Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
In 1933, an ad for a Rolex Oyster featured a smiling Sir Malcolm Campbell in his racing getup.
“272 Miles Per Hour with Sir Malcolm Campbell,” the ad ran.
The ad referenced Sir Malcolm’s shattering of his own world record, which he had set the previous year at Daytona Beach. It was a triumph, both for Sir Malcolm and for British engineering. And it was a long time coming, for Sir Malcolm had spent the better part of a decade in chasing it.
For years he had been in fierce competition with his nemesis, Henry Segrave, who was knighted in 1929 for reaching 231 mph in his Golden Arrow. Enraged by Segrave’s victory, Campbell (then just Mr. Malcolm Campbell) scoured the globe for a new locale to attempt the world record once more, ending up in Africa during monsoon season. When he returned to Cape Town, he found that Segrave had died—killed when attempting to set the world sea record.
Fearing competition from American drivers, Campbell set out for Daytona, where he set a new world record: 246 mph, for which he was knighted.
The next year, he set the bar even higher, reaching 251 mph… but that was not enough for Sir Malcolm.
In February 1933, Sir Malcolm returned to Daytona in his Blue Bird, which he had designed with Reid Railton. With a sleek aerodynamic design dominated by a tail fin, the Blue Bird was a Modernist work of art on wheels. But far from being merely aesthetic, the Blue Bird was powered by a 36.7 liter Rolls-Royce R V12 engine with an astounding 2300 horsepower.
News crews and spectators watched as Sir Malcolm piloted the Blue Bird down the hard-packed sands, which looked to the crew from Pathé like a “four wheeled steak of lighting.”
The watch that Sir Malcolm wore when he broke this land speed record was, of course, a Rolex Oyster—which, according to a cable that he sent to Rolex, was “still going splendidly notwithstanding rough usage received.”
He could not have chosen a watch better suited for the pursuit. Ever since the debut of the Oyster case a few years before, sportsmen from Sri Lanka to Scotland strapped Rolex Oysters to their wrists. Its “watertight, dustproof, perspiration proof” construction, or so another ad ran, allowed it to “[defy] the elements permanently.”
1930 saw the debut of a two-piece Oyster cushion case, which was available in gold, chrome, steel, or—in the case of this watch, a Reference 2327—sterling silver.
With its cushion case, enamel dial, and onion crown, it’s typical of Oysters from the late 1920s or early 1930s, similar in looks to the kind Sir Malcolm wore. While its diminutive size and elegant blued steel feuille hands might give it touches of refinement, the words engraved on the movement speak to its sporting nature: “for all climates.” Whether just riding about town or setting a world speed record of your own, it’s the perfect choice.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
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.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
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.