In horology, documented evidence of provenance for a watch could be essential to establish that it has not been altered and is not a forgery. "Good and clean" history of ownership including any documentation related to original sale and servicing history is highly prized because the provenance itself can make a considerable difference to a watch's selling price in the market. An expert certification (for example, an insurance valuation) is not a replacement for good provenance because certifications themselves may be open to question. What you really want is material evidence which itself goes back to the date when the watchwas either manufactured or sold.
Unfortunately majority of watch owners are either not aware of the importance of keeping a 'log book', let alone interested in preserving the certificates, receipts, original invoices, hang tags, instruction manuals or even boxes! This is the main reason why only a fraction of vintage watches do come as complete sets, and only few have some kind of written documentation related to ownership and servicing history.
For that reason, our recent acquisition turned out to be a very special deal. A lovely, all-original Rolex Submariner 1680 manufactured in 1970; arrived with original fold over bracelet accompanied with a guarantee booklet! (The booklet is known as "Guarantee and at your service" sic.)
The booklet was to be filled-in by the Rolex retailer at the date of sale and kept as a servicing logbook.
Thanks to the efforts of a meticulous owner, we are now able to trace back the servicing history of this Submariner.
Manufactured in 1970, the 1680 was sold in June 1972 by Charles Packer and Company, London. The original owner vividly remembers the price: "132 pounds and 50 new pence, introduced just after decimalization in 1971."
The very first service was undertaken in 1977. Here is an excerpt from the logbook:
|Date||Details of Service||Serviced By||Charge|
|12.4.1977||Clean, oil, adjusted||Prouds Chatswood||$ 28.50|
|16.4.1981||New glass, bracelet||Rolex Hong Kong||$144.50|
|25.3.1985||Clean, new bezel insert||Sydney||$132|
|28.2.1992||Clean, seals, new glass||Sydney||$286|
Once again, thanks to this meticulous record keeping, we have not only fantastic provenance but great historical data related to Rolex servicing charges over three decades as well!
As collectors and students of horology, we can only wish that every watch owner will take the same care of his precious ticker.
For more photos of this Rolex 1680 see http://www.clockmaker.com.au/w/p772.html.
Private stock, serious offers welcome.