In a world where the word "quartz" often attracts a few crooked looks, envision a moment in history when this term was the most coveted one could only dream about.
Let's dive into the intriguing story of the Rolex Quartz Ref. 5100 "Texano" – a watch that once made the term "quartz" the coolest thing ever. Imagine a time when rocking this on your wrist wasn't about budget statements; it was a VIP ticket, something an affluent Texas oil tycoon would flaunt. Now, let's explore the captivating history of this unique Rolex timepiece, ready to steal the spotlight again and again.
A revolutionary moment
Let's get back to a game-changing moment in watch history – the birth of the Texano. This is not your everyday watch; it has its roots in a time that was anything but ordinary. Mechanical watches, driven by a 17th-century invention called the balance spring, were ruling the scene until the late 60s, when quartz stepped in changing the game.Now, imagine the Centre Electronique Horologer (CEH), a group of 20 Swiss watchmakers, including the legendary Rolex. They got inspired by Bulova's Accutron, but the road to revolution wasn't smooth. The Alpha Project faced doubts about the resilience of a quartz crystal in a wristwatch. No problem for the CEH engineers, though – they went on a journey that led to the birth of the Beta-21, a game-changing quartz oscillator unveiled on December 19, 1967.While Seiko's "Quartz Astron" claims the first publicly marketed quartz watch title in 1969, it was the Beta-21 that stole the spotlight at the 1970 Basel Fair. Picture this – over 20 Swiss different maisons, displaying distinctive and funky 70s designs, all sharing a common feature: the first-ever Swiss-Made quartz movement. Forget today's perception of quartz watches; back then, Beta-21-driven timepieces were exclusive, commanding prices that even surpassed a medium-sized car. We are talking about technological artistry at its finest.
The Texano's Overture
The Rolex Ref. 5100, known as "the Texano”, was something new, something opulent and something for the rich. When it was launched in 1972 was the most expensive Rolex watch in the catalogue, featuring a massive 40mm solid gold case and uniquely design bracelet, which was ahead of its time with the futuristic design. Moreover, it earned a distinction as the first Rolex to feature a sapphire crystal. This timepiece, with its substantial case housing the revolutionary Beta-21 movement, defied trends, becoming a symbol of status and sophistication. It boasted unparalleled accuracy of +/-0.003 sec/day, far away from the typical COSC certification limits. Owning a Texano wasn't just an acquisition; it was owning a technology masterpiece. The production run lasted until 1972 when Rolex decided to develop an independent Quartz movement which then resulted in the Oysterquartz.
The rarest of all: White Gold
Our first spotlight is on the Rolex Quartz Ref. 5100 "Texano" in white gold. Among an overall production of 1000 pieces in yellow and white gold, the white gold version was produced in just 100 pieces. This makes this version one of the rarest Rolex watches of all time. Its substantial white gold case not only encapsulates the innovative Beta-21 movement but also bears witness to the evolution of Rolex craftsmanship.As we delve into its history, it's essential to note that the Texano in white gold represents more than a timepiece; it's the ultimate status symbol. Breaking away from the ordinary, this chunky yet elegant creation features a 40mm super-sharp white gold case equipped with a state of the art Quartz movement, a synthetic Sapphire crystal and a quick set date. A nod to luxury and precision, it still bears the sticker on the case back. It is accompanied by Rolex Service Papers and can be safely considered a true collector's delight.
The Yellow Gold Classic: Embracing Timeless Elegance
Shifting our attention to the second star of the show, we are happy to present another Rolex Quartz Ref. 5100 "Texano" present in our collection, this time in yellow gold, perfect to fit larger, Texan Billionaires’ wrists.This opulent watch was exorbitantly expensive, not only due to the massive gold case and bracelet, but also because of the groundbreaking Quartz technology of the time. Additionally, new features like the sapphire glass and the quickset date further contributed to its luxurious appeal.If you’re looking for a piece of modern history on your wrist, this is the perfect way to wear the iconic Beta-21 movement within a case that exudes warmth and timeless elegance. According to public information, only the first 300 examples (in yellow and white gold) were equipped with this 1st Generation bracelet, which in this case remains long and features a clasp dated 02/71.It was discontinued in 1972 due to a lack of demand, although the initial launch pieces had sold out before the official launch in 1970.
Our Curated Collection In The Heart of Dubai
If you are in the UAE, we invite you to visit our new boutique at ICD Brookfield Place. Here, you can view these two Rolex 5100 watches before they depart for their new future collections.As you witness these timepieces in person, you're not just observing watches; you're stepping into a chapter of horological evolution. Do you know what happened after Rolex discontinued the Texano? Click here and read our latest article about Rolex Oysterquartz and two super-rare specimens from our collection.