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Blog: Fake Rolex: SA, A Schild

First published: 21 September 2023, last updated 18 June 2024.

Copyright © David Boettcher 2005 - 2024 all rights reserved.

I make additions and corrections to this web site frequently but, because they are buried somewhere on one of the pages, the changes are not very noticeable. I decided to create this blog to highlight new material. Here below you will find part of one of the pages that is either completely new or I have recently changed or added to significantly.

As always, if you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch via my Contact Me page.


Fake Rolex: SA, A Schild

Watch with “Authenticity Guarantee”
Watch with “Authenticity Guarantee”: Click image to enlarge

A. Schild calibre 137 movement
A. Schild calibre 137 movement: Click image to enlarge

Case Marks: Sponsor's Mark SA
Case Marks: Sponsor's Mark SA: Click image to enlarge

Fake Rolex logo on dial
Fake Rolex logo on dial: Click image to enlarge

Fake Rolex logo on movement
Fake Rolex logo on movement: Click image to enlarge

A correspondent contacted me about the watch in the photos, asking whether the movement had ever been seen in a Rolex trench watch. The short answer is no, the movement is not correct for a Rolex watch of the period and the watch is clearly a fake.

But the watch is covered with Rolex logos; on the dial, in the case and on the movement, and it came with an “Authenticity Guarantee” as shown in the first photograph (sorry about the poor quality photographs). So why has the movement never been seen in a Rolex trench watch?

The movement is an A. Schild calibre 137, which is not a movement found in Rolex wristwatches. The correct movement for a Rolex wristwatch of this age is an Aegler Rebberg. If a trench watch like this doesn't have an Aegler Rebberg movement, then it's not a Rolex watch. Simple.

Whoever had tried to turn this watch into a Rolex really went to town with fake Rolex logos, so let's look at them one by one.

The Case: Sponsor's Mark SA

The watch case has Birmingham Assay Office import hallmarks for sterling (925) silver with the date letter "B" for the Birmingham Assay Office hallmarking year from 1926 to 1927.

The sponsor's mark, SA in cameo with each letter within a separate rectangular surround, was entered at the Birmingham Assay Office in 1924 by George and Jean Bouverat trading as the Swiss Agency, 30 Frederick Street, Birmingham.

George and Jean Bouverat were the owners and directors of a Birmingham based company Bouverat and Co. Ltd., importers of watches with the brands “Visible” and “Bernex” made by the associated Swiss company Arnold Bouverat-Jobin & ses fils. Bouverat and Co. already had a sponsor's mark “GB&Co” registered in 1922, they probably registered the bland “Swiss Agency” so that, in addition to watch cases submitted for hallmarking under their own name, they could offer hallmarking services to Swiss watch case manufacturers who did not have their own registration.

Bouverat and Co. Ltd. and the Swiss Agency had no connection with, and nothing to do with, Rolex.

The Rolex stamp in the case is obviously fake, the letters are badly formed and the logo looks little like a genuine Rolex case stamp. The W&D mark is a better copy of the Wilsdorf and Davis sponsor's mark but obviously is also fake.

To be valid and legal, a British hallmark must be accompanied by a sponsor's mark registered at the assay office that struck the hallmark, which is something that many people don't realise or understand.

Evidently the person who tried to change the identity of this watch into a Rolex was not aware of the role and legal significance of a sponsor's mark in British hallmarking. If the watch really was a Rolex, and the W&D sponsor's mark genuine, the case would not have the SA sponsor's mark of the Swiss Agency.

The Dial

The Rolex logo on the dial is not original, it has been added in enamel paint, the same as the one described here FakeRolexLogo. It can be seen that the enamel paint used to create the fake Rolex logo stands proud of the dial; if it was an original part of the dial in vitreous enamel, it would be flat like the minute track and outlines to the numerals.

At the time this watch was imported, British retailers did not allow manufacturer's names to appear on dials like this, although that insistence was gradually being worn down, principally by Hans Wilsdorf. So could the enamel painted Rolex logo actually be original? No. Enamel paint sticks very poorly to vitreous enamel dials like this one and some if not most of an original enamel painted logo would be missing, showing that this one is not original but has been applied relatively recently.

Another feature of the dial that is not correct is the ring of 24 hour numerals. The British Army did not use the 24 hour system during the First World War, so British trench watches did not have 24 hour dials. The case of this watch dates to after the war, but at the end of the war there was a huge surplus of trench watches that had been made during the war and were not needed when it suddenly came to an end.

The Movement

The movement is an A. Schild calibre 137, which is not a movement found in Rolex wristwatches. As already stated above, The correct movement for a Rolex wristwatch of this age is an Aegler Rebberg. Aegler registered the design of the Rebberg movement in 1903, several years before Hans Wilsdorf got into importing watches and long before he thought of the name Rolex.

The Rolex logo on the barrel bridge of the movement is an obvious fake, which can be verified by looking at similar marks on genuine Rolex watch movements from the 1920s; none of them look like this one. Genuine Rolex watch movements of this age have Rolex engraved on the ratchet wheel, the larger of the two exposed winding wheels.

A Marriage

The watch is a marriage; the movement and case started life as parts of at least two different watches and have been brought together, possibly by the person who faked all the Rolex markings.

The fact that the movement is not original to the case is shown by the 24 hour markings on the dial and the witness marks in the case from the original movement case screws. This movement is inserted into the case from the front (bezel) side of the case and case screws hold the movement in place in the case.

The current movement is held in place by a pin, which is not visible, and a single dog screw, a screw with a half-head that engages with the middle part of the case. The original movement had two case screws that bore against the inner rim of the case.

The witness marks of the case screws for the original movement can be seen on the case adjacent to the cock for the fourth wheel and near to the “R” of the fake Rolex logo on the barrel bridge.

Conclusions

Nothing of this watch has anything to do with Rolex, the Rolex markings are all fake.

My correspondent was obviously disappointed by this news and tried to return the watch. He was told that sending it back to get it re-authenticated was the only option for a return. When he told a representative of the company that had “authenticated” the watch that he had information that the watch was a fake, they were very averse to his concerns and kept saying in a dismissive way “oh what experts” or “internet experts”. He sent the watch back together with the information that I supplied and, happily, a few days later told me that he had been refunded.

Naturally I was glad to hear that a refund had been made, but how many other watches have been “authenticated” like this? The Romans had a term for situations this; caveat emptor, which is Latin for “let the buyer beware”. If you are hunting for a watch, or anything else, bear that in mind. An “Authenticity Guarantee” is of no significance if the person or company providing it don't know what they are talking about, as was the case here.

If you have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch via my Contact Me page.

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Copyright © David Boettcher 2005 - 2024 all rights reserved. This page updated June 2024. W3CMVS. Back to the top of the page.