Last updated on April 15, 2021
In my current search for an antique hunter cased pocket watch, I stumbled across what I would consider being the Holy Grail, this Rolex pocket watch from c1915. As my luck would have it, some other collector also saw this as their Holy Grail and bought it before I had the chance. Nevertheless, in the post, we will take a look at this beautiful antique pocket watch. I found this watch on the Atlam Watches website. I have dealt with Atlam Watches in person and they offer outstanding customer service.
Rolex pocket watch c.1915
This is a Rolex full hunter pocket watch, which is in near mint condition with only a few minor blemishes on the outer case. In my opinion, it is in a totally acceptable condition. As I have mentioned in some of my other posts, part of the charm of antique watches is that they have been used by previous owners. The minor blemishes are signs of this use, it means it was a practical timepiece. That said, I’m looking for antique timepieces that are in 90% mint condition or better. From what I can see in the photos and from the seller’s comments on the website, this watch satisfies my criteria.
The case is made by Dennison and is stamped with the Moon hallmark. The website states that the watch is gold plated, but my research suggests that the Moon hallmark indicates the watch is gold-filled. The Moon hallmark means that the watch case was guaranteed, by Dennison, to last for 20 years of daily use. In terms of value, a gold-filled pocket watch is certainly going to be more valuable, than simple gold plate.
The watch measures 51mm wide x 13mm deep. It has a hinged hunter cover, which pops open when the crown is depressed. This is important to me as I want a functional hunter cased watch. It’s not practical if I have to ‘assist’ the case in opening every time I need to use the watch. Many of the antique pocket watches I have seen online mention that assistance is required, this is something you should definitely check with the seller before you buy. It’s also important to remember that you can extend the life of the case spring by depressing the crown when you close the hunter case.
The case also has an outer case back and an inner dust cover to protect the movement. The website rates the case as 90% mint, which I would agree with. There is a light bruise on the front and some light surface scratches. Additionally, from the pictures, I can see some of the base metal on the bow and the side of the case. Considering this is well past the 20-year Dennison guarantee, it is totally acceptable. I imagine a new gold plate could be applied to the watch to disguise this wear, but this is something I would never consider. The wear and tear is part of the charm of an antique pocket watch.
The nickel bridge movement has a lever escapement with a micrometer regulator and a capped escape wheel bridge. The movement is signed “Rolex Extra Prima, 17 Jewels, Timed 6 positions and temperature, Swiss Made”. The movement is in 90% mint condition with some very minor blemishes. At the time this watch was made Rolex movements were stamped with one of three quality rating based on accuracy, Prima, Extra Prima and Ultra Prima. This pocket watch is obviously in the middle category.
The movement has also been adjusted to six positions and for temperature. From my research, the temperature adjustment involves using different metals in the construction of the balance wheel. This is to minimise the effect of temperature on the balance wheel. It is a 17 jewel movement, which was a high standard at the time this watch was made. The jewels are clearly visible on the movement and are made from synthetic rubies.
Dial and lens
The white enamel dial has a full set of blue steel hands and is listed as 95% mint condition. I can’t see any obvious blemishes from the photographs and I suspect any marks are probably not noticeable to the naked eye. The watch lens is mineral glass and there is no mention of any marks or scratches. The watch has a stem-wind, stem-set movement. There is no mention of timekeeping on the website, but I am sure that Atlam could have provided an accuracy report if needed. My personal requirement would be that the watch is accurate within 2 minutes over the course of a day, otherwise, it is not practical to use.
The watch comes with a vintage Rolex box, which I assume was the original. I just wish I had found this listing before the watch sold. It ticks all of the boxes for me, assuming it met my accuracy requirement. It’s a presentable antique pocket watch from one of the most famous names in horology. Some lucky collector owns this watch and I jealously hope they are enjoying it.