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The Story Behind the Rolex Pateted Bracelet

Paul Altieri

What is the Rolex Pateted bracelet?  Aside from a few forum discussions, there isn’t very much information available on the web about the famous typo.  Still, it’s a rather well-known secret in the watch-collecting community.  If you aren’t already familiar, we’re here to shed some light on this hidden gem.  Read on to learn more because if your pre-owned Rolex watch has this tiny misprint, it could mean that it’s more valuable than you thought.

Rolex Pateted vs. Patented

It’s rather exciting to collect vintage Rolex watches.  Many of them have interesting variations, such as changes in the font and placement of the text on the dial, the size and shape of the hands, and the movement used, just to name a few.  That also doesn’t include wear incurred during its lifetime.  The way that the lume patinas or the fading on the dial can be quite valuable to many collectors.  Such tiny details can add immense value to a watch if it’s rare, so it’s worth it to pay close attention to even the smallest details of any vintage timepiece.

If you’re lucky, you might even come across a rare hidden quirk on your watch.  That brings us to the topic of our article, the “pateted” typo.  For a short time in the 1970s, some 9315 bracelets with either 380 or 280 end links were fitted with extension clasps reading “pateted” instead of “patented.”  Although they are primarily found on Submariner watches, the Explorer also offered the extension clasp during this time and can be found with the misprint.

It’s hard to say how long this typo remained in production, but from what we have gathered from other collectors, it appears that it can be found on watches made from 1971 until around 1973.  Another interesting fact about these watches is that the clasps do not appear to be stamped with the production year.  If you have a Pateted Rolex, let us know in the comment section below if yours is stamped with the date and what year it was produced.

A Happy Mistake

How could Rolex miss this typo?  Well, for starters, it’s hidden under the clasp and would be easy to miss during production if the watchmaker weren’t already looking for mistakes.  It’s also important to remember that consistency wasn’t as important back then as it is now, so a small typo such as “pateted” wouldn’t be entirely impossible.

Of course, Rolex eventually fixed the mistake.  However, the company had already made several clasp extensions with the typo by that time and continued to use them rather than discard them.  Bracelet extensions were a new feature in the 1970s that were produced separately from the clasp and then added on later.  During assembly, watchmakers grabbed compatible extensions at random from a bin.  We can only assume that misprinted extensions were added to the same bin as those without the typo.  That means it’s also entirely possible to find 9315 bracelets with either the “pateted” or “patented” stamp produced during the early 1970s.

Could you imagine if they made such a mistake today?  Not only are modern collectors much more inclined to care about the minutiae of their Rolexes, but the internet would also make quick work of spreading the news.  It would be a bigger deal today, whereas, in the 1970s, many customers probably wouldn’t even notice it at all.  As it goes with vintage luxury watches, tiny details such as the pateted typo only add to the value and charm of the watch.  Bracelets with misprint clasps are considered quite rare and command a higher premium on the market than those without.  If you’ve come into possession of a Rolex with this clasp, consider yourself lucky.

Beware of Counterfeiters

Counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated.  So much so that it can be difficult for even the most experienced watchmakers to spot them if they’re particularly well-made.  We must warn you that counterfeiters are aware that pateted clasps not only exist but that they are also quite rare and add significant value.  In fact, they have already been found on the secondary market.  It’s more important than ever to shop with a reseller you trust and who has a stellar reputation among buyers.  If you’re unsure about the authenticity of your Rolex, contact us https://www.bobswatches.com/sell-rolex-watch at Bob’s Watches.  We are happy to examine it and offer you a quote should you choose to sell it.

How Much is the Rolex Pateted?

As we already mentioned above, a handful of Rolex watches featured the pateted extension bracelet, including the several Submariner and Explorer references.  The Rolex pateted price varies depending on the actual reference number and the condition of the watch. Still, you can expect them to be pricier than references that don’t have the typo.  Now that you have the knowledge of this rare and valuable feature in your back pocket, you can make an informed decision when purchasing any Rolex produced during this time with the extension clasp. Happy hunting!

Paul Altieri