The early self-winding watches are some of the lesser-discussed vintage replica watches from Rolex’s long and illustrious history, affectionately nicknamed “Bubble Backs” by members of the collecting world. Even though they were not specifically designed for some demanding sport or an inhospitable environment, the fake Rolex Bubble Back stands for the basic, self-winding template that all modern Rolex watches would come to follow.
Rolex’s Bubble Back replica watches get their nickname from their extremely rounded, protruding case-backs. Although highly interesting from a design standpoint, the Bubble Back design was actually born out of necessity as an efficient means to house Rolex’s thicker, self-winding movements.
It was during the 1930s that Rolex first got down to fitting their watches with automatic movements, rather than the manually wound calibers that had been used in their watches. The addition of the oscillation weight meaningfully increased the overall thickness of the movement, and required additional clearance for the rotor to move freely inside the case. Instead of making the entire case of the fake watch larger, Rolex made up its mind to allow the case-back to protrude in a curved, bubble-shaped fashion.
The replica Rolex Bubble Back watches are rather antiquated in design according to the standard nowadays. Case diameters are relatively small and typically hover around 30 mm to 32 mm for the classic men’s models. Besides, owing to their domed acrylic crystals and convex, protruding case-backs, Bubble Back watches are disproportionally thick in an almost egg-like fashion.
Now it seems that all Rolex watches are equipped with automatic-winding calibers. Although later refinements to case and movement designs eliminated the need for a curved, protruding case-back, Bubble Back watches are emblematic of a time when nearly all watches required manual winding, and automatic movements were first beginning to emerge from the different timepiece manufacturers.
While the Bubble Back may not receive nearly as much attention or acclaim as other vintage Rolex watches, these early self-winding timepieces hold arguably more importance to the overall evolution and success of the Rolex brand than any other wristwatch that the company has ever put forward. Almost every replica watches rolex now manufactures has the word “Perpetual” printed on the surface of its dial, and it was these early Bubble Back watches that were the first to receive Rolex’s inaugural, self-winding movements.