Interesting Replica Rolex’s Very First Quartz Watch For Sale At Christie’s

There is also a large number of us would prefer the quartz movement watch. However, not many mechanical watch purists can get behind battery-powered movements, but like it or annoy it, quartz is a major part of watchmaking history and the Beta 21 is definitely worth discussing. Longtime readers might remember a little thing Jack and I put together called “Quartz Week,” a series of stories dedicated to all things quartz. Week was not exactly well-received, but it was absolutely educational. One story I wrote was a list of the most collectible Beta 21 watches, and one of those watches was the Rolex replica watch. I was lucky enough to see one in the metal recently at Christie’s, as they have a white gold version coming up for auction in Geneva on Monday. rolex rolex-078979_01
First things first – the Beta 21 movement is gorgeous. While it is kind of a pain to actually keep, it is a really historical part of watchmaking that’s also just flat out fun. In case you don’t know what the Beta 21 is (no judgement), here is a brief history. The main goal was for the caliber to be as accurate as possible, but alas, the results were not as wonderful as the CEH had hoped. The Beta 21 was implemented in a range of wristwatches from the fake Patek Philippe to the IWC Da Vinci to several strange Piaget models. But, for me, the Beta 21 is all about the Rolex.
This replica watch was first launched in 1970, and one year after the Beta 21 was completed. It’s unclear exactly how many examples were made between 1970 and 1972, when the model was discontinued. As with many things concerning vintage Rolex, it’s hard to know figures for certain since Rolex will neither confirm nor deny in most cases. 
The watches are separately numbered and there are pieces known to exist with numbers over 1,000, but there are several schools of thought as to how many total pieces exist and what the yellow gold/white gold split is like. One theory is that there were just over 700 examples made in yellow gold and just over 300 examples made in white gold. Another is that there are closer to 900 in yellow and 100 in white. In the end, some suggest that there are actually two batches of these fake watches, with 900 in yellow and 100 in which in each batch, with 2,000 existing in total.
The white gold model you see here is number 794 and is in new-old-stock condition. This is unusual for any watch, let alone a Beta 21 Rolex. It features a heavy white gold case with a fluted bezel and a tenacious bracelet with faceted links. Rolex always seems to make the best bracelets, and this unusual one is no exception. I chalk it up to the NOS condition, rarity, the fact that it is a historical piece, and that it is accompanied by a 1986 service invoice and green hang-tag.