The Ultimate 1970s Vintage Rolex Watch Buying Guide

The 1970s were a strange and tumultuous time for the watch industry as a whole, including Rolex. While the "crown" wasn't bought out or consolidated like many other traditional watchmaking brands, the quartz crisis still undeniably influenced Rolex's design choices and movements.

And of course, the 1970s were an iconic and influential time for fashion and style. So in this ultimate guide to vintage Rolex watches of the 1970s, we'll walk you through this remarkable and pivotal decade, explain what led to these changes, and highlight the interesting watches that emerged from it.

The Quartz Crisis was a period that began in the 1970s and extended into the early 1980s when the mechanical watch industry was replaced by inexpensive quartz watches that offered timekeeping performance not possible with traditional mechanical movements. For the first time in history, watches became less expensive to manufacture and less expensive for consumers to own. Quartz movements were cheaper, more accurate, and were produced on a far larger scale than the mechanical movements of the time. Brands from Japan such as Seiko, Citizen, and Casio fully embraced the technology and their new products flooded the American and European markets and captured a huge market share.

It was called a "crisis" because quartz timekeeping technology completely turned the entire traditional Swiss watchmaking industry upside down. At the time, quartz watches were seen as the most advanced technology, capable of providing previously unattainable levels of accuracy, attracting more people to start buying and wearing watches with quartz technology.

The Swiss watch industry was largely revitalized by Swatch, which we know today for its inexpensive quartz fashion watches. Despite Swatch's use of modern, non-traditional quartz technology, it took the industry in a new direction and brought attention back to Swiss manufacturing. Many other luxury Swiss replica rolex watch brands that survived the crisis have tried to make a splash on the quartz movement trend, producing luxury learning timepieces with quartz movements in an attempt to capture the trend and keep the attention of their customers.