2024 February Meeting

1st February 2024

‘Early Rolex Watches’

Jon Clasper

Jonathan Clasper, a recently retired Army Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specialised in Trauma and the upper limbs, working recently with the NHS at Frimley Park Hospital.

“I have always had an interest in watches, and from a young age saw a Rolex watch as the ultimate must have”. Outside of medicine I enjoy history, and so the history of wristwatches, particularly their association with the military has always fascinated me. Unlike most collectors who seem to desire the rare steel Rolexes of the 50’s and 60’s my interest has always been early silver trench watches, especially as they cost a fraction of the price of a Paul Newman Daytona!

My talk will consider the early years of Rolex, mostly pre-1920. It is a time that isn’t well understood but can be inferred by looking at the watches themselves. In particular I will show that many opinions that are published can’t really be supported by the evidence. In particular:

  • It’s difficult to actually define what an early Rolex wristwatch is.
  • Rolex were not the first wristwatch enthusiasts.
  • Rolex weren’t the most successful wristwatch retailer pre-WW1.
  • Rolex benefitted from a change in the import law in 1907, and the demand during WW1.
  •  Rolex did sell their own pocket watches.
  • A Rolex watch wasn’t the premium product.
  • Rolex together with Aegler, were innovating right from the earliest days.

In addition, I will propose a way of dating the early Rolex watches, which allows their development to be followed.

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)



7.30pm for 8.00pm Start