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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello All!
I saw a very handsome vintage men's watch in a jewelers this weekend, very simple and elegant like many vintage watches are. Under the 12 o'clock position was the Rolex crown and the name. The crown logo was also on the, well, the crown of the watch. I question whether it was genuine though because those were the only things on the whole watch that identified it. When I look online at other vintage Rolexes, under the hands there is always either a name of the model or a complication or "officially certified" etc. This had nothing. It looked like a vintage Precision but it didn't say it was. I'm pretty sure the back of the watch was blank too and I thought Rolex always marked their backs.

The edges of the lugs and case felt a little sharp and I thought that that was one of the details that Rolex was supposed to attend to.

I don't plan to buy this watch even if it is genuine because it doesn't have an original watchband. There is a Coach brown leather band on it. I understand that original bands are not always available on older watches, but if I'm paying $2K for a watch, I want the original band, old though it may be. The glass was also pretty scratched up. Again, not surprising for the age, but not what I want at that price.

This is being sold at a well-known, reputable jeweler, although not an authorized Rolex dealer. Am I being too suspicious? Did they just mark things differently back then which would explain the lack of identifying marks and words other than "Rolex" and the crown logo? Are the sharp edges due to age and wear possibly?

One reason I am asking about this here is for my own education. I tried to look online how to identify fake Rolexes but in everything I could find, the issues above did not come up (other than that the edges and finishes should be smooth and not rough like this watch). Also, the info was geared to sports watches and not vintage dress watches. I could find nothing that addressed historical use of markings or lack thereof on the face.

Primarily I want to know because if this particular jeweler is selling a fake Rolex it tells me that he is either not honest or not knowledgeable or not diligent in his research, any of which is reason for me to leave this jeweler off of my shopping contact list.

Thanks so much!
 

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Yes & no. Some owners modify their watches to remove names etc but most leave them alone. Its 'possible' the watch you mention is a fake but i suspect that if that jeweler is as reputable as you suggest, they wont want to destroy their reputation by getting caught unloading fake Rolexes. As for watch bands, you can sometimes find NOS (new old stock) Rolex bands on eBay / Etsy etc if you want the watch to be original.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wanted to take a picture but I felt uncomfortable doing so since I knew I wasn't going to buy the watch. Also, they were very short-staffed and there were other people there that may have been more likely to buy something so I didn't want to waste the man's time continuing to wait on me since I was just researching and not actually buying anything yet.

I thought they might have photos of it on their website, but they don't have any of their pre-owned watches on their site.

I was hoping that the generalized info might be common knowledge amongst the Rolex collectors here (like whether or not they always or don't always put their model name on the front, etc.). But if I do go back, I will take a picture. I do want to figure out this puzzle about the seller and if a picture will help you help me, then I'll do my best. He seems nice, so I'm really really hoping all is good! :)🤞
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was able to get pictures of the front and back of the watch. I forgot that it said, "Geneve" under the Rolex name. Adding that to my internet search does actually find a few "Cellini" mentions. I see one older posting calling it a "3601." Have any of you seen this model before?


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Hmmmm....It 'could be' a Cellini. I found a Rolex 3601 dial on eBay that was very similar but one of the differences was that this was is missing the little accent mark over the 2nd 'e' in Geneve. The name 'Rolex' just looks a bit off-centre compared to the Rolex logo above and that's something that should never happen on a Rolex. I also cant tell from these photos whether or not there is a serial number on the case between the lugs under the 6 position. I think i would want to see the movement and the markings on the inside of the case back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmmm....It 'could be' a Cellini. I found a Rolex 3601 dial on eBay that was very similar but one of the differences was that this was is missing the little accent mark over the 2nd 'e' in Geneve. The name 'Rolex' just looks a bit off-centre compared to the Rolex logo above and that's something that should never happen on a Rolex. I also cant tell from these photos whether or not there is a serial number on the case between the lugs under the 6 position. I think i would want to see the movement and the markings on the inside of the case back.
Re the off-center logo, that might be my lousy photography in that I just realized I wasn't holding it straight. I didn't think of it until your comment, that I should have been careful to show it straight-on.

The case is very thin, especially for a mechanical watch. I imagine that making a thin mechanical movement would have been a good thing, yes? I have several old wind-ups from pre-quartz days and they are all thicker than this watch.

What I don't love about it is that the case edges feel a bit sharp. Also the case itself is very flat. It would fit and feel better on the wrist if it were a bit curved.

I did look for a serial number on the case, but I didn't see anything. I didn't look between the lugs however.

Without looking inside the watch, I think this question can't be definitively answered, which is fine. As long as it is not an obvious fake, that's the main thing I wanted to know. I do believe this jeweler is honest, which is the most important thing.

If anyone else has additional thoughts or info to share, I am all ears. :)
Thanks!
 

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...this is missing the little accent mark over the 2nd 'e' in Geneve.
And THAT is one of the classic mistakes counterfeiters make when attempting to reproduce watch dials (along with mis-spelled words, off-center logos or crooked numerals and indices).
 
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That's a topic for a Rolex expert to handle. At both Google Images and Bing Images, I found a large number of Cellini models that did not use the accent mark, So your guess is as good as ours.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Does the watch actually run?
Yes, it does, although since it's a mechanical wind-up, the seller doesn't wind it every day. He did wind it for me though while I was there. He also said he had it serviced and inspected before putting it up for sale, although I doubt it was by Rolex since he didn't specify that. Despite the lack of papers, based on what I see for sale online currently, it seems to be priced reasonably at $2200. I wish it had the original band or at least the original buckle (although I do see Rolex brand bands with buckles on ebay for ~$100).
 
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