“If a Rolex ticks, then it is a fake.” This common belief probably explains the enduring unpopularity of the Oysterquartz reference, the first in-house quartz model from Rolex. The previous model, the reference 5100, used the Beta 21 movement; its development was shared among 20 manufacturers – read more here, from our Quartz Week – and importantly this caliber was equipped with a sweep second. The movement of the Oysterquartz is highly sophisticated as it was designed to be serviced and adjusted if needed but, yes, the second hand ticks. Launched in 1977, the Oysterquartz remained in the catalog until 2001, but it was never a best-seller – far from it. A testimony to this fact, the reference 17000 here was produced in 1991 but only purchased in 1994, so it likely waited a couple of years on the shelf of a retailer. Some might also blame the funky 1970’s design, but to me this is a huge part of this model’s attraction. In the end, you get a unique looking Datejust that you won’t find on many other wrists. The integrated bracelet is of course reminiscent of the famous Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet, although I would argue that the beefy and angular case design of the Oysterquartz is closer to some vintage Omegas, if some inspiration had to be looked for. The Oysterquartz here comes full set and retains a sharp case; the latter is something you should absolutely aim for when hunting for those quirky Rolexes that bear the serial and reference numbers on the back side of their case.
At the time of publishing, bidding was below $2,000 on eBay here, but the seller put a higher reserve for this full-set Oysterquartz.