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Hi there,

so, yesterday I was cleaning up my woodworking shop, and I have found a little box with lots of watches... from plastic mikey mouse watches, to those three I love.

I've found some info about them, but you may help me more.

I'd like to, if possible, know their age, their value and other cool info. All are self winding watches.
Ok, there is the first one :

Vulcain Cricket, 10k gold filled, functinning, perfect timing... cracked glass from inside. The alarm wont trigger, but when I turn the spring, there is a point that it goes of, making some sound... not able to open it. US president watch ? :D

vulcain 3.JPG vulcain 2.JPG vulcain1.JPG

Second one :
Gruen Precision, 25 jewels. I dont know if it's gold, could not find a model like this on the internet... Doesnt work, maybe cracked jewels ? Is it possible to repair ?

gruen 1.JPG gruen 2.JPG gruen 3.JPG

Third one, my little precious :
Rolex Solar Aqua military, probably from around 1941. Doesnt work, I am not able to open it. From what I've found it could be valuable. serial number : 264468

aqua1.JPG aqua 2.JPG aqua 3.JPG


Ok, that's it :)

Can't wait for your help,

Lukasz
 

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All three are very nice but the Cricket and Solar stand out.
First, the Vulcan Cricket is an alarm watch, thus the extra hand. These are great watches and are somewhat valuable. It looks to me like mid to late 50s.
Second, the Gruen is a fairly nice late 60s style automatic. Not too special but it'll serve you well.
Third is a nice find. I am no expert on the history of Rolex but I believe Solar was somehow connected if only by name. Some Solar watches had Rolex movements or Oyster cases but it is rare. Yours looks like it may have an oyster case.

The experts should be along shortly, please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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The Vulcain is probably a 1950s-1960s watch, while the Gruen- 70s or 80s. I'd say it's gold-plated, and unlikely to be solid gold. Since it doesn't work, there might be a few obvious reasons:
-Worn lubricant
-Malfunction of rotor bearings
-Jammed axles
-Damaged balance
And the list can go on.
I'm no Rolex expert, but I think the design is similar to military watches- unless there are no military issue signatures on the caseback, I'd safely assume the watch is "civilian".
 

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Interesting to see the Gruen with numbered day wheel, as per 1 for Monday, 2 for Tuesday, and so on. This is a feature geared towards the Chinese-speaking markets, where Monday is "day one of the week", etc. Sunday, however, is "day sun of the week" so it does not say "7" but " 日 " instead; it would be interesting to see if it's the case,
 

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A very nice trio. We don't give valuations in this forum - see stickies for the reasons why - but working Rolexes and Crickets are never cheap. Look on ebay at completed listings to get an idea of the kind of prices they actually sell for. But every vintage watch is unique with regard to condition so there are never any absolute values.

BTW, the term 'self-winding' is one sometimes used to refer to watches that wind themselves (i.e. automatic) as opposed to hand-wound watches - which is what these are.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Well, actually the jewel is the one you wouldn't expect it to be. The Solar Aqua is indeed a Rolex, from when Rolex used to regularly produce watches under other brand names, such as Marconi, Tudor and so on. Solar Aqua were retailed by a Canadian department store called Eatons and were made for sale to Canadian Army soldiers (returning from war, so, yes, not service watches, but military in the strictest sense of the word). You'll find more information in this article. And here's a link to information about the movement, which will be signed "Rolex Geneve". There is some argument amongst Rolex purists on the subject, but then they are purists and there's really no limit to the level of obsession that you can find here in the watch world. For my money, it is a Rolex; yet many in the Rolex community can't bring themselves to allow that Rolex was once just another brand tugged around by the then more powerful retailers. How things change.

As you'll see, yours has a screw down "Oyster" crown to wind it; this one looks to be original, by the way. The case is, of course, a stainless steel "boy's size" (3/4 size) case, which was typical of the period. I've included a picture of my own, which came to me from my father (who served in the Canadian Army). "It could be valuable." - well, that's relative, of course. A watch branded Rolex on the dial from the period would be worth more. But there is interest in these and well worth treating with care - I wear mine daily, but then I did have the movement overhauled by a good man. Sadly, I let another watchmaker remove the original crown years ago (the threads were wearing, or so he said) and so it's been fitted with a relatively recent Rolex version. But I remember the original… anyway, a big mistake in collecting terms.

They're all lovely watches, and should all be serviced by a watchmaker who is sensitive to the needs of vintage watches. If you let us know where you're based, someone here may be able to suggest a good watchmaker. The Gruen is the least valuable, and it may be hard to get it serviced for less than its ultimate value in resale. The Cricket is enthusiastically collected and would have a reasonable value. All values can be easily researched on eBay under completed listings.

_MDH3347.jpg
 

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Actually, the numbering of days of the week (and week numbers, too) is common enough in European countries, such as Germany (or Switzerland), which makes some sense as this is a Swiss Gruen, rather than an earlier USA Gruen. I'd warrant that at the time of manufacture the Asian market - certainly the Chinese - wouldn't have been a consideration. I have a Hamilton Fontainbleau from the same time period with the day numbering and a Swiss movement, so I'd look more to Europe than the East, myself.

Interesting to see the Gruen with numbered day wheel, as per 1 for Monday, 2 for Tuesday, and so on. This is a feature geared towards the Chinese-speaking markets, where Monday is "day one of the week", etc. Sunday, however, is "day sun of the week" so it does not say "7" but " 日 " instead; it would be interesting to see if it's the case,
 

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Actually, the numbering of days of the week (and week numbers, too) is common enough in European countries, such as Germany (or Switzerland), which makes some sense as this is a Swiss Gruen, rather than an earlier USA Gruen. I'd warrant that at the time of manufacture the Asian market - certainly the Chinese - wouldn't have been a consideration. I have a Hamilton Fontainbleau from the same time period with the day numbering and a Swiss movement, so I'd look more to Europe than the East, myself.
That's a good point too; but the sunday marking would show a lot, of course.
 

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Hi and Welcome
To add.
The Solar Aqua (to me) is a fantastic find.
It is indeed a Rolex, but not using a Rolex AEGLER movement but a movement from ebauche maker Fontainmelon.
They were made for the Canadian market using a so called Rolex caliber 59, which was actually made by Fontainmelon caliber FF30.
As previously mentioned the 'SOLAR' was exclusively made and sold by the Canadian icon department store Eaton's

Movement is probably stamped Rolex, and for certain it has the patented Rolex Oyster crown.

Lovely watch and the 'solar' has that lovely indirect center sweep seconds hand!

ENJOY
adam
 
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