Rolex Oyster Perpetual Model Ref. 1003 9ct 1956
Founded in 1905 in England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, the partnership soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving to its new Geneva headquarters in 1919. The success of the wristwatch can be largely attributed to many of Rolex’s innovations which made the company one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These have included its famous “Oyster” case — the world’s first water-resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and its “Perpetual” — the world’s first reliable, self-winding movement for the wristwatch, launched in 1933. These would form the foundation for Rolex’s Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956. Also and equally importantly, Rolex is known for its sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master, launched in the mid-1950s.
A highly elegant Rolex Oyster Perpetual in 9ct yellow gold from 1956. This is Rolex model reference 1003, with the Calibre 1560, 26 Jewel Chronometer grade movement which is superbly accurate and reliable, even by current day standards. The movement has been overhauled and serviced and is in sparkling condition.
At 35mm in diameter, excluding the Rolex crown, this is a large-sized watch by the standards of the period. This watch case also carries the more understated and sought after plain bezel.
This watch has an original, unrestored and untouched dial in beautiful condition.
The early 1950s original and untouched ivory cream dial carries applied Arabic hour indices, matched with original unrestored ‘leaf’ hands. This particular dial with 1 – 12 Arabic (standard) numerals is particularly hard to find and highly sought after. The ivory cream of the dial provides a beautifully subtle contrast against the yellow gold watch case, hour indices and hands.
This is a beautifully elegant and simple dial. We think the combination of the Arabic numerals, combined with the ‘leaf’ hands is just wonderful. In terms of symmetry, purity and elegance, we also feel the absence of a date function is preferred as this enables the dial to retain its balance. Just perfect!
As this dial is in original, unrestored condition, this has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
The dial is signed with the applied gilt Rolex brand and Coronet at 12 and with ‘Oyster Perpetual’ below. Above the 6 the dial carries the correct early ‘Officially Certified Chronometer script’ and also carries ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial. All in all, this is a very attractive, classic and understated 1950s original Oyster Perpetual dial.
The watch carries its original very high grade ‘Superlative Chronometer’ Calibre 1560, 26 Jewel automatic movement which here is in sparklingly clean condition. The movement has been fully overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means it has been fully dismantled to all its component parts, before ultrasonic cleaning, microscope inspection and replacement of parts with new originals where required. Then careful reassembly and oiling ready for final testing and calibration. The watch is now running perfectly having been calibrated and timed at +7 seconds per day, which is truly outstanding for any watch of this age. It is therefore ready for many more years of reliable service. This movement has a 44 hour power reserve when fully wound.
The movement is all correctly signed ‘MONTRES ROLEX SA GENEVA’, ‘SWISS’, and ‘TWENTY SIX JEWELS’ with the Calibre number 1560 and the serial number 99353.
These Chronometer grade movements are very strong, very accurate and very reliable making this watch perfectly suitable for evening wear and everyday use. This particular movement is in superb A1 condition and with regular servicing, every 3 – 4 years, we would fully expect this watch to run happily for many more years to come! We are pleased to offer a 12 month warranty on this watch movement*.
*Please note – our 12 month warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The 9ct yellow gold case is in wonderful condition and measures 35mm, excluding the original Rolex signed Oyster screw-down crown. The case has been professionally cleaned, carefully inspected and lightly polished and is immaculate with no scratches, dings or other damage, visible to the naked eye. The original and sought after early 9ct gold plain bezel is often preferred for its cleaner, simpler look.
Inside the case-back, all the markings are correct and as expected with the Rolex signature: ‘Rolex Geneva Switzerland’, along with Geneva Swiss 9ct hallmarks. The case also carries the Rolex model reference number 1003.
The watch case serial number 575843 confirms the date of manufacture of this watch as 1956.
Please note – even though this watch was specified as waterproof when new and the rubber seals have been replaced on the case-back and crown, the water resistance of this watch has not been tested and is not guaranteed. As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
This watch is fitted with a high quality black leather strap and gold-plated Rolex buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of straps if you wish here.
The Box and Papers
Genuine original documents with a watch of this age are very rare and although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1956.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The Rolex presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.
This is a truly first-class example of a 1950s vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual which is ready to wear and completely practical for everyday use. If treated with care, it will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece and even though vintage gold Rolex prices have risen markedly recently, we still feel good examples such as this are still undervalued. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage gold Rolex watches continues to expand, prices will continue to climb ever higher.
To summarise, this is a truly rare and highly collectable vintage watch from horology’s most famous name, which is ready to wear, use, treasure and enjoy. It will provide excellent reliability and a sound financial investment – as long-lasting as the watch itself!
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
If you have any questions please call us on our Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250 or if calling from overseas, on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.
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- Store Name: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
- Vendor: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
96 Kensington High Street
United Kingdom (UK)
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