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Thread: The search for a vintage Rolex is stressing me out.

  1. #1
    Master
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    The search for a vintage Rolex is stressing me out.

    I've been looking for a vintage Rolex sub or sea dweller for around 4 months now and the search is going to finish me off.

    I'm pretty sure I will end up with either a 1665 or a 5513 (not a fan of cyclops) but the amount of variations is too much. I have researched them and I'm pretty sure I know all the differences but too me they are all much or a muchness.

    I thought I would ask people for their opinions on what is a good model. I know I want a maxi dial but barring that I am fairly open minded. They all look the same and ones with notable differences like a drsd command huge premiums. I need to act quick as I started looking at vintage speedys now too.

    I'm guessing I'm not the only one going through this.

    I looked at M&J watches who have some nice watches. Anyone used these?

  2. #2
    Why not contact mike woods?

    I'm pretty sure he could source you something.
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  3. #3
    Master
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    Plan was to decide on something first.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    Plan was to decide on something first.
    So you want me to pick you a watch and tell you where to buy it.

    Here's my wallet as well!!

    :)
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  5. #5
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    I've been looking for a vintage Rolex sub or sea dweller for around 4 months now and the search is going to finish me off.

    I'm pretty sure I will end up with either a 1665 or a 5513 (not a fan of cyclops) but the amount of variations is too much. I have researched them and I'm pretty sure I know all the differences but too me they are all much or a muchness.

    I thought I would ask people for their opinions on what is a good model. I know I want a maxi dial but barring that I am fairly open minded. They all look the same and ones with notable differences like a drsd command huge premiums. I need to act quick as I started looking at vintage speedys now too.

    I'm guessing I'm not the only one going through this.

    I looked at M&J watches who have some nice watches. Anyone used these?

    Hi JP
    There is 2 gorgeous looking 1665 on SC right now

  6. #6
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    a nice 5513 recently serviced, with service papers in original condition, pre 1983, two liner maybe, with lovely even Patina across the hands and markers.

    find that at no more than 5500 and you cant go wrong, maybe a bit more

  7. #7
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Vintage Rolex is a minefield amongst minefields TBH.

    I have dabbled in the past and would be very wary to tread the path again.

    Originality is king and comes at a heavy price. Some see service replacement parts as detracting from a vintage piece it can be unbelievably expensive to source original period parts to reverse engineer a watch you have bought.

    Personally I would stick to known people with history in this market if you are considering going down the dealer route.

    Good luck!
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  8. #8
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by newsboy View Post
    Hi JP
    There is 2 gorgeous looking 1665 on SC right now
    I had my SC access revoked. My plan was to go in and speak to a dealer with regards to this purchase. As mentioned they seem to be a minefield and I think I'd want to speak to someone and put their knowledge of the watch to the test. I want to try and find something that I will keep.

    I was offered a great 5513 on here but couldn't shift enough in time to get it.

    I am thinking a Mark V 5513 or a similar aged 1665.

  9. #9
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    It took about me 6 months or so to find mine.
    Glad I waited though, full set, original receipt the full works



  10. #10
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    It wears a faded thin font insert at the moment but i have a correct MK3 one that just needs the pearl

  11. #11
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newsboy View Post
    It wears a faded thin font insert at the moment but i have a correct fat font MK3 one that just needs the pearl

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    I had my SC access revoked.

  13. #13
    Master
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    Believe me, if you are looking for a 1665 you will not find better than the two John is selling on SC at the moment, priced at 10k and 11k they are beauties, if I didnt already have one then I wouldnt hesitate, if you can't get on SC and are interested drop me a pm and I will put you in touch.
    Post edited.
    Whoops sorry didnt realise it was you, offer withdrawn.
    Last edited by bobdog; 5th September 2015 at 23:28.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newsboy View Post
    It took about me 6 months or so to find mine.
    Glad I waited though, full set, original receipt the full works


    such a pity that its been re-cased at some point, would have been a cracker, lovely watch all the same.

  15. #15
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    The two 1665s for sale here are stunning watches, but I do think the prices are a little high. You can find a good 1665 from about 7.5k at several of the major UK grey dealers, a bit more for a rail dial and there is a premium to pay for original papers. I would ignore the hype about boxes, booklets and toys etc - anyone can put those together.

    There are a few good 1665s on e-bay at the moment, but obviously treat e-bay with caution and do your research on the sellers and the watch for sale, but there is a nice rail dial in the UK for under 10k which seems like a good deal.

    I bought a DRSD this year and my advice would be to buy from someone who is a bricks and mortar dealer and is highly regarded in their field. Mike Wood at The Old Watch Shop in Southport had two 1665 Great Whites for sale earlier this year for under 8k and it might be worth contacting him to see what he has or could obtain.

