Some of the vintage watches we rarely talk from Rolex’s long and illustrious history are their early self-winding fak e watches, affectionately nicknamed “Bubble Backs” by members of the collecting world. Although they were not particularly designed for some demanding sport or an inhospitable environment, the Rolex Bubble Back represents the basic, self-winding template that all modern Rolex watches would come to follow.
Rolex’s Bubble Back replica watches get their nickname from their extremely rounded, protruding case-backs. Although greatly interesting from a design standpoint, the Bubble Back design was actually born out of necessity as an efficient means to house Rolex’s thicker, self-winding movements.
It was during the 1930s that the Rolex first began fitting their watches with automatic movements, rather than the manually wound calibers that had been traditionally used in their watches. The addition of the oscillation weight significantly increased the overall thickness of the movement, and required extra clearance for the rotor to move freely inside the case. Rather than making the entire case of the watch larger, the fake Rolex decided to allow the case-back to protrude in a curved, bubble-shaped fashion.
By today’s standards, the replica Rolex Bubble Back watches are rather antiquated in design. Case diameters are relatively small and typically hover around 30 mm to 32 mm for the classic men’s models. Besides, because of their domed acrylic crystals and convex, protruding case-backs, Bubble Back watches are disproportionally thick in an almost egg-like fashion.
Although their large, dome-shaped case-backs have earned these watches a number of different nicknames all over the years, the “Bubble Back” name is probably the most well known and commonly used today. The small case diameter and relatively large overall thickness combine to make a somewhat awkward and strangely proportioned, egg-shaped watch; however, Bubble Backs represent an early and important time in Rolex’s history, when the company was first starting to refine their self-winding watch movements.
Nowadays, all Rolex fake watches are fitted with automatic-winding calibers; however they can trace their root DNA back to the original Bubble Back watches that Rolex first introduced during the early 1930s. Almost every watch that the Rolex replica now makes has the word “Perpetual” printed on the surface of its dial, and it was these early Bubble Back replica watches that were the first to receive the Rolex’s inaugural, self-winding movements.
Miami will act as the host to the replica watches and Wonder While SIHH has wrapped up in Geneva, which will have most of the same brands that exhibited at SIHH. In other words, it will be predominantly Richemont Group brands and some others. Slated to break out in the Miami Design District from February 16 – 19 and organized in relationship with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, watch fans will have an opportunity to see the new SIHH novelties in the metal, as well as enjoy a large number of other horology-focused activities.
Together with the boutiques, Watches & Wonder will also consist of pop-up stores from Armin Strom, F.P. Journe, Ralph Lauren, Romain Gauthier, Romain Jerome, and Voutilainen. Guests can get an intimate look at some spectacular fake watches from the brands, talk to important people who work there, and watch artisans work on their craft.
In addition to getting up close with the newest gorgeous watches available today—and some great boutique exclusives too—Watches & Wonder will also provide chances to nerd out on watch-making knowledge as well.
From watch-making workshops where attendees can take apart and put back together the famous UNITAS 6497-1 movement to lectures discussing the history of pilot watches, chronographs, complications, and vintage watches, there’s plenty to learn here.
Similar to Dubai replica Watch Week, Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie will set up a virtual reality experience dubbed The Mastery of Time where visitors can experience operating a flyback chronograph Grumman F6F Hellcat from WW2, use a marine chronometer on a 19th-century three-master sailing ship, and handle a Universal Genève railroad watch while driving a steam locomotive.
In the end, visitors to Watches & Wonder can also immerse themselves in the Telling Time art exhibition displaying works from a range of global artists.
If you’ll be near the Miami area this February make some time and head to the watch-centric weekend at Miami Design District. And if you don’t always have any ideas to be in that part of the country, now is as good as time any to book an early spring break treat!
Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is merely a month away, which is slated to happen during January 15 – 19, 2018. Instead of waiting until the exhibition itself, some brands have released some previews to give us a taste of what to expect. Here are some of our favorite pre-SIHH 2018 replica watches releases that have us pumped for the first big fake watch fair of the coming year.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, the fake Audemars Piguet has reissued the inaugural ROO model from 1993. Featuring a 42mm stainless steel case, an octagonal bezel with eight hexagonal screws, a blue “Petite Tapisserie” dial, rubber-clad crown and chrono pushers, and a steel integrated bracelet, the 2018 version is the most identical to that very first model.
One main difference with the reissue is a newer movement—Caliber 3126/3840—with 50 hours of power reserve. Another acceptable modification is an updated butterfly folding clasp, which is much safer than the original one. A quarter of a century later, the appeal of the super sporty and ultra-masculine Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore has obviously not lost its appeal.
Further improving the practicality and versatility of this new Vacheron Constantin is the easy interchangeable strap system. As a matter of fact, the steel Overseas Dual Time comes with three bands while the gold model is presented with a leather band and a rubber strap.
2018 will be a nice year for the replica rolex as the company will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Therefore, fans of IWC will be treated to a slew of commemorative models including this Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”—an homage to the Pallweber pocket watch from the late 19th century. The fake IWC reinterprets the legendary pocket watch with jumping hour and minutes display windows into wristwatch form.
Encased within the big 45mm red gold case is a stark white lacquer dial with an aperture for the jumping hours, followed by a jumping double-digit minutes window below it, and lastly, a running seconds subdial at the bottom. Besides, flip the watch around for a general view of the new in-house fake rolex working away within.
The novelties that come out of SIHH typically set the tone for the luxury replica watch space for the rest of the year and we’re excited to see what timepiece trends will be unveiled for 2018, there must be a great selling point.
Technically speaking, the replica Panerai was meaningful not just for its debut screen time, but for its build, as it exhibited the brand’s first ceramic bezel in a Luminor model, and it was the first anti-magnetic fake watch made by Panerai. It’s quite a handsome look – introducing a fashionable, industrial dive watch vibe to the austere, minimalist aesthetic that’s defined the Panerai design language for the last 60 years or so.
Some of those features repeat in the 1389, which could greatly be called an update to an existing reference, instead of a completely new one. Like the original, the 1389 is built with a titanium case and equipped with an iron dial, and a soft iron Faraday cage encasing its movement beneath, rendering it impervious to the many modern dangers to mechanical watches. Hell, it even comes on the same band as before – Panerai’s excellent 26 x 22mm accordion rubber dive strap that looks as though it was designed specifically for this reference all along.
Otherwise, the situation has changed since 2014. The applied hourly indices are now a razor’s edge thicker, the running small seconds hand at 9:00 is now a cheerful shade of blue, and the luminous application to the hands and indices is now two-tone – the minute hand glows blue to match the bezel pip, while all other markings glow green.
Most notably though, the new 1389 has been updated with the Panerai’s newest automatic caliber: the P.9010, which comes with the same double-barreled, 3-day power reserve as its in-house manufactured predecessor, but now adds an independently adjustable hour hand – a feature that’s becoming increasingly common on many modern Panerai models, and a boon for frequent fliers.
The one thing that remains the same between the 389 and the 1389, is that this is still, a very big watch at 47mm. Yes, it’s rather lighter than a comparable 47mm PAM00372 in stainless steel, but the weight savings do little to reduce the watch’s visual presence, which threatens to overwhelm at most angles. At present, like most Panerai fake models, the 1389 does have greatly downward-turned lugs, and a considerably conservative lug-to-lug measurement. But neither of those amends are quite enough to overcome the wearing limitations for all but those who’ve never skipped ‘arm day.’
That said, if you love the undeniably cool aesthetic of the 1389, there’s always the more traditionally-sized 42mm PAM682, but you miss out on the anti-magnetic capabilities and ceramic bezel, together with the ability for the dial to double as a serving plate in a pinch. It’s funny to say that it’s clear that the rest of the industry has been responding to a return to smaller sizes, down from the 45 and 47mm replica watches that once dominated fake Panerai’s modern collection.
