top of page

For sale we have a 1946 Rolex Oyster Speedking precision, reference 4220. The Speedking is a fine, mid-sized Stainless Steel, manually wound, sweep second hand watch. This example was manufactured in 1946 and is a classic mid-sized Oyster, with a satin finished silver dial, with raised rose gold tone hour and minute markers. The hour markers are nicely balanced with alternating arabic and dash markers. The dial is signed with the Rolex cornet and text, with Oyster Speedking Precision signing.


It has a 30mm Stainless Steel case to Oyster specification with screw down crown and coin edge screw case back. The original crown is signed ‘Rolex Oyster’. It has a brushed finish to the top of the case, with a notched polished bezel holding the acrylic crystal and polished case sides. It has drilled lugs, making spring bar change easy. Between the lugs it is marked with the clear serial number, dating it to 1946.


Inside the case is signed with the reference 4220 and is marked with the Rolex 31 Victories script.


The movement is a Rolex calibre 10 ½’’’ hunter movement which is manually wound, with a jewel count of 17, sweep second hand and patented super balance. This is a good original example that wears its age with charming, speckled patination.


It is presented on a period Bonklip Stainless Steel bracelet.


Model history:


The Rolex Speedking made its first appearance in the mid 1930s and brought with it a classic design that has remained relevant even with the passage of time. It was named after the ‘King of Speed’ Sir Malcolm Campbell, breaker of speed records and a Rolex fan to his core. In September 1935, he set a land speed record of over 300 MPH, while wearing his Rolex watch. As such, with its name and shock proof benefits, it was a popular watch with motor enthusiasts.


The Speedking is also well-known for its claim to fame as the ‘POW watch’. During the second world war, Rolex offered British prisoners of war in Germany the opportunity to purchase a Rolex watch to be delivered to their POW camp but could be paid for after the war finished. The Speedking was the most popular choice due to its relative affordability.


The more compact case size of the Speedking has prevented it becoming the recognised classic that some of the other models in this period have become. However, we are now beginning to see a sweel of interest in small mid-century Rolex references.


Final thoughts:


We love this reference due to its compact case and effortlessly clean and balanced design. It makes it a pleasure to wear with its quiet, un-deniable quality. Paired with a Bonklip bracelet, it has a functional and integrated appearance on the wrist. It represents a classic Rolex model with an intriguing and reassuring history.


Full condition report below. Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.



The silver tone dial has a satin finish, with light linear brushing. It is original and is in patinated condition. The rose gold tone raised hour markers and minute track is good. The signing to the dial is good and clear. There is a speckled raised ageing to the dial.



The hands are original of stick design, in a rose gold tone. They are in decent condition, with corrosion associated with ageing. The central second hand is original. It has wear to the blued finish to the centre.



The acrylic crystal is a replacement which is in perfect condition.



The Steel Rolex crown is original and in good condition, functioning as it should, screwing down well. The Rolex Oyster engraving is good and clear.



The case is formed of Stainless Steel and is in good original condition with light surface scratching. The brushed finish on the top is fainter with age, with polished finish to the sides having light scratching. The lugs are well shaped with little signs of wear to the drilled lugs. The bezel has some more noticeable scratches. It remains unpolished and wears the signs of its age.  



The case back is stainless steel and is in good condition unpolished condition. It has some light surface scratches associated with age. The coin edge is very good and sharp with no signs of poor opening attempts.



The watch comes on a period Bonklip Stainless Steel bracelet. It has scratching and dints associated with age. It secures as it should.  



The movement is a manually wound Rolex calibre 10 ½’’’ hunter movement. It has a jewel count of 17, with sweep centre second and patented super balance.


The movement service history is unknown, but it is in good condition cosmetically and is a good timekeeper. It’s keeping time to within +20 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 270 degrees and a beat error of 0.1m/s.


Case dimensions:

Case width: 30mm

Case width with crown: 32.5mm

Case length: 29mm

Case length lug to lug: 35.75mm

Case Depth: 11.5mm

Lug width: 17mm

1946 Rolex Oyster Speedking precision Ref 4220 Bonklip bracelet

Out of Stock
    bottom of page