    Don't rush in to scratch an itch. I did that an heavily overpaid for a 16800. Take your time and find the right watch.

  16. #16
    There is a seller-nbTimes on Timezone who has tons of vintage Rolexes
    Prices are a little high but stuff is good
    From Hongkong
    Have a look at Timezone- Showcase

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundood View Post
    such a pity that its been re-cased at some point, would have been a cracker, lovely watch all the same.
    How can you tell it's been re-cased?


    I m looking at vintage now and any tips on how to tell things like this would be great

  18. #18
    I recently completed my search for a matte dial 5513 and I'm chuffed with the result. It did take a fair few months but it does pay to be patient and wait for the one, last thing you want to do is jump into a high value purchase and the regret it further down the line.

    I would agree with the comments re b&p's although these are a nice addition, I found that I would rather a great watch without than a good watch with, papers from this era were hand written and there's no guarantee they are original to the watch.

    I would make a final decision on what it is you want, IMO there is quite a variation in price between a 5513 and 1665. I would then advise you talk to the well renowned dealers (Mike Wood, Jason (@sweepinghand), Nic Green all UK and Jacek (US) to name a few. I brought mine from Nic Green and couldn't be happier.

  19. #19
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    Plenty of sellers to make note of then.

    Come on guys this is a good chance to show off your vintage pieces.

  20. #20
    I dipped my toe into the vintage world of Rolex......regretted it and lost a bit of cash. My problem is that there is always a better one out there. Unless you have some specific history with the watch I have come to the conclusion that it is best to admire from afar and to build your own history with a new watch. I know many think otherwise but I suggest you proceed with caution and if you do go ahead be prepared to spend as much as it takes to get the best possible example (and the two 1665s on SC at the moment are certainly in that category).

  21. #21
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundood View Post
    such a pity that its been re-cased at some point, would have been a cracker, lovely watch all the same.
    Please could you explain how you've come to that conclusion?

  22. #22
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    Dont bother with vintage for a few years, wait until the bubble bursts and the fad has passed, then prices will come down significantly.

  23. #23
    Master DB9yeti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    Dont bother with vintage for a few years, wait until the bubble bursts and the fad has passed, then prices will come down significantly.
    I'm trying to do that with Jaguar E-Types... the 30k cars I was looking at are now 150k.

    Some vintage is still priced OK; 5513 and 16750 spring to mind. Red writing money is just absurd now for what they are.

  24. #24
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    Dont bother with vintage for a few years, wait until the bubble bursts and the fad has passed, then prices will come down significantly.
    The bubble never bursts, it just stalls for a while before setting off again.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB9yeti View Post
    I'm trying to do that with Jaguar E-Types... the 30k cars I was looking at are now 150k.

    Some vintage is still priced OK; 5513 and 16750 spring to mind. Red writing money is just absurd now for what they are.

    What goes up can come down :) Hasnt the vintage car market crashed before? Late 90s or some such? Agree on the absurdity. Then with the abundance of franken/counterfeit stuff thats out there. Scary.

  26. #26

    I get it now

    The vintage thing wasn't a big pull for me, but seeing those dwellers in sc makes me realise how much better they look

  27. #27
    Master DB9yeti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    What goes up can come down :) Hasnt the vintage car market crashed before? Late 90s or some such? Agree on the absurdity. Then with the abundance of franken/counterfeit stuff thats out there. Scary.
    It has and it did, yeah. This one somehow seems more... stable? There is a whole culture that exists around high-end classics that didn't last time; Goodwood, LM Classic, Silverstone Classic and so on.

    Even basic stuff is mega-money money now; shop over the road has a 150k E-Type, 85k XK120 and a 30k MGA!

    Back to vintage Rolex - GMT does seem to way to bypass the lunacy to an extent. A 16750 with three bezel inserts gives everything; quickset date, matte dial, usable complication and a multitude of looks. Works on Oyster, Jubilee or strap.

    Currently trying to figure out why I don't have one...

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    The two 1665s for sale here are stunning watches, but I do think the prices are a little high. You can find a good 1665 from about 7.5k at several of the major UK grey dealers, a bit more for a rail dial and there is a premium to pay for original papers. I would ignore the hype about boxes, booklets and toys etc - anyone can put those together.

    There are a few good 1665s on e-bay at the moment, but obviously treat e-bay with caution and do your research on the sellers and the watch for sale, but there is a nice rail dial in the UK for under 10k which seems like a good deal.

