T-39 Crystals - More Trouble than They're worth?

Vintage Rolex Discussion

T-39 Crystals - More Trouble than They're worth?

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 2:34 am

August 11th, 2012, 5:59 pm #1

Gents:

I recently purchased a 1665 (AWESOME!) and it has a T-39 service crystal. I love the domed look and how it plays with the appearance of the dial at all different angles. However, I have seen pics of the original T-39s and even more height and less step looks even better!

As I've been doing my research the past month or so, I've come across a bunch of posts. It seems like the T-39s have a number of problems: fakes abound out there, seal could be questionable, possibility of minute cracks, possibility of letting moisture in, etc. etc.

So, I guess my question is: With all the apparent potholes out there on the (apparently long) road to finding a genuine T-39, are they worth it? And, where do you even begin the search?

Thanks gents for the help and advice. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

V/R

Mike
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 28th, 2007, 5:43 pm

August 11th, 2012, 6:09 pm #2

You know...Rolex didn't invent the plexi crystal. I realize that they have very exacting specifications. I also know that they for many years did not make a good deal of the things used in manufacturing their watches including their crystals.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that a good quality European crystal is equal to the quality of the genuine article.

I'm not saying that all aftermarket crystals are good or should be even considered...but let's be realistic other watch companies also use plexi crystals on their older models...and they are satisfactory.

My main issue with aftermarket crystals has been the specifications of the OD. Often times they are slightly too big around and they stretch the crystal retainer ring or bezel and when one returns to an OEM crystal...you can no longer get a seal with your stretched bezel.

Other than this issue...there is absolutely no reason that comes to mind why a plexi crystal made outside of the Rolex umbrella would be any less effective in keeping your watch secure.

Enlighten me if my logic is flawed.

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 2:34 am

August 11th, 2012, 6:22 pm #3

Oh, I wasn't trying to compare aftermarket to genuine. I was actually just thinking: Should I stick with the T-39 service crystal I currently have in my watch, or do I try to hunt down an original T-39.

V/R

mike
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 14th, 2009, 12:18 am

August 11th, 2012, 6:32 pm #4

And don't really need it waterproof. Do change. Looks awesome.

If you use it for for what it once was intended for. Stay safe with a service crystal.

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 14th, 2007, 3:10 pm

August 11th, 2012, 6:37 pm #5

he explained to me that while the T-39 crystals or T-19 super domes look cool, they often are the #1 reason for problems for vintage watches - because of stress cracks that you cannot even see just because of age - he even explain that you need to realize that while even if a crystal is NOS, it has begun to already decompose so to speak and offers less protection than a service crystal which he felt gives older watches a better shot at staying as far away from the elements that cause damage as possible - i think there is some good wisdom to this.

best
S
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 14th, 2009, 12:18 am

August 11th, 2012, 6:44 pm #6



Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 28th, 2007, 5:43 pm

August 11th, 2012, 6:49 pm #7

Why aren't we looking for a suitable European replacement crystal that mimics the look of the original domed 19's and 39's... that exhibit the same or better quality control in manufacture as the originals...

The problem seems to be in the age...not in the design.

Heck why doesn't some entrepreneur approach one of the crystal manufacturers about a proper repro...or do they already exist and because we are superstitious....about it not being a "Rolex" branded crystal that they did not manufacture anyway...we don't go there.

Just food for thought.


Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 14th, 2007, 3:10 pm

August 11th, 2012, 6:54 pm #8

i think you have a wonderful take on this and it would be great if we could find that - the only issue with this is some people would only want rolex parts - for me i could care less if rolex or yamaha as long as the proper protection was there but i dont know where to begin with this one - maybe someone is reading this and can have the correct contacts do take on a project such as this - sounds good to me

i wonder why rolex didnt just make new crystals look the same as the vintage ones - that is what i cannot figure out - maybe so it is easy to tell whats what?

best

s
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 28th, 2007, 5:43 pm

August 11th, 2012, 7:03 pm #9

I think probably....new models...before sapphire...got new style crystals to modernize the look of the watch and they just brought everything up to current.

They think we are crazy anyway.

A proper plexi crystal should cost about 20.00.

Rolex only charges 20.00 but since they are so difficult to obtain...you will pay 100.00 even for a new one.
Last edited by RolexWatchTime on August 11th, 2012, 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 2:34 am

August 11th, 2012, 7:09 pm #10

You know...Rolex didn't invent the plexi crystal. I realize that they have very exacting specifications. I also know that they for many years did not make a good deal of the things used in manufacturing their watches including their crystals.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that a good quality European crystal is equal to the quality of the genuine article.

I'm not saying that all aftermarket crystals are good or should be even considered...but let's be realistic other watch companies also use plexi crystals on their older models...and they are satisfactory.

My main issue with aftermarket crystals has been the specifications of the OD. Often times they are slightly too big around and they stretch the crystal retainer ring or bezel and when one returns to an OEM crystal...you can no longer get a seal with your stretched bezel.

Other than this issue...there is absolutely no reason that comes to mind why a plexi crystal made outside of the Rolex umbrella would be any less effective in keeping your watch secure.

Enlighten me if my logic is flawed.
See, I knew this question would spark a little discussion.

Everyone (well, almost everyone?) loves that domed look. But there appear to be some drawbacks in obtaining one: hard to find, lots of fakes (not reproductions, just straight up fakes - and I think there is a difference), minute cracks, etc.

This is why I am torn. I love the look, and would not mind keeping the watch out of water. But, as Scott points out, from the mouth of the man himself Mr. Bob R, even that may not be enough in the long run.

I am a big proponent of the "watches were meant to be worn, not put in a safe" school of thought, but these T-39s seem to make me pause. And I'm wondering if that is unnecessary given my non-water use of my 1665? Of course, this is all if anyone can even track down a genuine one - back to square one! HA!

Thanks for the thoughts so far, gents. Cool discussion going on.

V/R

Mike
Quote
Like
Share