At first glance, this Rolex Ref 17000 in stainless steel looks like the desirable but not-so-uncommon Oysterquartz Date-Just with the Roman numeral, the so-called Buckley dial. Not so fast…
This particular Ref 17000 is one of the earliest versions of Oysterquartz made for only 18 months after the model was launched. One can confirm this because the watch was made in 1978 and the one-line inscription on the dial simply says Oysterquartz. It wasn’t until 1979 that Rolex reconfigured the tuning fork of this model and obtained the Chronometer Certification from COSC. That year, Rolex also changed the dial to the double-line print.
In my years of collecting watches, this is the first time I have seen a Buckley Roman dial that belongs to the first generation of Oysterquartz produced only through 1978. Because of the omission of the rather lengthy phrase “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified,” the Roman numerals on our watch have room to stretch their legs. The slender looking letters are elongated and extend way farther into the center of the dial. In my opinion, this creates a more elegant visual effect than the common shorter Roman dial. I cannot not go as far as to say this is a unique example, but it is very rare.
This watch comes to us from Europe in original unpolished condition. The watch was well worn for years, as a tool watch should be, so it has lots of faint hairlines on the case and bracelet. There are no deep scratches or chips to the case, bracelet or the crystal. The original bracelet is remarkably supple without stretch. All the links are present. Personally, I would not do anything to this watch cosmetically. It was recently tested and a fresh battery was installed.
The Ref 17000 measures 36 mm diameter, but the dial is positioned on a square block (like the AP Royal Oak and the Patek Nautilus), so the net effect is a very contemporary 40 mm watch. The Oysterquartz is 12.5 mm thick and wears comfortably as a dress or casual piece.
Ref 17000 comes with a synthetic sapphire crystal, which is again part of the forward-looking design of the piece. Rolex did not start using sapphire crystals in their mechanical Datejust models until 1988.
After years of turning up my nose at the Ousterquartz because of the battery power source, I have come to appreciate the innovation and finesse embedded in these watches, and the bold features of the model. Please make sure and read our short blog piece on why Rolex Oysterquartz matters to connoisseurs of fine watches.
Material: Stainless Steel
Bracelet: Stainless Steel
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Day, Date, Hack Mechanism
Dial: White Buckley Dial
Hands: Blackened Steel
Crystal: Synthetic Sapphire
Movement: Caliber 5035, quartz, 11 Jewels, Thermal compensated quartz movement accurate to within -24/+60 seconds a year
Water-resistant: 50 meters
Diameter: 36 mm. thickness 12.5 mm
Accessories: Oysterquartz Wooden Presentation Box