Here we come with year of 2018.
Following their Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research timepiece from 2014, Audemars Piguet now created a new model to their Research & Development lineup. The replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is in fact now the thinnest automatic perpetual calendar in the world—and that’s a big deal.
The diameter of the familiar Royal Oak case shape measures 41mm and is crafted totally in platinum. Besides, the equally famous Royal Oak integrated bracelet is also in platinum, offering some famous weight on the wrist despite the watch’s record-breaking thinness.
The blue “Tapisserie” dial features all the hallmarks of a perpetual calendar. There’s the moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock, the month subdial at 3 o’clock along with the leap year indicator underneath it, the date subdial at 6 o’clock, and finally, the day subdial at 9 o’clock along with a small day/night display below it.
The fake Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication measures a hefty 44mm in diameter and the ceramic case consists of titanium pushers. The rubber strap emphasizes the replica watches sportiness while the minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and split-seconds chronograph functions remind us that AP is indeed an haute horology manufacture. These types of complications are typically found in dressier more formal watches, but Audemars Piguet does have a habit of “breaking the rules”.
Audemars Piguet has revamped their famous “Tapisserie” dial with these new models, to now stream out from the tourbillon mechanism that sits at 6 o’clock rather than its traditional symmetrical layout. That layout surely brings the eye directly to the oscillating tourbillon—not that it needs it; the tourbillion is nicely capable of appealing all the attentions on its own.
These new dials are encased within a 41mm octagonal RO case in stainless steel, pink gold, or platinum. The platinum version is further decorated with blue sapphires on the eight-sided bezel, sitting alongside the characteristic exposed screws. Powering the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin timepieces is the Caliber 2924, which can be admired via the see-through caseback.
We end with a new iteration of an oldie. Based on the original 1972 Royal Oak, the new Audemars Piguet replica Jumbo Extra-Thin is now available in a complex of titanium and platinum.
Generally speaking, we would say when a watch sells for an eyebrow raising sum of money, the assertion is made – the words vary but the basic substance is the same – that it’s “ruining the hobby.” A latest example was the “barn find” Speedmaster we covered earlier this month, but there are also some other examples. It seems to mostly have passed unnoticed that in the same Phillips auction in which the PNPND set its record, I’m not sure that this isn’t at least as insane as paying $17 million for the PNPND, assuming you think this sort of thing is crazy in the first place.
So now, is this bad for watch collecting? Prices for both new and vintage fake watches of top quality, and from blue-chip names like the replica Rolex and Patek Philippe, seem on an endless upward trend. Even ten or fifteen years ago, good vintage watches weren’t exactly cheap, but the huge sums of money flowing into vintage watch collecting have, it’s true, changed the game. When I first got interested in watches, the watch magazines, such as they were, were on newsstands along with the model railroading, doll collecting, and stamp collecting magazines. Things have obviously changed greatly after that.
The general unbelievable increase in the auction prices – and not just records, but auction prices in general – for the most collectible models are indeed bad if you’re not a wealthy individual, and what were affordable collectibles ten years ago, have become unachievable for many of us. (Of course, if you’re selling those models and got them ten to twenty years ago, it’s the best thing that ever happened to fake rolex collecting.) I don’t know that it’s necessarily good or bad in any absolute sense, but it has fundamentally changed the nature of watch collecting, and what was once a somewhat quirky, slightly inexplicable, occasionally expensive but basically low-visibility hobby has become, to some extent, a high-stakes media circus.
The other question – is it worth it? There are two answers anyway. The first of course, is “no.” The price paid for the PNPND is indefensible by any sensible measure; it is out of any plausible – never mind logical – relationship to either the design intelligence behind, or quality of craft of, or ingenuity contained within, the PNPND or any other Daytona. The second answer, however, is “yes” and that is because by definition, the worth of something is what someone would like to purchase it – or in this case, and more relevantly, for not just the object, but what it stands for. We’ve already talked about what the PNPND and Daytonas in general, represent beyond the basic physical and design features, of the replica watches – the PNPND especially is valuable largely not for what it is, but for what it symbolizes.