    I bought a DRSD this year and my advice would be to buy from someone who is a bricks and mortar dealer and is highly regarded in their field. Mike Wood at The Old Watch Shop in Southport had two 1665 Great Whites for sale earlier this year for under 8k and it might be worth contacting him to see what he has or could obtain.

    Don't rush in to scratch an itch. I did that an heavily overpaid for a 16800. Take your time and find the right watch.
    Thanks for posting this.

    Good to hear someone's realistic price assessment rather than the typical 'great watch' comments on the SC thread.

  29. #29
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPCain86 View Post
    Plenty of sellers to make note of then.

    Come on guys this is a good chance to show off your vintage pieces.
    I agree that the price difference between a Great White and a DRSD is crazy when the only difference is those two little red lines and the word Rolex is written across the case back rather than around the top of it, but for me it was a grail watch and an itch that I had had for a number of years.

    It is the smallest of things that make all difference, take a 6k / 8k submariner and add the word comex and it is suddenly worth 45k, or even worse take a big red Daytona worth 30k and add the Paul Newman little hammers and it is suddenly worth into six figures.
    Last edited by Wallasey Runner; 7th September 2015 at 20:02.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB9yeti View Post
    It has and it did, yeah. This one somehow seems more... stable? There is a whole culture that exists around high-end classics that didn't last time; Goodwood, LM Classic, Silverstone Classic and so on.

    Even basic stuff is mega-money money now; shop over the road has a 150k E-Type, 85k XK120 and a 30k MGA!

    Back to vintage Rolex - GMT does seem to way to bypass the lunacy to an extent. A 16750 with three bezel inserts gives everything; quickset date, matte dial, usable complication and a multitude of looks. Works on Oyster, Jubilee or strap.

    Currently trying to figure out why I don't have one...
    What's a good price for an all original 16750? Id love to pick one up myself but in the last couple of months haven't seen a decent one for sale.

  31. #31
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    Facing the same issue, I settled with a modern sub. After all, it's going to be vintage in due time :-) and it will be with my patina .. Went with a 16610lv as it's a tad bit collectable, yet much easier to source as there are not that many traps as with the old ones, a nice mix with the old case and maxi dial.

  32. #32
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    Chaps

    This is a classic case of taking things far to seriously by half. You can study and research something far to much and you will end up going in ever decreasing circles to the point where the fun goes and it becomes an ordeal.

    The simple thing is to do what I did when I recently bought my Explorer Freccione. I researched facts for a couple of weeks and gained opinions on the various fora. Then I bought one that looked pretty good (not 100% perfect because it will not exist), had it serviced by an AD who pronounced it original etc.

    I now just wear it and enjoys it and have long stopped worrying about its history or bona fide.

    You buy a watch to enjoy, not fret about.

    Regards

    Mick

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by DB9yeti View Post
    It has and it did, yeah. This one somehow seems more... stable? There is a whole culture that exists around high-end classics that didn't last time; Goodwood, LM Classic, Silverstone Classic and so on.

    Even basic stuff is mega-money money now; shop over the road has a 150k E-Type, 85k XK120 and a 30k MGA!

    Back to vintage Rolex - GMT does seem to way to bypass the lunacy to an extent. A 16750 with three bezel inserts gives everything; quickset date, matte dial, usable complication and a multitude of looks. Works on Oyster, Jubilee or strap.

    Currently trying to figure out why I don't have one...
    Classic Chrome? My friend's Maserati will be making an appearance there in the not too distant future.

  34. #34
    A little bird told me that a meters first 5513 is the way to go, as they are more likely to take a hike in value into the future.
    This is where I would go if I had 7-10k to spare. Alas new clutch and flywheel on the motor has set this project back a few years!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnthemull View Post
    A little bird told me that a meters first 5513 is the way to go, as they are more likely to take a hike in value into the future.
    This is where I would go if I had 7-10k to spare. Alas new clutch and flywheel on the motor has set this project back a few years!
    Thats excellent news, I have 2 so tomorrow I will go into work and tell the boss to stick his job where the sun don't shine! Cheers John much appreciated!

  36. #36
    Last week a mate in the US bought a 1969 5513 from the estate cabinet at his local Rolex AD jewellers, 6kUS. It had a service bezel (but thankfully the old faded one was present) and a newish 93150.

    If you hold your nerve you'll find a good honest one, and don't bother with b&ps, they just take up drawer space. My lovely 77/78 maxi 5513 struggled here @ 3.5k a while back tbh, so bear that in mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soundood View Post
    such a pity that its been re-cased at some point, would have been a cracker, lovely watch all the same.
    let me state this was a drunken joke, designed to put the 'WIS fear' into newsboy, In the cold light of day maybe it was not so funny, my apologies to newsboy.

