1950 Rolex "Super Oyster" Perpetual Chronometer
by C. Bradley Jacobs
This is a quick review & photo essay of a classic vintage Rolex...and also a plea for information.
The watch was later offered on eBay (using my photos and description) after I sold it but before the nonsense with Paypal. If it comes back on the market, please let me know. There are not likely to be many like it--my description follows.
Here is a rare steel 1950 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer with Super Oyster crown. This watch is an all original, authentic Rolex with the so-called "Big Bubbleback" case. A few interesting things about this case: the lugs are drilled for spring bars only on one side of the watch. Also, the case is marked Ref. 6084 but both the inside caseback and the rear of one lug have an additional number “5” stamped on them. According to Dowling & Hess, the 6084 was common in gold while the 6085 was normally a stainless steel model.
This watch has some discoloration on the original dial. This is due to having sat for a stretch without being used. The mildly radioactive material that illuminates the hands caused some light burning of the dial finish (see photos). This is not uncommon among vintage watches. Note that the dial is of a style that is not often seen. I have chosen against refinishing this dial because it is all original and still in very usable condition.
One other unusual element of this watch is the non-screw-down crown, which is marked “Super Oyster.” Wanting to satisfy their customers who would forget to secure the crown after setting, Rolex attempted in the late 1940s to design a waterproof crown that would not need to be screwed into the case. This was the result. It was pretty much a failure and was only offered for a few years, as a result, original Super Oyster models are hard to find. This 1950 model may be among the earliest.
The serial number of the watch is 709,085 and the 17j chronometer-grade movement is marked with the numbers 16467 and F17378. The movement is quite clean and running accurately but has not been serviced and no guarantee is made as to it’s reliability. It should be noted that the blued steel second hand skips at times due possibly to a weak spring, but this does not affect the running rate of the watch. Also, the hands are somewhat oxidized but otherwise the watch is in good condition.