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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
Was just wondering why rolex never became British military issue or part of the dirty dozen during WW2?

I see that jaeger and IWC were chosen by the British which I thought to have been as or more expensive than rolex.

I know rolex offered a 'order now pay later' offer to officers in pow camps.

I would have thought rolexs oyster feature would have been a great benefit?

I have also posted this question in the military watch forum.

Many thanks


Lee
 

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Its a very good question.
I guess Hans Wilsdorf was too busy making money!!
 

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I would have thought rolexs oyster feature would have been a great benefit?
I don't think the UK military was interested in waterproofing for those watches.

My guess is that they were looking for watches of uniform size and similar movement construction, so repairs could be performed by relatively young and inexperienced military watchmakers.

Rolex watches which had waterproof cases and automatic movements (relatively new innovations in the 1940's) would have required special training to repair.

Rolex probably could have made watches that fit the specifications for the "Dirty Dozen", but it would have been costly. The other manufacturers were making watches that were close to the specifications already (i.e. Omegas cal. 30T and JLC cal. 469).

Besides, Rolex sold the U.K. plenty of large pocket watches.

This is all just a theory on my part and I'm sure a lot more research needs to be done.
gatorcpa
 

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Very valid points
Thanks
 

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Not very valid points, considering what WWW stands for. Depending on the source, it's Watches Wristlet Waterproof, Waterproof Wrist Watch, Wrist Watch Waterproof... They weren't interested in waterproof pilot watches, the 6B/159 and the HS8 are a proof of that. But the WWW? A waterproof case is at the very foundation of that specification!

W.W.W. - Wrist Watch Waterproof

What the British military did cut corners on, were the shock devices. For whatever reason, they decided, that ordering a lot of spare balance staffs will be less costly than buying watches with a shock device.

The point about automatic movements is not very well founded either, considering that back then Rolex and Tudor were using the FHF 30 as their cal. 59. Which would not require any better skills to repair than, say, an Omega 30T2. For that matter, an Omega 30T2 would be even more difficult, with its Breguet hairspring...

Think we can only be guessing, that it wouldn't have been profitable for Rolex to produce a new non-Oyster waterproof case for such a limited production run. That said, even if the British military would have turned to them, which we don't know if they did, Rolex would most likely have refused anyway, for reasons of a purely financial nature. Besides, Mr. Wilsdorf was busy driving around the Stalags and Oflags, offering future sales of watches to Allied POWs...
Sean Linnane: PRISONER of WAR ROLEX's
So he has likely simply seen an opportunity to profit from the war elsewhere. Oh, and in supplying Panerai, the supplier to the Italian military...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks kindly for your information!

I found another feature on the dirty dozen

https://www.acollectedman.com/blogs/watch-life/59621443-the-story-of-the-dirty-dozen-the-first-wristwatches-specially-commissioned-for-the-british-army

Interesting to know that the dirty dozens delivery seem to come near the end of the war.

I guess rolex would have been busy producing watches for the pow's by then?

But I wonder if rolex was invited to submit a quote to provide watches to the uk?
In the link above,the author said enicar was a possible 13th company,but no watches were known to exist?
 

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The previous specification for the British military watches was ATP, and Enicar was one of the suppliers of these. So it wouldn't be unlikely for them to have tried to get another contract.

I don't think Rolex was exactly busy, I simply don't think that it would have been anyhow profitable for them to design a whole new case to fit the specification.

Most of the WWWs were issued from very late in 1944 on, so they haven't seen much action...
 
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