If you are an antique lover, you might have come across souvenir spoons on e-Bay or other online stores. Usually, such spoons date back to the 19th century, when they would be given to the parents of babies during their christening. This tradition led to the coining of “born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth” to signify that the person was born into wealth. While some souvenirs have a religious significance, the Rolex spoon does not. The fact that it has the name “Rolex,’ implies that it is a marketing tool, and you can learn all about it from the details below.
What is a Rolex Spoon?
On the Rolex Forum fourteen years ago, there was a discussion regarding Rolex spoons. People wondered if the spoons were fake and different responses were given depending on each person’s knowledge. Well, the truth is such spoons are not fake. You might come across a silver spoon with a Rolex crown at the top and the brand name “Rolex” beneath the crown.
Also, “Rolex” is written on the handle, but at the back, you find “Bucherer Switzerland.” These items were given to Bucherer customers after they bought a Rolex watch and were never sold separately. For this reason, you will notice that the spoons are not expensive. Since thousands of Rolex spoons were handed out to customers for free, the antique stores usually sell them for around $15.
The highest price you can get them for is between $25 and $35, the price being determined by how old or rare they are. According to Antiques Q&A, Rolex spoons feature the names of different cities where Bucherer has stores in such as Lucerne, Zurich, Geneva, Lugano, Basel, among many more. While the Lucerne spoon is the most common, the New York one with a Statue of Liberty motif is the rarest because Bucherer shut down the store. It is important to note that Bucherer has since opened a flagship boutique in New York City at 12 East 57th Street.
At the back of the spoons were markings that indicated the silver content. For instance, B100 12 meant that 100 grams of silver plated 12 normal-size spoons; this translates to about 8.33 grams per spoon. If the marking indicates CB69, then that means 6.9 grams of silver for a full-sized spoon. If it is simply “CB,” then the spoon is made from stainless steel.
Evolution of Rolex Spoons
However, the Rolex spoons underwent a transformation through the years. At first, there was no mention of Rolex on the spoon. The spoons read Bucherer Watches Lucerne and had a lion in the bowl of the spoon. Then they changed to having Rolex-marked spoons for Rolex customers. These spoons had “Rolex” engraved at the top of the spoon, but the lion in the bowl of the spoon remained as a trademark of Bucherer Lucerne.
The patterns changed, and the most current design was the ninth one. It had “Rolex” at the top and the crown too. Beneath the Rolex brand name was a Swiss cross, and under it was “Bucherer.” The name of the city was on the handle and in the spoon's bowl was a decoration. While the first silver-plated or Sterling silver spoons were religious souvenirs, the Rolex spoon was used as an advertising stool and status symbol.
Besides attracting more people to buy Rolex watches, customers would expose the Rolex spoons as a status symbol. After all, having the spoon meant they owned a Rolex watch. Considering the reputation that the reputable watchmaker has, ownership of the timepiece carries a lot of pride.
The History of the Partnership between Rolex and Bucherer
The Rolex spoons would not exist today were it not for visionary Carl Friedrich Bucherer, and his wife Luise, who opened a watch and jewelry boutique in1888. As per the article, the business was destined for success because the 19th century gave rise to architectural developments.
Those in Lucerne loved life and the finer things it offered; hence, the luxurious services and products were in demand. Bucherer saw there was potential in the wristwatches market. Thus, he focused on retailing the best Swiss watches he could find. He opened various stores in Switzerland, and after his sons, Carl and Ernst, got involved in the family business, Bucherer went abroad to Germany, where he opened a store in Berlin in 1915.
His stores became the destination for those looking for original watches and jewelry. It is, therefore, no wonder that even when, in 1918, they had to shut down their berlin store due to the revolution, German customers did not mind traveling to Lucerne. In 1919, Carl and Ernst, a goldsmith and a watchmaker respectively, made their first wristwatch.
They exported six million watches in the 1920s. According to Bucherer, Hans Wilsdorf, Rolex's founder, and Ernst had struck a friendship at the turn of the 20th century. The friends soon became business partners since Ernst secured an agreement with Wilsdorf to make Bucherer Group Rolex’s major retail partner. Rolex was added to Bucherer’s brand range.
Rolex Spoon Began Being issued in 1950
Rolex and Bucherer Group enjoyed a prosperous relationship; thus, Bucherer began issuing Rolex spoons as keepsakes. Since Rolex had already started using the slogan, “A Crown for Every Achievement,” it made sense that even the spoons had a crown at the top. Luckily, Rolex had trademarked its logo and the company slogan in 1925; Wilsdorf had registered the company name in 1908. Rolex marketed its watches to watch retailers and jewelry stores. Hence, the partnership between Bucherer and Rolex made sense. Besides, seeing that the two had already made a name for themselves with excellent quality products, the business relationship was a match made in heaven; no wonder it has persisted for almost 100 years.
You can also read:
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith