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Rare find: Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

by Michael Weare
2 May, 2012
1 Comment | Discuss this article

About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Rolex-Oyster-Hooded-Bubbleback-1

Tempus Suisse is currently selling a beautiful Rolex Oyster ‘hooded’ Bubbleback, or ‘BB’ as collectors like to call them. It’s one of those very special watches that really is rare, and this one is in outstanding condition. It’s a model 3065/Serial 57004, dating from 1938 and with no changed parts.

Bubblebacks were produced from the 1930s – 40s and come in many sizes and different materials. Why bubbleback? It’s because the movement was very thick as it included a rotor that turned on a pivot to produce the power to wind the mainspring. The case back had to be manufactured with a rounded bubble shape so as to enclose the thick movement and rotor.

Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

Rolex continued to produce this self-winding chronometer movement and case style for about 20 years. The ‘hooded’ version of the bubbleback was made for the American market.

This model has an 18ct gold ‘hoods’ case, with a stainless steel back and a high grade Rolex 3065 automatic movement. The silvered dial has been very carefully restored – but several years ago and so it has very minor patina. But the blued steel ‘stick’ hands are original.

Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

The one thing you have to accept about vintage watches is that they are significantly smaller than modern watches. This hooded bubbleback measures 32mm wide, excluding the original yellow gold ‘Rolex Oyster’ signed winding crown x 13.5mm thick x 38.5mm long, and that’s including the hoods just after the lugs, so it’s certainly a subtle toned down size next to your IWC Big Pilots watch.

Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

The watch runs on the original Rolex automatic 3065 movement which has just been fully overhauled. There are hooded bubblebacks online for twice the price and less vintage than this little beauty.

Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Discuss: Rare find: Rolex Oyster Hooded Bubbleback

1 Comment


  1. Ken Spalt

    Hi Michael,
    Ken Spalt, here – from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
    Is this 1938 Rolex, Hooded
    18K gold/steel Oyster
    Bubblebac still available for sale? If so, what is its price?
    Please advise.
    Thank you.
    BTW, I have been a most pleased customer of Stephen Baring, who goes on record as my primary watch seller of choice.
    He excels at pleasing his many loyal customers and sells such impeccably high quality watches.
    I am interested in this 1938 hooded Rolex Bubbleback.
    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Ken S.

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