Rolex Bubbleback

Sold
Sold
SKU AS00644
SKU AS00644

Why We Love it

The original Rolex Oyster manually winding watch was a technical and commercial success, but the customers proved problematic.

A waterproof watch with a screw down crown was a novelty in the early 20th century, and customers did not understand the importance of keeping the crown secured before getting the watch wet. Since the crown would have to be unscrewed daily to wind the watch, customers had ample chance to forget to screw it back in, and many did, then attempted to return their waterproof watches to jewelers as being “defective”.

Rolex had built a watch with an accurate movement and waterproof case, but they had to come up with a solution to their problem with user error. Enter the automatic winding watch, which only required the crown to be opened for occasional resetting of the time.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Rolex attached an auto-winding mechanism to an existing manual movement, and the thickness that this arrangement added necessitated a bulging case back, the distinct feature that earned the Bubbleback moniker. Many of Rolex's competitors used automatic movements built from the ground up, yet this proved to be a poor approach for two important reasons. Firstly, the Rolex movements could be wound manually from the crown unlike the competing models - a feature that was popular with customers who didn’t yet trust the new invention. Secondly, the manually-wound base was easily recognizable by watchmakers who were often hesitant to work on the new-fangled automatic movements.

This particular Bubbleback is in fantastic shape, even more so considering it dates from the mid-1940s, with a rose gold case, patinated white dial with rose gold Roman numerals, blued seconds hand and decorated rose gold bezel. The Bubbleback case has a pleasing thickness that makes the watch wear extremely well for its size.

Most Bubblebacks on the market have seen better days, and it’s rare to find an example that has aged so gracefully. This example is one of the few good ones, and in today’s most popular color of gold. 

It's not every day that a 70-year-old feels this relevant and looks this good on the wrist.

A:S Guarantee

+

Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

+

All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Rolex Bubbleback

Rolex Bubbleback

Sold
Sold
Rolex Bubbleback

Why We Love it

The original Rolex Oyster manually winding watch was a technical and commercial success, but the customers proved problematic.

A waterproof watch with a screw down crown was a novelty in the early 20th century, and customers did not understand the importance of keeping the crown secured before getting the watch wet. Since the crown would have to be unscrewed daily to wind the watch, customers had ample chance to forget to screw it back in, and many did, then attempted to return their waterproof watches to jewelers as being “defective”.

Rolex had built a watch with an accurate movement and waterproof case, but they had to come up with a solution to their problem with user error. Enter the automatic winding watch, which only required the crown to be opened for occasional resetting of the time.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Rolex attached an auto-winding mechanism to an existing manual movement, and the thickness that this arrangement added necessitated a bulging case back, the distinct feature that earned the Bubbleback moniker. Many of Rolex's competitors used automatic movements built from the ground up, yet this proved to be a poor approach for two important reasons. Firstly, the Rolex movements could be wound manually from the crown unlike the competing models - a feature that was popular with customers who didn’t yet trust the new invention. Secondly, the manually-wound base was easily recognizable by watchmakers who were often hesitant to work on the new-fangled automatic movements.

This particular Bubbleback is in fantastic shape, even more so considering it dates from the mid-1940s, with a rose gold case, patinated white dial with rose gold Roman numerals, blued seconds hand and decorated rose gold bezel. The Bubbleback case has a pleasing thickness that makes the watch wear extremely well for its size.

Most Bubblebacks on the market have seen better days, and it’s rare to find an example that has aged so gracefully. This example is one of the few good ones, and in today’s most popular color of gold. 

It's not every day that a 70-year-old feels this relevant and looks this good on the wrist.

A:S Guarantee

+

Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

+

All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Inquire

Thank you for your interest in the Rolex Bubbleback. Please fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly.