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Quartz Watches Part 1 | The Rolex Oysterquartz

Vintage Rolex OysterquartzRolex watches don’t tick. If they do, its a fake.

Or so said many a wannabe watch expert to his unenlightened  listener.

Whilst this may true for any beach-sourced FROLEX or BOLEX watch, its certainly not true if its a Rolex Oysterquartz.

Vintage & Prestige loves the Rolex Oysterquartz for many reasons. There are many superb articles on the web about the history of the Oysterquartz and we’ll no doubt try to add our piece at some point in the future but our reasons are straightforward and these reasons are some that are used constantly when choosing a vintage watch.

We’ll also concentrate on the Oysterquartz model rather than other iterations such as the related Rolex 1530 or 1630. We’ll break this loosely into history, design, how rare, availability, usability and price.

Rolex Oysterquartz History

Conceptualised in the Quartz revolution, when quartz was prized over mechanical watches during the 1970s, the movement in the first Rolex Quartz, the “Texano” was a joint-development but the Oysterquartz was Rolex.

Rolex Oysterquartz Design Point 1

preowned rolex oysterquartzThe design of the Oysterquartz deviated from the Rolex classic look and featured a Gerald Genta designed case and bracelet. Gerald Genta got this watch every bit as right as he did the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Nautilus.

Pure 70s, the look fell from favour during the popular return to automatic in the late 1980s but  has aged superbly. The Oysterquartz’s broad shoulders makes the watch look larger than it is, and given larger watches are en vogue, it would make perfect sense for a 1970s Oysterquartz to look fresh today.

Rolex Oysterquartz Design Point 2

Rolex Datejusts on a jubilee bracelet are very easily recognised. An Oysterquartz is instantly recognised by those that know.

Rolex Oysterquartz Design Point 3

The 17000 is completely functional, with tough links and frill-free case and bezel. A 19018 in 18k yellow or white gold is a block of gold and contrasts with the prettier president bracelet on a Day-Date.

No Longer Made

Made between 1977 and approx 2001 (its never been confirmed when the LAST LAST Oysterquartz was manufactured.

Limited Edition

Ok, the Oysterquartz was not a limited edition but lets put this in perspective. It is widely accepted that around 25000 Rolex Oysterquartz left the factory, in steel, steel and gold and 18k gold as well as some super limited gem set watches. Thats in 24 years.

Compare this to “James Bond” limited edition Omega watches which are limited to 10,007 examples made in a single year. The rarest of the 17000s and 17013s are the early versions without chronometer certification on the dial. Rarer still is originally diamond set white gold 19019s.


There is a choice of Rolex Oysterquartz for sale but the pick of the bunch is a lot more limited if you want papers, an unpolished case and … a box.

Oysterquartz watches had a unique box. There aren’t many around today.


The biggest argument against a quartz watch is the need to change a battery. In our experience the battery lasts three to four years and this would mean it needs a service as often as manufacturers recommend a mechanical watch is serviced.

In terms of build, these watches are extremely solid and stand up to daily use well. The case should be protected against damage, as dents will need to be polished, resulting in potential loss of those straight Genta edges.


We’d recommend paying for the best you can find. Rolex Oysterquartz have doubled in value over the past five years as have most Rolex models, and given the scarcity we see no reason why this won’t continue.