I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a Rolex owner…yet. That is something that I will have to work up to… like eating caviar. While some people may think that makes me unqualified to review The Vintage Rolex Field Guide by Morning Tundra, I disagree. Obviously, this handy encyclopedic reference manual should be a great source of detailed information for seasoned Rolex collectors. Additionally, this well-written publication should also appeal to a wider audience. It speaks to beginners who might be new to the vintage Rolex game, but it will also inform advanced enthusiasts and Rolex experts with nuggets of deeper knowledge. Practically everyone who uses this field guide will walk away with a greater understanding when it comes to the nuances of buying vintage watches, and Rolexes in particular.
The author of this book is a talented writer so you should probably hear what he intended this book to be before I start blabbing. The excerpt below is taken from his website and it efficiently sums up what I am about to spend a whole blog article trying to say. This is likely all the info that you will need to know to decide whether this book is for you. It demonstrates his style of writing, which is honest, straight-forward and enjoyable to read.
Who wrote the Rolex Field Guide?
The Vintage Rolex Field Guide is the work of an individual Rolex collector who was on a mission to share his geeky knowledge with other Rolex fans. We’ll just call him by his pen name, Morning Tundra. This book is not officially authorized by Rolex, but many other books on this subject are not either. This publication is just what the title claims it to be. It is a field guide that was designed to give quick and accurate reference for a wide variety of Rolex watches. All of the major models are included from ancient Rolex pocket watches to the Datejust to the Submariner to the Daytona and many of the popular models in between.
Morning Tundra said that it took him seven months to write The Vintage Rolex Field Guide. However, it represents a lifetime of watch collecting knowledge, and a healthy dose of obsession for Rolex as a brand. I believe that this passion shows in the work and will be greatly appreciated by other collectors who will find this book useful. I’m sure that much of this information might be dispersed on Rolex collector forums, books, articles, videos and in old collectors’ noggins, but I would highly doubt that it would be easy to find it all in one place. That is the beauty of a field guide that combines lots of information into one convenient source. I was frankly astonished by the level of detail in the book and I think it represents the author’s many years of deep knowledge about Rolex watches. I believe that only an expert could have written such a guide.
This book should be considered a triumph for the do-it-yourself author. Morning Tundra not only wrote it, but illustrated, designed and produced it himself. As a professional graphic designer, I know quality when I see it. I was impressed. I would have guessed that this publication was produced by a team of veteran designers. The author’s commitment to produce this book himself shows the level of passion and persistence required to create The Vintage Rolex Field Guide. Many people would not have attempted this or completed it. There are 246 pages full of well-written text, charts, detailed watch photos, product timelines, vintage advertisements, wonderful line-art illustrations, and all the juicy details that watch collectors cherish. Stylistically, this book is a pleasure to use. It was designed for people with “real” eyes, and not just for those with perfect eyesight. The content is not crowded, and you will not need a magnifying glass to use the book. Thank goodness!
What is in The Vintage Rolex Field Guide?
The Vintage Rolex Field Guide is not a giant photo book that only showcases the rarest, most unobtainable Rolexes using studio photography. Those types of glossy books can cost hundreds of dollars when released, and can explode in value when the book goes out of print. Luckily, The Vintage Rolex Field Guide is extremely affordable. More on that later.
The Vintage Rolex Field Guide is my style of book. It is well-written and easy to follow. Having a ton of data means nothing if you cannot locate it in a book. While the guide does not have an index in the back, it does have a detailed Table of Contents. This makes it easy to find a particular Rolex model. Or you can jump directly to several other helpful subjects from case reference numbers to what to look for when acquiring a Rolex. Field guides need to be easy to use, and this one passes the test. Everything about the layout and information hierarchy of this publication alludes to Morning Tundra’s highly organized mind. I tip my hat to him because so much information could have been confusing in lesser hands.
Several chapters give emphasis to judging the authenticity or version of vintage Rolex watches. Knowing how to evaluate a watch is a skill that most collectors would like to master, but that takes aeons of time, experience and access to various Rolex watches. The Vintage Rolex Field Guide jump-starts the research process for a collector. The book also takes deeper dives into specific parts of the watch. The value of a Rolex is often found in subtle details so having a visual guide to illustrate the nuances can help determine whether to buy a watch or not. From bezels, to hands, to cases to crystals and dials…. these, and more are referenced in the guide.
Everyone knows that modern Rolex watches are blatantly counterfeited by unscrupulous con-artists. Perhaps a lesser known fact is that collectors have similar concerns when buying vintage Rolexes. It is a daunting problem to determine whether a vintage Rolex is original, correct or authentic. These factors affect the value of a watch, and it can be difficult to grade a vintage piece. It can have an interesting life as it moves from one person to the next including previous owners, service centers or independent watch makers. It can be important to the value of a watch to know if the parts look correct for the age and type of watch. The Vintage Rolex Field Guide can help with that, along with your local Rolex certified watch maker. This field guide is a good place strengthen your knowledge, and it is a sharp tool in your watch buying arsenal.
Where to Buy The Vintage Rolex Field Guide
The only task that remains is to tell you where to buy your copy of The Vintage Rolex Field Guide. You can find this book on Amazon.com and also Barnes & Noble. You can also buy the book directly from Morning Tundra on his website at www.vrfg.io. On his site you can choose from the excellent print version or the digital ePub version if you think paper books are too old school. He is offering readers of the Watch Hunter Blog a significant discount on the printed book by using the coupon code: WHB20%OFF. This offer is good until the end of November so start thinking about those stocking stuffers early. The print version is only $45 plus $5 shipping before you apply the 20% OFF coupon.
The e-pub document that can be read on computers, phones and iPads is easily affordable at only $10. You might have that much in loose change in your couch cushions. You can keep the e-pub field guide in your pocket and access it almost anywhere, so maybe you will want both. This is incredibly cheap for the vast amount of information that is packed into The Vintage Rolex Field Guide. I suspect that the book is a labor of love, and not a get-rich-quick-scheme. I feel that Morning Tundra’s intentions are pure, and he wants to share his passion and knowledge with the rest of the Rolex watch family. A small investment in this field guide might prevent you from making an expensive mistake later.
I think that The Vintage Rolex Field Guide would make an excellent holiday or birthday present for the avid Rolex watch fan. Or, beat your relatives to he punch and just order one yourself. Knowledge is power… and this book has serious voltage!
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