From Geneva to Venezuela, the Story Behind the Rolex 6634 Serpico Y Laino “Golden Egg”
On Christmas morning, one of my boys gave me a little box from under the tree, a container that was from my stepfather. I opened it up as I would any other blessing, with energy and curiosity, however I was completely overwhelmed when I encountered a gold watch with perhaps the most easily conspicuous brand symbols: the Rolex crown. My heartbeat enlivened. Obviously, I was not anticipating this! I carefully lifted the little, yellow-gold fortune out from the container to draw a nearer take a gander at it. As I surrendered it to examine the back, my heart sank a piece. The rear of the case was steel! Surely Rolex never made a gold-covered watch? Or then again did it?
From the size and look of the watch, I figured it was from the last part of the 1950s or early ‘60s and had probably had a place with my progression granddad. Presently, this watch was being passed down to me, and regardless of whether turned out not to be a certified Rolex, it was as yet a brilliant blessing to possess a family legacy. The only other Rolex I own was, truth be told, additionally passed down to me—a 18k gold President 1803 from 1971 that originally had a place with my granddad and afterward my dad. It was skilled to me on my 40th birthday.
Now, I have a respectable measure of involvement in vintage watches, yet Rolex is certainly not my specialty. There are endless models and varieties of those models, so I thought maybe there really was some dark gold-covered Rolex model of which I was unconscious. I started to investigate the watch so I could try to bits together the entire story.
The unquestionable Oyster case estimates 34mm wide and has 19mm drags. It has the popular Rolex-marked, screw-down crown system. The model reference number for Rolex is stepped on the edge of the case between the top carries, and the chronic number is stepped between the base hauls. This one was checked “6634,” and a speedy Google search showed that this was to be sure a certifiable Rolex model! The reference 6634 Oyster Perpetual is otherwise called the “Golden Egg” due to its thick, gold-covered case. I found a couple of various references with gold-covered cases with a few dial variants.
The gold-covering measure is unique in relation to basic electroplating. The gold shell, or cap, is shaped from a thick sheet (on account of Rolex, 240 microns thick), and it is squeezed onto a base metal case with a dainty layer of motion to help the layers bond. Omega is another brand that has utilized this cycle, which is better than electroplating in that the gold layer is a lot thicker with a more lasting bond.
Powering the watch is Rolex’s type 1030. The 1030 is a 25-gem programmed development that can likewise be hand wound. It beats at 18,800 bph, and is changed in accordance with five positions. This is the very development that is found in the Rolex Submariner 6538, famously worn by Sean Connery as James Bond. It likewise has the qualification of being the primary Rolex development with a bi-directional winding mechanism.
The white dial with basic gold stick markers and an applied Rolex crown at 12 has the typical “Oyster Perpetual” beneath the applied “Rolex” text, and “Officially Certified Chronometer” at the base. The dial is set off by straightforward gold dauphine hour and moment hands, and a wonderful blued-steel second hand. Curiously, there was some extra printed text on the dial that I was inexperienced with: “Serpico Y Laino.” I realize that some jewelry brands, similar to Tiffany & Co, were known to add their name to the dials of watches they sold. Some more Internet sleuthing resulted and I discovered that Serpico Y Laino was a very good quality jewelry retailer began by two Italian courteous fellows, Leopoldo Serpico and Vecente Laino, in Caracas, Venezuela. The store was in activity from 1925 to 1966. Eventually, the two men met with Rolex author Hans Wilsdorf in Geneva and manufactured an arrangement to become the sole merchant for Rolex watches in Venezuela, which obviously ended up being an incredible upset. They were additionally the sole merchant for another very good quality watch brand you may have heard of—Patek Philippe. The chronic number stepped on my 6634 dates it to 1959, which falls inside the time span of Serpico Y Laino, adding to my conviction that this watch was, indeed, the genuine article. The steel case back additionally has a stamping extraordinary to the Serpico Y Laino co-marked watches, “S&L ACERO Y ORO 14K.” The “S&L” is obviously short for the store name, and “acero y oro” is Spanish for “steel and gold.”
Intrigued by the way that this watch began from Venezuela, I asked my stepfather for the story behind it, and the story he advised ended up being more fascinating than the actual watch! As he advises it, his dad was the chief of a traveler vessel steamship from the Swedish Johnson Line out of Stockholm during the 1950s. What’s more, apparently, he was very well known with a portion of the female travelers. One such traveler was Kitty Van Fleet, who had hitched into a wealthy land-possessing Venezuelan family of Dutch inception. The story goes that Kitty was taking part in an extramarital entanglements with a celebrated doo-wop artist, and her family was so offended at her purported offenses that they literally sent her off on the Johnson Line transport. She turned into a normal traveler on the boat, and started an undertaking with the chief, who, as you may recollect, was my progression granddad. Sooner or later, she talented him this Rolex watch, and it eventually arrived in stepfather’s cabinet where it sat until this past Christmas.
The story behind a vintage watch can so regularly be lost to time. At the point when I told my stepfather that this Rolex started from Venezuela, the story of Kitty immediately returned to him. Also, however cool as this watch seems to be by itself, the story of worldwide sentiment on the oceans during the 1950s simply rejuvenates it. This is an ideal illustration of why I love gathering vintage watches. During my examination, I found the story of Rolex and Serpico Y Laino nicely point by point in this post on Rolex Passion Report . I additionally contacted the proprietor of HQ Milton , one of most regarded online Rolex sellers ( @HQMilton ) to check whether he could illuminate me further. He demonstrated that while the Serpico Y Laino co-marked dials are comparative in nature to the Tiffany & Co ones, Serpico Y Laino was a lot more modest company than Tiffany and halted creation fairly early, making the Serpico Y Laino dials the more difficult to find of the two. Having a Serpico Y Laino co-marked dial generally adds around three-times the estimation of the standard variant to a given watch.
Poking around the Net I had the option to discover plenty of instances of co-marked dials, yet not a solitary 6634 with the Serpico Y Laino dial. An ordinary 6634 appears to go for around $1500-$2500 relying upon condition and dealer. This one would go for considerably more. Be that as it may, as far as I might be concerned, the worth is immeasurable.