The Speedking is a fine, mid-sized Stainless Steel, manually wound, sweep second hand watch. This example was manufactured in 1966 and is a classic mid-sized Oyster, with a satin finished silver dial with clean three-dimensional applied baton hour markers with Tritium lume plots. It has a 30mm Stainless Steel case to Oyster specification with screw down crown and coin edge screw case back. It has a brushed finish to the top of the case, with a notched polished bezel holding the acrylic crystal and polished case sides. Between the lugs it is marked with the registered design 6430, with the serial number 1491927.
Inside the case is signed with the reference 6430, with the date code for 1966. The movement is a calibre 1225 which is manually wound, with shock proofing and a jewel count of 17. This is a good original example, with light wear and charming patination.
Subtle design touches add balance to the dial with the Rolex logo at 12 O’clock, countered by the differentiated 3, 6, 9 markers with a notch running down the centre.
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.
It was also a popular watch during the second world war with British pilots buying the watches due to the shock resistant properties.
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.
These two war related aspects were the reason why Rolex celebrated the success of its models during the war, and commemorated this with the introduction of the Air-King. Both were very closely related watches in terms of movements, dials and cases throughout the 50s and 60s.
The 1225 movement and earlier versions were based on the 10.5 half hunter movement by Aegler which is robust and reliable.
The more compact case size of the Speedking has certainly prevented it becoming the recognised classic that some of the other models in this period have become. At 30mm, it is certainly more at home on a ladies wrist with today’s taste.
The model continued into the late 1970s, with some for sale in authenticated dealers as New Old Stock examples in the 1980s.
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. If you can get used to its size, 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 Satin finish dial in a silver tone is original and is in good original condition. It has some light and even speckled patination which is attractive. The polishers markers are good, as is the signing.
The hands are original of luminous baton design, in a silver tone. They are in good condition with little signs of ageing. The lume in-fill is original.
The acrylic crystal is good condition, with some light surface scratches.
The Steel Rolex crown is original and in good condition, functioning as it should, screwing down well.
The case is formed of Stainless Steel and is in good condition with light surface scratching. The brushed finish on the top is good, with polished finish to the sides. The lugs are well shaped with little signs of wear to the drilled lugs. The polished sides of the lugs have some marks. The polished bezel is good.
The case back is stainless steel and is in very good condition with polished finish. The finishing has some light surface scratching. The coin edge is very good and sharp with no signs of poor opening attempts.
The watch comes on a new, non-Rolex, genuine leather strap.
The movement is a Rolex calibre 1225. It is a manual wind movement with sweep second hand. It has a jewel count of 17, a higher beat frequency of 21,600 BPH and a 58-hour power reserve. It has KIF-Ultraflex shock protection and Kif-Duofix escape wheel capping.
The movement service history is unknown, but it is in good condition cosmetically and is a good timekeeper. It’s keeping time to within +/- 15 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 250 degrees and a beat error of 0.1m/s.
Case width: 30mm
Case width with crown: 34mm
Case length: 30mm
Case length lug to lug: 35mm
Case Depth: 10mm
Lug width: 17mm
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