How to get a sapphire caseback for your Rolex
Normally I like my Rolex watch to be 100% authentic. I don’t normally buy Rolex watches second hand either, since my concern is they could have been modified with non-Rolex parts. However, sometimes things don’t work out as we hope, and recently I found myself needing a caseback for my Rolex GMT Master 1675.
Very long story short, I made a Rolex GMT Master 1675. I have a whole blog article about this experience coming, but for now let’s just say I needed a caseback for this watch. I did some serious internet research to find that a genuine vintage 1675 case back, is about $1500-4000 depending on how perfect it is. I could not swallow that cost, so I looked for an alternative, and found Custom Watch Concepts.
Custom Watch Concepts is a company that specializes in sapphire casebacks for Rolex watch owners. First let’s just clarify: What is a sapphire caseback? A sapphire caseback, also known as a display caseback, is a watch caseback with a piece of transparent glass that allows the watch owner to look at the movement while not affecting the functionality of the watch itself. It is a common and perfected piece of watch case technology that is used by every watch brand from Patek Phillips to Seiko. However, Rolex does not offer any of its watches with a sapphire caseback. Some Rolex owners have seen this type of caseback on other watch models, from other companies and want it on their Rolex watches. Custom Watch Concepts seems to be the best in the industry for it related to what I was able to find for a Rolex owner.
I did a ton of research on Custom Watch Concepts, and found myself really impressed with the customers' experience with their products. It is a German company and their products are German made. Here is a section from their website about their casebacks:
Made in Germany
Engineering and Components
- Super Finish
- Mounted & Tested
For the Product only best Quality components are used
- Stainless Steel
- Sapphire Crystal
- Waterproof and acid resistant
- Compatible to Rolex Caseopener Tool.
The caseback was €199.00, but this included EU VAT. Once I selected the US as my delivery location it was dropped to €167.23 and there was a shipping charge of €16.90, for a grand total of €184.13. It took about a week to come to St. Louis, Missouri where I live. Frankly, I felt the pricing was fair (especially with the second hand market being out of control on casebacks), and the quality of the caseback was really impressive. Plus being German-made to me was a plus, and validated the cost even more. Overall, I was very happy.
The install was going to be very easy from my understanding. I had my watchmaker do the work, and he utilized a standard set of Rolex caseback openers to install it. If I had a caseback on the watch, he would have used the same tool to remove the old caseback. I did need to purchase a gasket for my 1675 Rolex GMT Master, which was about $5.00 on eBay. However, this basic gasket replacement is suggested whenever you open a Rolex case (or really any watch case). The watchmaker had it installed in about five minutes, which included the water pressure testing.
Overall, I am really happy with the experience and the product. Most Rolex enthusiasts online were either for or against this type of change to their watch. For me it was a necessity, but in the end I am really happy with it. Many purists (me included) were very against the idea of a non-Rolex part being installed on their watch case, but after experiencing it, my opinions have changed. We here at Everest know from a decade of making items for Rolex owners, that quality and attention to detail is how you keep a Rolex customer coming back for more of your ideas.
We see a few sellers on eBay and a few websites selling products that look similar to our straps, and they have come and gone over the past ten years. But consistently we always win reviewers' choice on our straps. We use only Swiss manufacturers and our name in the industry is golden. With this caseback, I feel the same way. There are sellers on Amazon and eBay of similar looking sapphire casebacks, but do not get sucked into their cheaper knock off of Custom Watch Concepts ideas. You will be disappointed. Remember, a Rolex watch is now worth 2X-10X what you paid for it. So, buying the aftermarket items to enjoy it even more, one should recognize that quality, location of production, and the seller’s reputation are very important factors. Going cheap isn’t you in the first place, do not start now with an asset that you plan on giving to the next generation. This is a product that I personally have on my watch and love it.
One final note - Custom Watch Concepts doesn't even know that I am writing this nor did I tell them that I was affiliated with Everest when I bought the caseback. This is just some honest feedback from one watch guy to the next in hopes that it might help you. However, if you found yourself wanting a strap for your Rolex 1675 GMT Master check out our leather ones here and if you want would love the best travel pouch in the world, check out this one here.
Leave a comment