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      The appeal of Rolex

      Rolex is still a very popular brand among both men and women, but there are also many wonderful vintage pieces.

      Here, we will introduce the representative models that can be called the greatest masterpieces that Rolex has created to date: the Bubbleback, Daytona, and Submariner, so please read to the end.

      The History and Appeal of the Rolex Bubbleback

      Click here to see the charm of Bubbleback in a video ↓

      The Bubble Back was born in 1933 as the world's first waterproof watch and was in production until 1955.

      In the second half of the 1920s, watch manufacturers were competing more and more fiercely to develop the technology to create automatic movements.

      Meanwhile, in 1931, Rolex began producing watches based on a model designed by Ebauer, a caliber manufacturer.

      There was a race to develop automatic movements, but it does not seem that each company was developing them with the aim of making waterproof watches.

      This is because, at the time, Rolex's Bubble Back was the market leader in waterproof watches, and no other company could follow suit.

      Rolex understood that a movement housed in an airtight waterproof case needed to be automatic, so it appears that they developed an automatic movement with waterproof functionality.

      This was the "autorotor," which would later become the basis for the automatic winding perpetual mechanism.

      Rolex Autorotor

      Then, in 1931, the “Perpetual” automatic winding mechanism, which did not require winding, was completed.

      Rolex Oyster Perpetual poster advertisement

      It was a manually wound movement with an automatic winding mechanism that had a rotor that rotated 360 degrees both clockwise and counterclockwise.

      This was simpler than the "bumper" type that had been released at the time, but it was more efficient at winding and more durable.

      As a result, the rotor was mounted on top of the manually-wound base movement; to achieve this, the back cover was expanded and a thick rotor was pushed in; because this rotor appears to be inflated like a bubble, it came to be called a " Bubble Back."

      What is the Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman"?

      If you would like to watch a video about the history and appeal of Paul Newman, please click here.

      The Paul Newman design was derived from the Daytona, and as we will explain in more detail later, it was named after the actor and racer Paul Newman, who wore the watch while racing.

      By the way, Paul Newman was a nickname, and at the time, Rolex called this special dial the "exotic dial."

      However, it is not true that Paul Newman films are still being made today.

      This model was produced from 1963 to 1972, but has not been produced since then.

      So, this is a dial that is only found on vintage watches.

      During this period, up to the third generation was born, and to be precise, there are also derivatives, but for ease of understanding, we will divide them into these two patterns here.

      The two patterns differ in the material of the bezel.

      The first has a stainless steel case and the second has a black plastic bezel.

      Please see the image below↓

      Rolex Daytona Reference Classification Stainless Steel and Plastic Bezel

      The top bezel is steel and the bottom bezel is plastic.

      Then, from left to right, we move on to the 1st to 3rd generations.

      Here we see the Paul Newman models up to the third generation, of which two bezels were available for each generation.

      So let's take a look at the differences between the regular model and the Paul Newman model.

      Rolex Daytona Paul Newman model vs. regular model Ref.6239

      The one on the left is the Paul Newman model and the one on the right is the regular model.

      At first glance, you probably won't notice any differences, but there are four easy ways to tell it apart from the regular Daytona version.

      Please see the image below.

      Rolex-Paul Newman Dial Dial Features.jpg

      Firstly, there is a cube-shaped marking extending from the line inside the inner dial.

      Secondly, the numbers on the sub-dial have a distinctive design that is different from the typical Arabic numerals that were popular during the Art Deco period.

      The third feature is the cube-shaped indexes attached to the outer circumference, which are consistent with the sub-dials.

      The fourth problem is that the sub-dial displays 15, 30, 45, 60 instead of 20, 40, 60.

      The main differences are the four points above, and if you know them, I think you'll be able to easily distinguish it from the regular model.

      The production period was from 1963 to 1972, which was a short period, and even then, only about 30% of the Paul Newman models were produced.

      The movement used in the first to third generations was a converted mechanical movement, Valjoux Cal. 72, and from the fourth generation onwards, Zenith's El Primero was used.

      I'll explain the movement in more detail later.

      Exotic dials can be found on these six vintage Rolex Daytona chronographs:

      The references up to the third generation are summarized below.

      First generation
      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6239

      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6241

      Second Generation

      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6262

      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6263

      Third Generation

      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6264

      - Rolex Daytona ref. 6265

      These watches also come in two dial variations; white and black.

      Price: (minimum) $100,000 to $17.8 million

      Approximately 10 to 18 million yen at an exchange rate of 100 yen to the dollar

      Prices vary depending on the condition, so there is a wide range.

      The Birth of the Submariner and Its Present-Day Legacy

      If you would like to watch a video about the history and appeal of the Submariner, please click here ↓

      In the late 1940s, a growing number of scuba diving professionals were born, and a diving boom began among the general public as well.

      Rolex then realized that professional divers wanted a waterproof watch that could be used at deep seas.

      They began developing a diver's watch based on the concepts of "100% reliable water resistance against water pressure," "visibility that can be read even under dark water," and "ensuring the safety of divers by recording time."

