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Discussion Starter #1
How much do you care about whether or not a case is original to the watch? And if you do care, is it because of the difference in value, the fact that you know it didn't leave the factory that way, or something else?

Realizing that opinions change based on experiences, my current method of thinking is that the original case is nice to have, but a sharp service replacement would probably not deter me from buying a watch. If I was in the market. Which I'm not.

I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on this, particularly as it relates to vintage Rolex tool watches.
 

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How much do you care about whether or not a case is original to the watch? And if you do care, is it because of the difference in value, the fact that you know it didn't leave the factory that way, or something else?

Realizing that opinions change based on experiences, my current method of thinking is that the original case is nice to have, but a sharp service replacement would probably not deter me from buying a watch. If I was in the market. Which I'm not.

I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on this, particularly as it relates to vintage Rolex tool watches.
If I am buying a watch, it is because I plan to wear it. I also plan to take care of it. Regular service means that things that have worn out will be replaced. I'd rather have a replacement case and know that the watch has been properly serviced than have an original case in poor condition. The two jewelry store owners (both of whom deal in pre-owned, restored Rolexes) I have spoken to on the issue of value have indicated that unless a watch is particularly rare or desirable to collectors, the genuineness of the parts is far more critical than t he originality of the parts when determining the value of a watch. A collector may view this very diffferently, but I would rather have a restored watch with replacement parts that looks and works like it is new than a watch for which originality has been preserved, but appearance and function have not.
 

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if its my watch and I am going to keep it then whatever but if I am buying then I would look for one with an original case.
 

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Obviously the Serial Number on the service case will be different than the original.

The watch will have come from the factory, the last time it was there, in the service case.

I'd actually prefer the service case to a case that had been polished so much or damaged
to the extent that it needed replacement to be brought back to new. Cost is a consideration.
How much is polishing and how much is the replacement case?

John
 

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I'm in the utilitarian, 'just wear it' camp.

I'm not a collector. I'm a time keeper and an admirer of Rolex/Tudor watch styles. Give me the replaced luminova hands and dials any day of the week.

That said, I'm very respectful of those who seek out the rare, few of a kind, older Rolex timepieces and wish to keep anything and everything as is. But, my respect doesn't mean I have to like looking at Rolex pieces with faded bezel inserts, faded and spider webbed dials and hands with crusty tritium lume, because I just don't see the visual beauty in those pieces. Would I buy one? No, but anyone reading this can, and I would not criticize.

So, to the original question...would it bother me if I acquired a watch that had a service case rather than a scratched and dinged up case? No.
 

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I don't think I'd want a service case on a 5 digit or older piece because you'd lose the serial number.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Some good thoughts here. Thanks to those who have shared.

I'm in the utilitarian, 'just wear it' camp.

I'm not a collector. I'm a time keeper and an admirer of Rolex/Tudor watch styles. Give me the replaced luminova hands and dials any day of the week.

That said, I'm very respectful of those who seek out the rare, few of a kind, older Rolex timepieces and wish to keep anything and everything as is. But, my respect doesn't mean I have to like looking at Rolex pieces with faded bezel inserts, faded and spider webbed dials and hands with crusty tritium lume, because I just don't see the visual beauty in those pieces. Would I buy one? No, but anyone reading this can, and I would not criticize.

So, to the original question...would it bother me if I acquired a watch that had a service case rather than a scratched and dinged up case? No.
Interesting take, and I have to say that I think I would draw the line at non-period correct replacements, like Luminova where there was Tritium. I do think that the obsession with patina is overdone by some.

I don't think I'd want a service case on a 5 digit or older piece because you'd lose the serial number.
That's an interesting point. If the watch had original papers with it I suppose that would mitigate the issue a bit, but I see what you're saying.
 

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Great question.

I have several vintage pieces and I actually embrace and seek out examples with period-correct service parts as I define quality vintage as “what they looked like the day they arrived in the showroom” rather than “eroded to the point of unattractive”.

So dials, bezels, hands, bracelets, and crowns are all fine as service replacements to me however I draw the line at cases. To me, the case is the watch, it’s the body, it’s the foundation. And the midcase carries the serial number and the caseback carries the production year/quarter, it gives the watch its provenance.

That’s my birthyear 5513. You need a complete case to tell you that.
 

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I’m not a vintage collector so it doesn’t bother me at all. I purchased my first Rolex, a 16750 in the early 2000’s. I wanted something preowned since money was tight back then. My plan was a GMT with a recent full service so it could be worn 24/7 with abandon. I searched and searched, and the result was a 16750 from a local jewelry store. It was just serviced with mostly NOS parts: hands, dial, crown, bracelet and case. I’m sure some of the movement was original but the rest was mostly NOS. The result was a period correct 16750 in pristine condition that was as tough as woodpecker lips that fit my lifestyle. It’s been around the world twice and never skipped a beat. Here it is after it’s first service.

25E59F9C-0E09-4FF1-8C14-4FA0788352E4.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great question.

I have several vintage pieces and I actually embrace and seek out examples with period-correct service parts as I define quality vintage as “what they looked like the day they arrived in the showroom” rather than “eroded to the point of unattractive”.

So dials, bezels, hands, bracelets, and crowns are all fine as service replacements to me however I draw the line at cases. To me, the case is the watch, it’s the body, it’s the foundation. And the midcase carries the serial number and the caseback carries the production year/quarter, it gives the watch its provenance.

That’s my birthyear 5513. You need a complete case to tell you that.
Great answer. ;-)

I’m not a vintage collector so it doesn’t bother me at all. I purchased my first Rolex, a 16750 in the early 2000’s. I wanted something preowned since money was tight back then. My plan was a GMT with a recent full service so it could be worn 24/7 with abandon. I searched and searched, and the result was a 16750 from a local jewelry store. It was just serviced with mostly NOS parts: hands, dial, crown, bracelet and case. I’m sure some of the movement was original but the rest was mostly NOS. The result was a period correct 16750 in pristine condition that was as tough as woodpecker lips that fit my lifestyle. It’s been around the world twice and never skipped a beat. Here it is after it’s first service.
I went away for the weekend and came back to read these two very different yet intriguing responses. Thanks for providing some insightful answers. I've been batting the question back and forth in my head a bit, so it's good to hear others' perspectives.
 
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