The Next Oysterquartz?
In 2004, an Oysterquartz watch was offered at auction by Antiquorum that looked like an ordinary 17014 stainless model with the white gold bezel. Upon closer examination, however, it was clear this watch was something unique and many wondered if it was a genuine Rolex. There was no reference number on the back of the watch where one would expect to see it engraved on a typical Oysterquartz. And the watch contained a heretofore unheard of 23 jewel quartz movement marked "5335" with a date function that employed a perpetual calendar mechanism that could be completely adjusted using the crown.
This mystery watch was never sold because it was pulled when Rolex told Antiquorum officials that it had been stolen from them. A civil lawsuit ensued in Switzerland between the owner of the watch and Rolex. Rolex lost this suit largely due to the testimony of former and current Rolex employees who testified that it was common practice for Rolex to dispose of prototype watches by giving them to employees. Also, the fact that Rolex had never reported the watch to the police as stolen didn't help their case. The publicity surrounding the trial served to confirm the authenticity and provenance of this watch and ensure its value as a collector's piece when it is eventually offered for sale again.
Prototype Oysterquartz Day-Date Perpetual Calendar
Thanks to a former Rolex insider (who no longer works for Rolex), I am able to confirm not only the existence of the Oysterquartz Perpetual Calendar, but give some details about this watch, which is without doubt the rarest Oysterquartz ever produced by Rolex.
Here is a photo of the 5335 movement used in the Oysterquartz Perpetual Calendar. Note the lack of a battery compartment. Also note the Rolex coronet on the gold battery contact.
Here are a few of my observations about the 5335. These are my opinions only and have not be confirmed by the source of the photos or the above information.
The confirmed existence of the Oysterquartz Perpetual Calendar does give some hope that Rolex may one day reintroduce the Oysterquartz line since they clearly have a modern, thermocompensated quartz movement ready for use.
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