John Goldberger’s book ‘100 Superlative Rolex Watches’ contains, not surprisingly, 100 vintage Rolex watches generally of the highest quality and thankfully omits those pesky fake Paul Newman dials. The layout keeps to his usual display format and remains informative and useful for reference.
Released around 2009 the book was one of the first ‘luxury’ editions, luxury not for their content but for their print and lavish covers, this example using the traditional Rolex green for the leather-esque outer
Books like this are very useful identifying genuine watches, there are so many reproduction bezels for the GMT Ref.6542 (pictured above) that having a genuine one to compare with really assists in determining the authenticity. Similarly, it is always good to compare the watch you are being offered to buy with a known genuine example, even well-respected dealers and auction houses can offer you a model with a later replaced dial described as a “beautiful original Rolex dial”, which isn’t wrong, but isn’t right either.
I have seen an interview with John Goldberger about his personal collection, in the video, while sitting in a restaurant eating cheese with the watches in front of him, he picks up the above photographed Rolex split-second chronograph watch (one of only 13 believed made), grabs a cheese knife and pops the case back open, casual as can be. Opening a watch with a cheese knife isn’t easy; now think about that same action knowing the watch is worth over a million US dollars!
One of my favorite vintage Rolex's is the military Submariner used by the British in the 1970’s and into the early 80’s. They were all fitted with movements that had hacking-seconds (the second hand stops when the crown is pulled out, often used by the military to synchronies watches) had specially modified cases with solid strap bars and used different hands (large Sword), dials (indicating tritium was present) and bezels (with minute indications 0-60) to the regular production model. However as they were frequently serviced these unique parts were often changed for regular ‘civilian’ Submariner ones. A version as illustrated above with all-original components is known as a full-spec military Submariner.
I have heard John Goldberger is currently working on a second edition of ‘100 Superlative Rolex Watches’, keep checking his website for updates