  38. #38
    Master DB9yeti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajw232 View Post
    Classic Chrome? My friend's Maserati will be making an appearance there in the not too distant future.
    Yup, they've got some nice stuff - I always assumed their prices were tippy but they are probably not these days.

  39. #39
    Master Martin123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    The bubble never bursts, it just stalls for a while before setting off again.
    It did for Rolex bubblebacks.

  40. #40
    Master Martin123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    There is a seller-nbTimes on Timezone who has tons of vintage Rolexes
    Prices are a little high but stuff is good
    From Hongkong
    Have a look at Timezone- Showcase
    Tread with care and read up on VRF the stories about this seller. He finds a lot of perfect Rolex with great chamfers!!

  41. #41
    Very true, I remember it well, a lot of big money was in BB's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin123 View Post
    It did for Rolex bubblebacks.

  42. #42
    Master ditchvisitor's Avatar
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    My neighbours 48k DB5 now looks like a shrewd purchase!!

  43. #43
    Master DB9yeti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditchvisitor View Post
    My neighbours 48k DB5 now looks like a shrewd purchase!!
    I'd say so. I umm'ed and ahh'ed at 45k :(

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB9yeti View Post
    I'd say so. I umm'ed and ahh'ed at 45k :(
    It now valued/insured for 1 mil! Pretty good investment over 11 years!

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Thanks for posting this.

    Good to hear someone's realistic price assessment rather than the typical 'great watch' comments on the SC thread.
    If only I'd thought to ask for advice from you and the Runner, I could have saved myself a fortune buying overpriced tat! :-)

  46. #46
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11erv View Post
    If only I'd thought to ask for advice from you and the Runner, I could have saved myself a fortune buying overpriced tat! :-)
    I did actually start by stating that both watches were stunning, especially the earlier one with the mark 1 dial and papers. I was simply suggesting that the OP does his homework and checks the market widely to establish what is for sale and at what price.

    I bought a 1665 Great White with a Mark 1 dial in superb condition earlier this year for 6.5k and then traded it against the DRSD. The OP has a choice if he wants a 1665, does he go for one of the more common dials, pay more for a rail dial or pay a premium for a watch that comes as a full set - his choice.

    If my post caused offence - it wasn't intended.

  47. #47
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    I did actually start by stating that both watches were stunning, especially the earlier one with the mark 1 dial and papers. I was simply suggesting that the OP does his homework and checks the market widely to establish what is for sale and at what price.

    I bought a 1665 Great White with a Mark 1 dial in superb condition earlier this year for 6.5k and then traded it against the DRSD. The OP has a choice if he wants a 1665, does he go for one of the more common dials, pay more for a rail dial or pay a premium for a watch that comes as a full set - his choice.

    If my post caused offence - it wasn't intended.
    I think the problem revolves around the fact you criticised the pricing of 2 superb watches that were offered on SC, you may have not intended to cause offence but unfortunately it is bad form, if on the other hand the watches in question were being misrepresented and you were wanting to share your knowledge and wisdom then fair enough but all you were doing was giving an opinion that they were overpriced! The seller in question is a highly regarded collector with a vintage collection that most of us could only dream about so if you can provide details of superior 1665's for sale then i and no doubt a few others would be very interested!

  48. #48
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdog View Post
    if you can provide details of superior 1665's for sale then i and no doubt a few others would be very interested!
    I don't think the quality is being questioned, just the prices

  49. #49
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarfan View Post
    I don't think the quality is being questioned, just the prices
    Thank you.

    If you go at e-bay and Chrono 24 at present there are DRSDs ranging from 18k through to 35k. The seller can ask whatever price he likes, but ultimately it is the buyer who chooses which watch he buys.

    I wish the seller of the two 1665s on SC the best of luck on a achieving a satisfactory sale.

  50. #50
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    I don't know whether this helps, but before I purchased my 5513 I sat down and did lots and lots of research which basically resulted in a list (by years) of how the watches changed - from the original gilts, to the Barton Simpson, to the White meters first, the maxi dials, etc. my list also included the straps, clasps, crowns and even boxes and papers.

    It took about 4 months including the creation of quite a big album of photos (important to understand the differences between the different fonts used on the dial, the differences in the inserts and the crystals) to feel comfortable that I had started to scratch the surface.

    Hard Work and in parts quite boring - however it did enable me to buy (from e-bay) a 100% all original meters first 5513 dating from 1967 for the princely sum of 2800.

    I used a similar process before I bought my 1665 (Rail). Again 100%

    If you don't fancy the work (and I wouldn't blame you) then your best bet is someone like Jed, Jason, mike or the folks over on the vRF. You might pay a bit more but it's worth it in the end.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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