My opinion on the current vintage Rolex market
Narative and context about fake Rolex
Rolex has been faked for decades.
This is strictly my personal opinion
I have been dealing in vintage watches since 17 years mostley in South America.
Untill a more then two decades ago Rolex was not so in demand as it is now , it was pocket watches and haute horlogerie such as vintage Patek Philippe and Universal. However Rolex bubblebacks , prince and daytonas where in demand
So many of our generation learned to value watches with a Horological mindset starting from the movement.
Then Rolex became increidible popular so dealers only started to deal Rolex.
As South America has many vintage Rolex and Rolex spareparts historically Italian and North American dealers look for good deals overhere.
Now for a little side story for context .
In the 1990s the people working for the Rolex distruibutor for South America , Rolex Buenos Aires asembled Rolex with custom made cases and finish them with original spareparts to sell them on the local market. Argentina pre internet nobody could check ( which maybe explains why Rolex is so secretive about certificates.)
Soon big Italian dealers got involved , then they made daytonas on request with exotic dials , or with FAP stamps they faked lots of Rolex bubble backs antique Rolex chronographs supplied with box papers. They would supply on demand.
Most of these Rolex would end up in auctions in Europe , photos would be published in books on auction catalogs and soon collectors would use that as a reference for authentic. Only to fabricate and sell more customized Rolex as authentic.
Basicly Mondani and Patrizzi invented Rolex.
Some of todays important vintage Rolex are made in Argentina and are published in books which ofcourse is a sense of pride. The watchmakers involved got better and better.
Soon Argentina was the hub for not only sourcing cheap vintage Rolex but also " armaditos " build Rolex.
Some prominent dealer expert in Red Submariner dials would buy the originals cheap in Argentina , and when that stock dried up they would repaint red over white dials , and when that ended they would directly make submariner dials them selves . Does not mean the buyer would notice maybe or maybe not. Stella dials same story . But who cares it is income for watchmakers in a county which suffers hard times.
In my case , having acces to thousands of Rolex parts which came from Rolex service center I have many request from prominent foreign dealers to ask to build a daytona movement increidible easy to make if you want with factory original spare parts if you find the correct base plate for the period , others request for building a gilt dial can also be done.
However we do not honor those request. We do sell spare parts though if you show us the watch needed or restore your dial as long as it goes in the original Rolex watch. We are very carefull who we sell to.
Many of the persons involved are still alive you hear their stories, they explain in detail the challenges of building a fake case, one problem is sourcing the right L 916 metal , another problem is the bufferlines in between the lugs the reference are punched first and then the buffer lines are added, but they dont cross the reference numbers , casebacks are hard to copy many they modify original casebacks. Some sport models have their cases galvanized.
Working with former Rolex employees
and meeting so many people I learned a lot about Rolex and got great insight about it also acces to lots information.
Recently I had a Rolex 6538 original with service dial for 60k . however on offering them various dealers they would point out they have one for sale for 30 k ? But when I point why their case is fake and mine is real they reluctantly admit it and proceed to offer lets 50 k for mine. Other big dealers would offer 50 k.
On another occasions I pointed out to a prominent Rolex author and dealer his Rolex tudor C.i ( my pet watch ) soon recieving a PM he knows but you know bussiness.
I started observing other dealers i am just at awe how many fake cases their are I compared many cases and always reconize the same flaws are offered by dealers not only by dealers also auction houses . I noticed many are related they endorse each others vintage watches , how many untruth they tell.
However they never tell you to look at the case.
So here i come back to blueberries insert almost all related dealers state only few are originala few where made , and then proceed to sell many blueberry GMTs . Without any substancial proof of its authenticy.
Recently I found out one dealer in short time sold 2 6542 GMT and 3 6536 Submariner with custom made cases .
Quote from my instagram
Now think about that for a second that are 3 x ref 6536 submariner and 2 x 6542., what are we talking about 200,000- 300,000 dollars ? Price of a fake case is 350 dollar on the replica site , another 5000 dollars on junk spare parts , alter the whole watch to make it appear vintage 27000 cost price dollars .
That is a 200,000 dollar cool profit which allows you to buy up all the good watches, price everyone out the market, fund watchblogs to spin more lies , organize themselves under trusted dealer groups , endorse each others junk and pump up the prices .That is just an organized maffia who swindle hard working Rolex collectors out their money and ruin their dreams. "
That exactly shows what vintage Rolex has became an organized maffia who tell lies sell fake Rolex own and monopolize the market for financial gain.
This is just my personal opinion and maybe I alone on this but it is time to purge them.