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When precision meets art

Articles / May 2019

This amazing engraving was commissioned by an overseas client who is a professional deep-sea diver and this was his retirement present to himself – a Rolex Oyster Sea-Dweller Deepsea Rolex with a bespoke nautical theme.

The engraving was by Ray Hood FIPG a renowned Master Engraver. Originally from London, Ray and his wife emigrated to Adelaide, Australia in 2012 and established their business London Engraver in 2013. Ray is the only hand engraver in Australia to have completed an intense 6-year apprenticeship at Garrard & Co, the former Queen’s Crown Jewellers in London.

He is a member of the venerated Goldsmith’s of London and was made a Freeman of the City of London for his services to the trade. Ray is also Australia’s first Fellow of The Institute of Professional Goldsmiths (IPG). For more about Ray’s amazing story and information about his services, visit the London Engraver website.



This engraving, which some may call art, took 6 hours of design time and a staggering 214 man-hours to complete using only an eyeglass for magnification. The Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller was engraved on the bracelet, case edges, lugs, clasp, extensions and case back. The challenge is that the case back is grade 5 titanium and the rest of the watch is 904L steel.

Ray usually identifies his work by signing ‘London Engraver’ and often includes the IPG hallmark on high-end commissions. This Rolex does not have the IPG hallmark as Ray was not willing to risk buckling it with pressure.



The Rolex was fully dismantled by Birkett Watches Australia so Ray could engrave it, then reassembled and pressure tested to ensure water resistance once all engraving was completed.

This watch currently retails for $15300 (at the time of writing) from Rolex or its stockists and the charge to engrave, dismantle and reassemble was $23000.

The Value?

In this instance, the owner has every intention of insuring the watch for retail replacement. This seems easy and it is in this instance, with all the provenance available.  Just as an aside, it may be worth noting that Rolex will no longer service the watch due to the modifications.

In the past, modification to high end watches often tended to devalue the watch. Today this is not always the case, and it very much depends on what has been done and the quality of the changes.


Kym Hughes FGA FGAA Dip DT Dip Val IMJVA Registered Valuer Q0151

Symmetry Jewellery Valuation Specialists

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