For slightly over half a century now, Rolex fans have come to recognise the various dots and dashes which adorn their beloved crown on their watch. But sometimes, the storied history of Wilsdorf’s famed firm throws up a historical treasure of great rarity that catches even some of the staunchest Rolex lovers off guard. At Deployant, we pride ourselves on historical minutiae – Come check out what we discovered about Rolex, the Crown and the Cross.
Rolex: the Crown and the Cross
“I recently came to own a vintage Rolex Bombe watch circa 1948. While taking a closer look, I noticed the crown with traditional Rolex crown and under it was a cross (+). I have also seen a similar cross on bubble backs before. What is it?” – A Deployant reader
Rest assured, Rolex crowns accompanied with a cross (+) or “Brevet” are definitely kosher and period-accurate for vintage pre-1960 Rolex watches. “Brevet” or occasionally “Brevette” means “made in” and the cross are technically patent crosses. It’s a common rumour that it’s a “Swiss cross” – it’s not however it’s understandable how the rumour arose – it’s because the Swiss government had voiced objection due to potential confusion that it was somehow endorsing Rolex. After that, the + is not used again.
The model which is used as our article cover image was produced in 1954 for two Rolex references – 6205 and 6200. The model pictured is specifically the re. 6205 with gilt print, minute track and bezel without the minute markers between 1 and 15.
Waterproof to a depth of 100 meters, the “mercedes” and luminous dot on the hands are moved slightly away from the tip as opposed to previous models. The winding crown is larger as well.
Point of interest, Brevet + appears on vintage Panerai crowns as well and you might recall that Rolex and Panerai had a cooperative relationship back in the day. But that’s another story.