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Vintage Watch: Rolex Verislim, Ref. 9164, 1960s

For those who like them very slim.

One of the most endearing qualities of a vintage watch has to be its sleek profile. Unlike many current timepieces, vintage watches tend to be slimmer, in line with the trend of the day. The 1960s, particularly, saw a jump in the production of ultra-thin timepieces and the Verislim was Rolex’s answer to the trend.

Rolex Verislim Ref. 9164
Heirloom Gallery owner, Shawn Tan, acquired this piece from a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. “It’s perfect for those who like their watches smaller and less complicated,” he tells us. He acknowledges Rolex banks on their sports models like the Submariner and Daytona these days, which are arguably more iconic than their Cellini dress watch collection. “Sports models sell well, so you can’t blame Rolex for making things that sell,” Shawn argues. But for those who want an unfussy dress watch with a retro vibe, this Verislim checks the right boxes.

The 35mm case boasts a svelte profile measuring just 8mm, including the crystal, and is built with the in-house manual-winding Calibre 1000 with 18 jewels.

Rolex Verislim Ref. 9164
A special feature of this watch is its engine-turned bezel. Shawn explains that most classic Rolex models don’t come with ridged bezels so this one is really quite unique. It also comes with the original bell-shaped crown—a predominant accent of watches in that era. An 18K gold Rolex buckle (above) and vintage burgundy French strap complete the look.

This timepiece retails for S$6,000 and comes with a six-month warranty. Like other vintage watches, wear it with care to avoid water damage, over-winding, magnetic fields and impact.

Shawn advises servicing the watch every three years if you wear it every day, or once every five years if you don’t wear it often.

“It’s like a car,” he says, “if you drive it, you have to service it.” Watch winders aren’t recommended though. Shawn explains, “When you use winders for certain automatic watches, you’re overworking the movement and you’ll accelerate your service rate. It’s better to wind and release the spring through normal wear.”

The only watches he recommends placing on watch winders are perpetual calendars. “With perpetual calendars, you don’t really have a choice because if you leave it for too long and the watch stops, you’ll have to set all the functions again," he explains.

Heirloom Gallery is at The Riverwalk, Upper Circular Road, #01-37, Singapore 058416 


Ex Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".

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