Now comes the October, and you know what that stands for: fall foliage, sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and auction catalogues. We’ve all been warmly taking part in this season’s auctions – partly because the “you-know-what” is coming up for auction, but also because it’s always nice to peruse the crisp pages of a freshly printed catalogue, and see what’s up. Some seasons are more exciting than others, and this fall’s selection has definitely exceeded expectations. Here are two examples of replica Rolex watches that I had literally never heard of before coming across them this week.
To begin with, we have the Phillips Watch Auction, Winning Icons, on Thursday, October 26th. This is the first Phillips watch auction to take place in New York, and the central lot is, you guessed it, Paul Newman’s Paul Newman. But there are 49 other lots left to chase – all special in their own way, but one that really sticks out is a two-tone Rolex
This two-tone 6265/3 was a custom piece made for Bruce J. Leven, a Seattle-based entrepreneur and gentleman racing legend, who became successful with his waste management company, Bayside Disposal. Leven was famous in the racing circles, and more than held his own as driver, competing at the top level. This, combined with his love of Porsches, soon translated into owning the Bayside Disposal Racing Team.
His wish was granted, and here it is: a possibly special two-tone 6265/3 with box, papers, service papers, and service sticker on the caseback. The 6265 was produced from 1971 to 1988, in yellow gold or stainless steel (with a couple of wild cards in between). It’s well-known for its steel or gold bezel, and for having screw-down pushers. The 6265 also has been known to feature the Paul Newman dial, though most of those have been put in 6263 cases at this point.
In Christie’s November sale we have yet another strange affair. OK, this one actually made me question my complete existence in this world of fake rolex watches, because it is something that I have genuinely never seen before. When I first laid eyes on it, I thought, “Wait, is that a Sub? Coming with a day window and on a President’s bracelet?”
This was another cool and totally surprising Rolex replica – a rare white gold Submariner. This crazy replica watch was sold at Christie’s earlier this year and while most of my colleagues recoiled at the sight of it, I fell head over heels for this unique Sub.
Hey, there’s something really interesting here. We have the second “found in a drawer” Omega replica to surpass the $100k mark in a little over a week. It sold with good prices through Live Auctioneers, which represented Flannery’s Estate Services in the digital auction.
There’s something excited about this, though. We noticed that bidding went quite affordable on this one, sans buyer’s premium, though now it seems to have reverted before the premium, giving us the final nice price. I have reached out to Flannery’s Estate Services multiple times to try to get more information here, and neither my email nor my phone calls have been returned. I will update this story if we learn any more.
The fake watch in question is a fake Omega Speedmaster, made between 1959 and 1962, which was the first Speedy to come exclusively with the black bezel that served as a major design turning point toward the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Incidentally, though a special model may not have touched down on the lunar surface, as a matter of fact, it did go up into space, in 1962, on the wrist of Astronaut Wally Schirra. It was Schirra’s personal chronograph, not official issues.
Bidding started at just $250, with a funny estimate of $500 to $1,000. As you can see, the watch did not fly under the radar and the end results were in a different ballpark.
The replica watch that sold last week was this guy over here, which broke the $275,000 mark at Bukowski’s Auction House in Sweden. That’s a record for the Ref. CK 2915-1 “Broad Arrow,” the first Speedmaster and a grail for Speedy lovers.
The real version of this model showed a price with buyer’s premium of $110,700. We spoke yesterday to Marianne Flannery, of Flannery’s Estate Services, who told me that the actual price of this Speedmaster, including buyer’s premium, was $103,500. Because the winning bidder was in-room in at the physical sale in Upstate New York, she said, the actual buyer’s premium was 15%, not the 23% that is customarily charged to bidders using the online Live Auctioneers platform. She added that the bids escalated before premium due to “unverified” bidders who registered with Live Auctioneers during the sale itself.
There are two most prestigious sponsored sailing events of Rolex, which just wrapped up with some very skilled and happy yachtsmen walking away with priceless specially engraved award watches. The replica Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco and the fake Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup are two of the greatest sailing competitions on the annual calendar, and some of the sailors and yacht owners are already Rolex owners. But no matter how many Rolexes you might own there is still no higher honor than “winning the watch” in any sporting event, and sailing is a sure stuff.
The best Rolex chooses to award the stainless steel Submariners in these regattas, demonstrating the versatility and universal appeal of the ultimate sports watch. Different from these retail versions, these are particularly engraved and come in special green leather presentation boxes. While many yachtsmen decide to wear their award watches there are always some who lock them away for preservation. Very rarely do you see these pieces, which cannot be acquired by other means, come up for sale.
At the Rolex Big Boat Series, Rolex awarded six Submariners to winners of the so-called perpetual trophies, the top yachtsmen in their class. This was the 53rd running of the prestigious race, which is hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco Bay. The series is comprised of seven races taking place over four days, with winners anointed in eleven different classes. This year there were 89 magnificent yachts competing for the awards. The ultra-prestigious perpetual trophies are kept at the St. Francis Yacht Club and are very much impressive than the kind you get to take home. Coupled with the fact that the winners receive Rolexes, their names are engraved on the trophies for all to admire. One of these is the City of San Francisco Trophy, which is actually a gold-plated shovel used to break ground on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, and it’s understandably one of the most coveted trophies in sailing. This year the Pac 52 yacht Beau Geste took the prize.
The Rolex replica New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is one of the most gentlemanly events you’ll ever see in Newport. The New York Yacht Club in of course one of the most special clubs in the world, and races are hard fought in Narragansett Bay. This year the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, founded in 1849, came up to beat the Northerners on their home sea. Defeating their closest competitors, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron from Australia, along with 12 other yacht clubs from around the World, SYC effusively claimed the trophy and the prize replica watches in what has been called the “ultimate one-design, big-boat competition.”
Panerai Watches are always working so hard while making preparations for the sale of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona and other amazing pieces in its New York “Winning Icons” sale next month. The auction house, which is quickly becoming a contender for the title of top collector watch auctioneer, has another collection of impressive replica watches slated to cross the block.
While the exquisite Patek Philippes are bound to get most of the attention, what caught our eye was a duo of ultra-rare fake Panerai models from the ’40s and ’50s that are some of the most historic and great Panerais ever sold. The estimates look low on these beauties, so if it’s an indication that the market for antique Panerais is softening, we’d say it won’t last and savvy Panerai collectors should get busy with the auction paddle – not least because it may be years before watches like these become available again.
The big draw is a replica Panerai Luminor manufactured circa 1955. Different from the newest releases of the fake Panerai collection these historical watches are connected to one giant Swiss watchmaker. Like all Panerais from this early era, it features a movement and case by Rolex. And this example is crucial important because it was formerly owned by Admiral Gino Birindelli, a true hero of the Italian Royal Navy, which originally commissioned the Luminor for its elite Decima MAS underwater commandos. Admiral Birindelli was a commander of the Decima MAS during World War II, was later made chief of the fleet of the Italian Navy and received the Gold medal of military valor among other distinctions. He himself rode the famous manned torpedoes that did such damage to the British Navy during the war.
Nearly as important and appealing is an even older Panerai, this stainless steel Radiomir-style model is known as a “Type C” and features longer fixed lugs, and an inside caseback signed Rolex S.A., along with the reference number and serial number. There are only 211 known examples of the model. There has been some evidence advising Panerai did this deliberately this so that any commandos captured by the enemy would not have their origin betrayed by their wristwatch. We have to mention it again that this fake has an extremely interesting provenance, and was formerly owned by combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, who was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit. The multimillion-dollar Pateks may be more valuable but there’s nothing cooler than this pair of Panerais.