Rolex "Bubbleback" Watch, ca. 1940
I was at a local estate sale, and there was a big pile of jewelry, and right in the middle of it was this watch. So I picked it up and carried it with me through the sale, and when we were leaving, um, the man said, "That will be ten dollars." And I said, "Okay, thank you." And I walked out and put it away and... Looked at it later and thought it was kind of special 'cause it says "Rolex." But I didn't know if it was real or not.
And have you had it appraised before?
My husband took it to a local appraisal fair. Somebody said to him that he would give him $800 for it. And my husband called, and I said, "No, I think we'll keep it."
Well, to give you a little history on the watch, then. It is genuine.
It was made by the Rolex Watch Company in Geneva, Switzerland. They first launched this model in 1931. This, for example, was made around the early 1940s. It's in a 14-karat- gold case. It's nicknamed the "Bubbleback." It was the first-ever good automatic wristwatch, and one of the first watches that made Rolex famous. It winds by the movement of your wrist-- very clever. The reason it's called a Bubbleback is... it has this very bulbous-size case. It's a very thick watch to allow for the rotor to keep it running. Now, there are particular collectors that like these watches, um, principally because it's such a famous design that they made. The bracelet itself is not original on it. Often with these type of watches, they were sold on leather straps, and that when bracelets became very fashionable-- mostly around the 1950s and '60s-- then people would put associated bracelets onto them. Doesn't alter the value of the watch at all.
Oh, all right.
I have to say, I think whenever you take it to get appraised and someone wants to buy it from you rather than appraising it, you have to be a little cautious. Your red flags have to start flying. But you definitely made the right decision.
For a watch like this, in this type of condition, I think realistically, and at auction purposes, you'd be looking around $4,000. GUEST (gasps): Wow! That is great.
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