 30th, 2012, 8:28 am #9

Thanks, Larry. Some more interesting information! Aside from the difficulty you mentioned, i think also the milling machinery at that time were being developed to mill more sophisticated shapes. I remember that the Princes which came out in steel all had rather simple shapes. At least, I have not come across a steel Branchard.
1. My primary point was that Rolex would be unlikely to make different cases for the colonies versus Europe, not that plated cases are not available for the "African " market from other brands, Even though we can see this is a poor design idea.

2. SS Brancards are extremely rare but here is one.( mine)
Most are plated rather than true SScases.



I think hopefully we may get an answer from Geneva soon

Julian
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Joined: July 9th, 2011, 9:36 am

January 30th, 2012, 8:35 am #10

is mentioned. Yes 408 pages!
Matt, for all my chronos I first sent a letter to the lake
and received this type of answer (meaning in short) :

"We can confirm the serial correspond in our archives to a 3525 chronograph
but the present document DOES NOT ATTEST YOUR WATCH IS GENUINE, we advise you
to have the watch 'DEEPLY' checked by our services".

This is why each of my chronos went to Geneva for certification. My advice is to
call them and ask if you can send the watch.



edit to add this comment : When I went to Paris RSC to have the 3525 "deeply" checked they told me that ANYWAY they would send the watch to Geneva as they were the only ones that could say yes or no. So I went to Geneva myself.
Last edited by greenoysters on January 30th, 2012, 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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