      As you know, the first Submariner was born in 1953 and was Rolex's first diver's watch.

      The original model, Reference 6204, featured a robust stainless steel case and bracelet, a rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale for recording dive time, and was guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres.

      The deep sea is darker than we might imagine, making visibility poor, so the indexes and hands are coated with radium luminous paint to ensure visibility in such environments, making it an indispensable support item for divers.

      The following year, in 1954, Rolex released the Ref. 6200, which increased water resistance to 200m, and Rolex's diver's watches began to become popular among professionals.

      Although the Submariner was a huge hit, it underwent a major model change in 1959.

      The previous 38mm case size was changed to a 40mm case with a crown guard in the new Ref. 5512 , making the style more robust.

      This shape is the Submariner we are familiar with, and although there have been some improvements since 1959, it has not undergone any major changes and is an extremely long-selling model even among Rolexes.

      Now, let's take a look at the Submariner, from the earliest model to the third-generation model.

      By the way, the first three models are 38mm in size and do not have a crown guard.

      Rolex Submariner First Model Ref:6204 Equipped with Cal.A260 movement

      Rolex Submariner First Model Ref:6204 Equipped with Cal.A260 movement

      The birth of the first Submariner dates back to 1953.

      The first model is thought to be the Ref. 6204.

      Although it does not have a crown guard, there are not many differences compared to the current Submariner, and you can see that the design from that time has been retained.

      Designed for professional divers, the Submariner was equipped with a rotating bezel that could record the elapsed time of the dive and was the first diver's watch guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 meters.

      The movement is equipped with a full rotation unidirectional winding automatic winding caliber A260, and is housed in a waterproof Oyster case.

      In this movement, the rotor can rotate in both directions, but the mainspring can only be wound in one direction.

      The automatic movements of the time still had issues with their rotors, so they were thick and had a semi-bubble back that was bulged to prevent the rotor from hitting the watch.

      The original was Ref. 6204, but it was changed to Ref. 6205 the following year, so it was only produced for a year, making it a rare model that can no longer be seen today.

      There are two dial patterns: a mirror dial and a honeycomb dial with guilloche engraving.

      In fact, there is the Ref. 6205, which is classified as the same first model, but although it was released in 1954, it quickly disappeared when the second model was released in 1955.

      Rolex Submariner First Model Ref:6205

      Now let's take a look at each of the dial shapes.


      Both the hour and minute hands are pencil hands with radium luminous paint.

      The second hand has a lollipop tip so that it can be easily identified even in the deep sea where visibility is poor.


      The minutes are written in 5-minute increments, with 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 marked in Arabic numerals and the rest marked in bar indexes.


      Rolex: Crown of the first Submariner (Ref. 6204)

      The crown comes with the crown mark and the Swiss "+" mark as default.

      This concludes the introduction of the first model, but in the early days of the Submariner, a 200m water resistant model was also released at the same time.

      So, next let's take a look at the 200m waterproof model, which is classified as the first model.

      Rolex Submariner First Model Ref:6200 Equipped with Cal.A296 movement

      Rolex Submariner First Model Ref:6200 Equipped with Cal.A296 movement

      Valjoux, a prestigious chronograph manufacturer

      The most famous company when it comes to chronograph movements is probably Valjoux.

      This company is world-famous, and of course Rolex also uses Valjoux movements.

      Currently, Rolex develops its own movements and all models are equipped with Rolex movements, but that was not the case in the past.

      Now, let me explain about Valjoux, the company used by Rolex.

      Many people are familiar with Valjoux movements, but perhaps not many know what kind of company Valjoux is in the first place.

      The word "Valjoux", the name of the Valjoux company, comes from the French word for "Valley de Joux", which is the name of a valley in Switzerland.

      It was founded in 1901 in a town near the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.

      The founders are the Raymond brothers.

      Initially, the company was named Raymond after the brothers, and the movement also had the initial "R" of Raymond engraved on it.

      Raymond's chronograph movements, made with high-level technical skill, quickly became famous and were adopted by many top manufacturers.

      The company name was changed from Raymond to Valjoux when the ownership was taken over by the Raymond family. At that time, production was improved and the company expanded.

      And it has launched many movements into the world.

      Even today, only the most prestigious manufacturers use Valjoux movements.

      Of course, there is Rolex, but also Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Minerva, Heuer, and many more.

      Valjoux continued to grow, and by 1942 production of basic movements exceeded 60,000.

      Then in 1944, the company joined the Evojeux Manufacturing Companies Federation.

      In the 1970s, quartz began to show signs of growth. Feeling a sense of crisis, Evojeu joined ETA in 1982 to compete with them, and became part of the Switch Group.

      The movement currently known as the "ETA Valjoux 7750" and used in chronographs by many top manufacturers is the Cal. 7750, a major improvement over the Cal. 7740 that Valjoux developed in 1973.

      This movement is still in production today.

      And to this day, the name of the movement still includes the name "Valjoux".

      This perhaps shows the great influence that Valjoux had on the chronograph.

      For more information about the history of Valjoux and its role in the watch industry, please watch this video: