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Inherited a Rolex. Does Anyone Know About Them?

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
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Very sad story but I got a phone call a few weeks ago and an uncle of mine that I was very close to passed away. Even though he lived several states away I was his emergency contact and he had no wife or kids.

Sadly, one of his friends went to pick him up and saw him on the floor, called 911 and he had already passed away. In his will I was made the executor and he left me a few specific things from his estate. Most of the property is to be divided up between myself, a cousin of mine, my dad and his brother. My uncle had turned 80 in December and his death was non-Covid related.

Not to derail my own thread, but he and I were very close. His estate includes a very large antique car collection (1934 Ford, 1955 Chevy, etc...), about a dozen Indian, Ariel and Harley Davidson motorcycles from the 40s-60s, and enough guns and ammo to start a war plus a lot of land and two boats. As you can imagine, this is going to be a huge task, especially since I'm far away.

Plus I have an older brother (and another cousin) who are very upset about not being in the will but have had zero contact with my uncle for maybe 25 years so you can imagine how that's going over. Basically, I hired a probate lawyer and am letting them deal with getting that sorted and then I'll go with whatever the court says.

Anyway, one thing he left me was one of his Rolex watches. I remember him always having this watch since I can remember and I know Rolex is a classy brand. I also have seen some watch threads here so I thought some folks may know about it. I'm not selling it, so even if it's worth like $100 I'm still glad to have it. If by any chance it's worth a lot of money I figure I should add it to my insurance policy. I do know he collected watches and a few years ago my dad got a box in the mail with a note saying "I have too many watches and thought you would like this one" and the watch (it was a Breetling? IIRC for flying as my uncle was also a pilot but thankfully had sold his plane a few years ago) was worth about $6000. He wasn't the kind of guy to buy cheap stuff.

So here's the picture. Any info would be very helpful.

Also, those are smudges on the glass, not scratches. I was changing a headlight in my car and my hands were dirty when I took this (I was not wearing the watch when I did that!).

001(4).JPG
001(3).JPG
 

OldStrummer

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Sep 12, 2016
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First, my condolences. Both for your loss and for being named executor. I've had that unenviable task thrust on me three times, despite making everyone aware after the first that I would never do it again. Be prepared to lose friends and family, and discover friends and family you never knew existed.

As for the watch, the Rolex Submariner is considered one of the mainstays of the Rolex line. Many people (I am not one of them) think that having a Rolex on your wrist shows that you've made it, that you're "somebody." Its value will be dependent largely on its condition and year. Personally, I think the cars and the guns will have more value.

My advice: Find a reputable auctioneer and let them handle the estate auction. No matter what you do to try to please everybody, everyone is going to feel slighted and resentful. As executor, you are simply the administrator, not the boss. Hire the right professionals (lawyers, assessors, etc.) and don't try to do it all yourself. Good luck.
 
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zhivago

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Sep 29, 2004
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That is a valuable watch...I have my father's Rolex Submariner that he bought new in 1968. He gave it to me a while ago and every time I check it's gone up in value. Show it to a specialist for sure..there must be a Rolex forum full of enthusiasts that can help you. Best of luck and very sorry for your loss.
 

jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
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My condolences on your loss, but feel honored he trusted you as executor.

WRT the Rollie Sub, I am not enough on an expert as some watch guys to ID a specific Reference Number on sight [...even with rear and gut shots, which would help...]; that said, I posit from the dial fonts this may be from well-regarded era (but not Conner-Bond, which are really climbing in value!).

Maybe a Roger Moore era Reference 5513, which based on year and condition varies from $10-50k [from recent memory].

Take more photos including the rear, and head over to the forum at rolexforums dot com, that'd be THE place where gurus reside. If it needs servicing now (or even the next time it does), ask the tech to take gut shots to help verify authenticity.

Also, if you find the box and papers including receipt in his belongings, keep those safe. Even if you plan on holding on to it, these will enhance the value ... plus, you never know if you'll need to sell in an emergency.

And by all means wear it regularly, enjoy it as a special remembrance of your uncle!

Even if it rubs them the wrong way, remember you are tasked with the execution of the estate, so it's both well-earned AND well-bequeathed...
 

Laker

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Nov 21, 2004
Messages
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My wife purchased a Rolex for me as a gift around 30 years ago and for that, it is very dear to me as I have worn it daily ever since.
Around ever 10 years you will have to have a Rolex “rebuilt” by an authorized source that will give you a new, guaranteed watch for the same time as a new one. The rebuild will cost about 1/10 the cost of a new watch so I guess, you get a new Rolex for .10% the cost of a new one every 10 years.

My last rebuild cost around $1100 so if you can afford that, wear that Rolex and enjoy its tie to your family.
 

Wilko

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Yeah, that's a very valuable Sub. The matte dial and 660ft mark show it's an early 5513 (James Bond) I'd keep it.

My daily driver is the 16800 transitional model, Transitioned to saphire crystal while keeping the matte dial.

rolex16800-jpg.200600
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
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Wow thanks for the info. I didn’t realize there was so much to know about something like a watch. I’ll have to check out that forum over there.
 

Wilko

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Everyone was e cited about Clapton selling off guitars. His watches are worth way more than guitars. He’s a Rolex collector
 

Tim Plains

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RIP

I am no expert but I would have an authorized dealer look at it because the Oyster Perpetual text doesn't look crisp. I'm not saying it's a fake but there are many very good fakes out there.
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
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RIP

I am no expert but I would have an authorized dealer look at it because the Oyster Perpetual text doesn't look crisp. I'm not saying it's a fake but there are many very good fakes out there.
Yeah I'mm guessing that's my lousy photography skills. I'm in my 40s and when I was a little kid my uncle wore this watch so I don't think it's fake. I have seen some newer Chinese ones that the second hand moves correctly on - that's where my knowledge ends,
 

stxrus

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Mar 21, 2015
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I’ve owned a Submariner. As a dive watch it’s quite excellent. As a daily wearer it just feels really good. I prefer a substantial watch. As a good/accurate timepiece there are much better watches. A rebuild/refurb is crazy expensive

My condolences on your loss
 

Hot_Snake

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Sep 26, 2010
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193
Sorry for your uncle.

Water resistance would be the main issue if you plan to wear the watch.
two solutions :
1- find a trusty shop where your watch can have basic maintenance using original parts. It means service the movement and replace the joints / plexi dome. Just be 100% sure the people who’ll work on it are reputable - don’t let them ruin the watch.
2- send it to Rolex. You’ll receive your watch back as new. Means new hands, crystal dome instead of acrylic and the case polished (unless you ask they them to not do it). May be a concern if you want to keep it in it’s original shape.

Enjoy your Sub. Killer watch. If you want to make it look more under the radar replace the strap with a leather one or a good NATO.
 

Wilko

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These will run for years with zero issues. No need to rush off and service it. Enjoy it. It’s a great watch. It’s real, and it’s worth coin. Do NOT send to Rolex. A trusted watch shop can service it just fine for a couple hundred bucks.
 

Doc Sausage

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My ex bought me a used Rolex. Not a sub. I was shocked to learn that they break down and require routine (and sometimes costly) maintenance.

Much like a Ferrari, et al. I guess I came to the conclusion I’m not Rolex and Italian Supercar material. I traded it in on TWO Citizen watches 11 years ago. It was not working at the time. Both Citizen’s never quit working.

In my opinion, keep the heirloom for sentimental reasons. Buy a Timex if you want to know the time!
 

Wilko

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Rolex will very rarely "break down". They re very tough. almost all parts made with quality stainless steel.

Amp360, tat acrylic crystal will buff out easy. no need to replace. you're better off not replacing as that can compromise the waterproof seal.

Bracelet on yours looks hardly worn at all. Is it a replacement? numbers on the links closest to the watch are origiinal.
 

Sérgio

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My ex bought me a used Rolex. Not a sub. I was shocked to learn that they break down and require routine (and sometimes costly) maintenance.

Much like a Ferrari, et al. I guess I came to the conclusion I’m not Rolex and Italian Supercar material. I traded it in on TWO Citizen watches 11 years ago. It was not working at the time. Both Citizen’s never quit working.

In my opinion, keep the heirloom for sentimental reasons. Buy a Timex if you want to know the time!


I'm like you.

OP: my condolences, and as for the watch you're a very lueky guy and should be happy. Subs are probably the coolest watches ever, second only to Daytonas to me (I'm a car guy).

Anyway, I bought and owned such an expensive timepiece briefly. It was a fantastic watch but I am just not a luxury kind of man. I never really understood wearing a watch that's worth so much money and needs so much care. Sold it and got back to wearing G-Shock Master of G Casios which are my own preference. They are military level tough, easily replaceable and cheap, so you just don't need to think about them.
 

Wilko

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One of the reasons I love the Sub is that it's not a "luxury" watch. It' not a fashoin piece by design. It's the telecaster of watches. It's a tool. a stainless steel diving watch. It's bomb proof.

They don't "need so much care". My daily driver is 40 years old this week. It's beeen i the shop because I changed parts. I thought I was upgrading it by putting in a newer ceramic dial. That was a mistake, so I switched it back o original style dial. I replaced the bracelet after the old one wore down some and got loose. that was 20 years ago.
 

Nifty

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Apr 28, 2021
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Rolex was "issued" to certain people who were working for a certain 3-letter agency, overseas, in a certain country. It served two purposes. One to tell time. The second, was a method to barter in the event there was an emergency, someone had to be bribed, paid off, or a car (getaway) was needed in a real hurry. Seems everyone in the world knows the watch and will do just about anything to obtain one.

I shopped used ones for years but never found anything affordable LOL
 
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