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When you think of a watch with an integrated bracelet and an unusual case shape, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Audemars Piguet came up with that conceit in the 1970s. After all, the Royal Oak—with its distinctive silhouette—more or less single-handedly created the notion of a luxury sports watch. Its success prompted brands as far-ranging as Vacheron Constantin and Girard-Perregaux to roll out similar-looking watches, all crafted on the ideal of a rugged versatility.
However, Rolex had experimented with integrated bracelets as well—as early as the mid-1950s, two decades before Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak, and on dress watches.
Yes, you read that correctly: dress watches.
In the 1950s—1956 to be exact—Rolex released a watch that would be a spiritual precursor to the Royal Oak.
That watch, the Reference 9083, is the one that we offer here.
The Reference 9083 is part of the Oyster Precision line, a wide-ranging and long-lived collection that encompassed a variety of case styles and designs. Their appearances range from the refined to the rugged. But none of these is perhaps as unique and unusual as the Reference 9083.
In fact, its distinctive case shape—which looks like a flying saucer straight out of The Day the Earth Stood Still—gave rise to the nickname “UFO.”
Klaatu barada nikto, indeed.
What makes the UFO so unique—notwithstanding the shape of the case—is the integrated bracelet. Until that point, Rolex had only offered some examples of the Cellini line on a bracelet, and those in gold. The fact that Rolex offered the Reference 9083 on a bracelet—and an integrated one at that—was a bold and a forward-thinking move.
Released only in Great Britain, the UFO only ran for a short period of time before being discontinued. Though Rolex continued to offer integrated bracelets on the Cellini throughout the 1960s, it wouldn’t be seen again on a steel watch until the introduction of the Oysterquartz in the 1970s.
With a delicious honeycomb dial, the watch is a classic mid-century design that still resonates with the tastes of today.
Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Rolex Oyster Precision Reference 9083. Rolex Calibre 1210 Self-Winding Movement. Circa mid-1950s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with minor signs of use and wear. White honeycomb dial is in very good condition with minor signs of age. Dial is most likely an "Oyster" service replacement. Rolex crown. Rolex case back is in very good condition with some signs of use and wear.
Includes one 20mm stainless steel integrated rivet bracelet.