From its inception Rolex sought to be a specialist in replica watches, which in the early 1900s was somewhat revolutionary. As more and more watch manufacturers joined the trend of taking the watch out of the pocket and putting it on the wrist, Rolex stayed ahead of the pack with constant innovation.
In the 1920s, there were some efforts to make a fake watch that did not have to be wound. The general approach was to put a small weight on the movement which would swing as the wrist moved. The swinging weight would hit a bumper, stop, and then swing the other direction with another wrist movement. Each time the weight swung, it wound the watch.
Of course it was Swiss Rolex that came up with the design for a self-winding watch which eventually dominated the marketplace. There were a couple key differences in the Rolex Replica Uk version. First the Rolex version had no bumper, the weight could swing freely round and round. Second, with the removal of two screws, a watchmaker could remove the entire automatic mechanism.
The one drawback of the automatic watch was that the self-winding mechanism made the entire movement quite thick. To accommodate the thickness, Rolex made the case thick and rounded on the underside leading to the name “bubbleback.” This was a nickname, not an official Rolex Replica Watches name, like Oyster.
The first bubblebacks were on the market in the early 1930s. From the beginning, Rolex put the word “perpetual” on the dial to indicate that the watch did not need winding. The public reception was modest. There had been too many watch manufacturers who had produced self-winding replica watches of less than satisfactory quality. The idea of a self-winding watch already had black marks. It was not a good idea, many people in and out of the watch industry thought.
Naturally Rolex did their normal thing. They started improving it. Over the next many years, Rolex proved to the world that their oyster perpetual watch was an accurate, waterproof replica watch that was durable. It is hard to know when the last bubbleback was made; it was sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Over the decades, Rolex made a wide variety of replica watches that today are called bubbleback. If you have one, research is needed to know its value. The model number and serial number can help date the watch.
One can tell at a glance some things. For instance, if the watch has a date, it is definitely from 1945 or later and thus not an early bubbleback.
Here are some prices to help you get a sense of the variety. All replica watches listed are bubblebacks.
• A 1940s stainless steel chronometer sold for $800.
• A 14K yellow gold gent’s chronometer with a leather strap brought $1,900.
• A gent’s stainless steel chronometer, circa 1945, sold for $1,100.
As Rolex improved their designs, the thickness problem was reduced. Some of the perpetual replica watches of the 1950s are thick by today’s standards buy slimmer than the early bubblebacks. Sometimes these are referred to as semi-bubblebacks. A twotone semi-bubbleback sold for $2,000.
A two-tone bubbleback from 1952, head only, no band, brought $850.
A rare model 3065 from 1938 sold for $8,000. The model is called a “hooded” bubbleback presumably because the case around the circular dial is large and, in a sense, protective of the circular watch.
A two-tone bubbleback from 1954 with a creme dial brought $4,000.
The real homerun that I found in my research was a 1945 bubbleback, 14K watch and band, with a cloisonné dial. It sold for over $15,000.
The bubbleback represents a distinct period in replica watches. That makes it, in all its varieties, quite collectible. If you have one, we would be happy to research it for you.