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Thread: Rolex 1680/5513/1675 mid-cases with... erm... big problems

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    Default Rolex 1680/5513/1675 mid-cases with... erm... big problems

    I've had a bit of a dilemma for a couple of years now, and it isn't going to fix itself, so I figured it was worth asking here for some practical advice (after being reminded about it by JamesK's submariner thread).

    I bought an auction lot in early 2016 based on the fact it seemed to contain some Rolex cases and case backs. It was from a well known UK bricks and mortar auction house, but it was bought via the-sale room.com so I was going off some basic very photos.



    Anyway, the parts arrived and were seemingly correct 1675, 5513, and 1680 mid cases. The big problem is that on all three the serial numbers have been ground off. They seem to have been done a while ago, and in different ways so perhaps by different people or on different days (and based on everything else that was in there I'd say all the parts have been sitting in that drawer for minimum 20 years).

    So the question is, where does this leave me ? The obvious conclusion is that they were stolen, but even if that is the case there is no way to trace them as they have no serial numbers. And given the model types it was probably many many years ago. I heard stories of grey dealers grinding off numbers, but that never seemed believable, plus why would one person have collected these three examples (plus there is also one datejust case that's ground down too) ?

    I found myself in this quite difficult position by accident, so any pragmatic advice would be greatly appreciated !!

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    What difficult position? do you know 100% that they have been stolen? No. If you report them as possibly stolen what will happen then? Perhaps the Police may come and take them away as evidence, doubt it but it might happen, and then what? How can the original owner(s) be identified? Will the Police contact the auction house and enquire where they got the 'lot' from? doubt it! Its a classic 'cold case' (if indeed a crime were committed)

    As we used to say in the Army.. Is it your fault? could you have prevented it? can you take positive action about it now? If the answers are No, No, No, then why worry? Unless you intend to rebuild them and sell them as 100% genuine Rolexes, which they may very well be....but you can't prove it.

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    I looked a bit into it when I found the problem, and certainly there are some US states where it would be illegal to remove a serial number from an item with a serial number, and also illegal to sell an item with a serial number removed. I imagine that is also true to some extent in other countries.

    Now I agree that it's certainly a "cold case", but I don't want to do anything illegal.

    But as you say, there's no obvious positive action I can take. What would others do ? Throw them out ? Sell them with full disclosure ? Post them back to Rolex ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hookedseven View Post
    I looked a bit into it when I found the problem, and certainly there are some US states where it would be illegal to remove a serial number from an item with a serial number, and also illegal to sell an item with a serial number removed. I imagine that is also true to some extent in other countries.

    Now I agree that it's certainly a "cold case", but I don't want to do anything illegal.

    But as you say, there's no obvious positive action I can take. What would others do ? Throw them out ? Sell them with full disclosure ? Post them back to Rolex ?
    Well I wouldn't sell them in certain US states ;-) but what did you originally intend doing with them? If it was rebuild them and sell them on, then yes do so with full disclosure.

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    I'll buy one of the sub cases from you if you want :-) ..but not at Rolex prices....bit dodgy hooking Moody goods Guv ;-)

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    The intention was to perhaps see if I could build one up correctly and fund it by selling everything else. That was before I knew which models they were, and before I knew they had been under the Dremel. Given what I know now I wouldn't want one for myself (personal choice). So my options are realistically a) sell, b) throw away, c) send to Rolex.

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    Sell
    Or have the cases restored

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    How could you restore them ?

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    If they're mid cases they won't be signed Rolex. They may, quite legitimately, appear to be Rolex but unless they are signed as such then they are just "similar to" especially if there is no visible serial number. You've brought them from a legitimate source, they could have been cast by Rolex and had the numbers removed to stop someone rebuilding them as Rolex, they may have some unseen fault and not passed QC at Rolex (or Tudor), but you cannot know any of these things, only that you brought them in good faith from a legitimate source.
    If I had served God half as well as I have served the King, he would not have given me over to die in such a place as this

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    There are no serial numbers between the six o'clock side, but the case reference numbers and "registered design" text are still clearly visible at the 12 o'clock side. And clearly the six o'clock sides have been attacked with a Dremel, so something did used to be there.










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    Senior Member foilguy's Avatar
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    What about the inside case backs?

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    That was the second big disappointment... all the casebacks were from datejusts.

    I'd have been quids in if there were matching casebacks for the sports models.
    I would have sold them and just written off the mid-cases.

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    Would it be worth writing to Rolex UK (with photographs) advising of your find and offer to return the cases to Rolex to take them out of circulation? For your honesty and good intentions they may offer you a discount on a new watch or next service. Just thinking of how to turn a negative into a positive since you will be out of pocket a bit. I'd keep the crowns though.

    Terry

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    They might give a discount, but probably not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Andrews View Post
    Would it be worth writing to Rolex UK (with photographs) advising of your find and offer to return the cases to Rolex to take them out of circulation? For your honesty and good intentions they may offer you a discount on a new watch or next service. Just thinking of how to turn a negative into a positive since you will be out of pocket a bit. I'd keep the crowns though.

    Terry
    If I had served God half as well as I have served the King, he would not have given me over to die in such a place as this

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    They would just take them and you would be lucky to get a thank

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    If I sent them back to Rolex it would be anonymously anyway.

    I wouldn't want any hassle, and the odds of there being an upside are minuscule.

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    I'd buy them,
    One for me and one for each of my sons

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