Pegged as some of the progressive and historic updates to the wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster case has loved its day within the solar and for good cause. On this in-depth article courtesy of our colleagues at Options India, we take you thru the totally different elements of this piece of horological historical past and allow you to perceive it higher.
On the subject of understanding why Rolex calls for the form of respect it does, one has to bear in mind the historical past and knowledgeable craftsmanship it has showcased throughout its a few years of existence. From the numerous profitable improvements and creations it has supplied to the watch business, essentially the most noteworthy of all of them is the Rolex Oyster case.
Developed in 1926, the Rolex Oyster (because it was named by the model then), was the world’s first workable waterproof and dust-proof watch case that revolutionized the watch business in additional methods than one. It not solely secured the transformation of the wristwatch from a fragile feminine watch to a sturdy males’s accent but in addition successfully turned a logo of robustness and waterproofness. This characteristic of the Rolex Oyster case has stood the take a look at of time, a lot in order that a lot of the watches that come out of the Rolex manufacture have “Oyster” written on the dial.
Rolex Oyster, Ref. 679, 1926
A serious milestone not only for the model but in addition watchmaking as an entire, the Rolex Oyster combines a hermetically sealed case, winding crown, cyclops lens, fastened or rotatable fluted bezel, a helium-escape valve for the Sea-Dweller and Rolex Deepsea timepieces, and eventually the Chromalight show. Taking you thru the numerous elements of the Rolex Oyster case will allow you to higher perceive why it is among the most essential innovations of the watchmaking world.
Ranging from the highest, the Rolex Oyster case is hermetically constructed to ensure a water resistance of 100 meters (330 ft) to 300 meters (1,000 ft) for the Submariner and Submariner Date timepieces, 1,220 meters (400 ft) for the Sea-Dweller and three,900 meters (12,800 ft) for the Deepsea assortment. It additionally encompasses a strong center case that’s stamped and machined out of a strong block of Oystersteel, 18k gold or 950 platinum. Forming the spine of the case itself, the central part is extraordinarily strong and presents a safe match for the general case construction. A characteristic discovered totally on the Skilled fashions is the crown guard that’s set on the aspect of the center block and types an integral a part of the case construction. The sapphire crystal is mounted on a gasket that matches completely towards the flange of the case, including to the waterproof and dustproof options of the Oyster case. On the again we are able to see the screwed down caseback with Rolex fluting that’s fitted with a particular software. That is accomplished to permit entry solely to Rolex watchmakers, which additional ensures the security of the motion from exterior tampering.
Twinlock and triplock Winding Crown
Launched in 1953 and 1970, respectively, the Twinlock and Triplock winding crown is a patented characteristic of the Oyster case that was developed to make sure its excessive water-resistance. It was this a part of the event of the Rolex Oyster case that gave Rolex watches their repute as having among the many best waterproof case constructions to this point.
Whereas the previous includes a double system of seals (one contained in the tube, the opposite contained in the crown), the latter was developed with a further sealed zone (two contained in the tube and one contained in the crown). These are recognized by one dot, two dots or a line for the Twinlock, and three dots (which may very well be of various sizes) beneath the Rolex emblem for the Triplock system. Available for the Submariner, Submariner Date, Sea-Dweller and Deepsea divers’ watches, the 2 winding crowns are made up of round 10 parts that supply most watertight safety akin to a airtight seal of a submarine’s hatch. The Twinlock and Triplock Winding Crowns can be found in three supplies; Oystersteel, 18k gold and 950 platinum.
One of many standout characteristic of the Oyster case is the “Cylops” lens that’s current on the sapphire crystal. Its title impressed by the one-eyed giants of Greek mythology, the Cyclops lens was created through the early Fifties. Its primary perform is to permit the magnification of dates on many Oyster fashions. This unique addition to the crystal permits the wearer to learn the date with a lot ease. Because of its exclusivity, and to the success the innovation garnered, Rolex was fast to place out a warning to all manufacturers that deliberate to undertake the identical characteristic. “To all watchmakers: we draw your consideration to the truth that the watch crystal with the specifically formed magnifying lens is a Rolex exclusivity protected in Switzerland and overseas. We won’t hesitate to instigate authorized proceedings towards any counterfeiting,” said a discover printed within the press on the time.
All through the years, the Cyclops lens has turn out to be a salient aesthetic characteristic of many Rolex fashions. It has additionally modified, from being constructed in a single piece (lens and crystal) of Plexiglas, to now utilizing sapphire with double anti-reflective coating.
Construct for utmost waterproofness and dust-resistance, the Oyster case was fastened to fashions that have been primarily dive watches. Therefore it was crucial to additionally supply Rolex prospects a characteristic that allowed them to make use of the watch in darkish circumstances, corresponding to underwater. To cater to this demand, Rolex started utilizing an progressive luminescent materials known as Chromalight. This materials, which emits a blue glow, presents higher visibility and likewise prolonged time of visibility in darkish circumstances. Utilized to the fingers, hour markers and different show parts in most watches within the Oyster collections, the high-performance luminescence enabled the wearer to inform time simply in darkish environments. The luminosity period of the Chromalight show is nearly double that of a normal luminescent materials and might prolong past eight hours.
The Yacht-Grasp’s dial is simple to learn day and evening because of a robust black-and-white distinction and blue Chromalight luminescence.
Helium Escape Valve:
Principally current within the Sea-Dweller and the Rolex Deepsea, the helium escape valve permits extra stress that’s constructed up within the watch case to be launched throughout a diver’s decompression part. That is accomplished in a hyperbaric chamber with out compromising the waterproofness of the watch. This progressive characteristic was developed and patented by Rolex again in 1967 and it shortly performed a key function on the planet of deep diving. The presence of a helium escape valve allowed divers to make deeper dives and spend extra time underwater. Like saturation diving, the watches accompanying the diver housed a characteristic that launched helium absorbed by the watch.
A helium valve prevents the watch crystal from popping off when the diver is in a decompression chamber.
How does it work? Set on the aspect of the case, the helium escape valve is made up of a airtight cylinder that homes a piston surrounded by a spring. Whereas the distinction between the watch’s inside and exterior stress is much less the two.5 bar, the piston stays closed. As soon as this limitation is crossed, the piston slides robotically outwards, releasing the surplus inside stress.
Cerachrom Bezel Insert and Cerachrom Bezel
When Rolex was within the course of of making the Oyster case, it understood that aside from the robustness of the case, the bezel can be some of the seen elements of the watch that’s vulnerable to exterior corrosion. For that reason, Rolex developed and patented the Cerachrom bezel insert and the Cerachrom bezel in 2005 for particular Skilled fashions within the Oyster assortment. The Cerachrom bezel and insert is produced from laborious, corrosion-resistant ceramic that’s nearly proof against scratches. It additionally presents 100% coloration retention and glorious polishability that ensures the bezel retains its luster for a very long time.
Rolex has expanded the appliance of the Cerachrom bezel and designed a monobloc ceramic bezel that was first launched on the Cosmograph Daytona in 2013. Just like the Cerachrom bezel and bezel insert, the monobloc ceramic bezel is extraordinarily resistant and is accessible at this time in chestnut brown or black ceramic. Since then, Rolex has been experimenting with new colours for the ceramic bezel insert; these embrace the primary two-color, single-piece ceramic insert in blue-and-black, launched in 2013, the red-and-blue one in 18k gold, in 2014; and the 2018 launch of two-color inserts in brown-and-black for 2 GMT-Grasp II fashions — one in 18k Everose gold, the opposite in Everose Rolesor (metal and gold).
All Rolex Oyster instances bear stringent waterproofness testing. Every case is immersed in water and subjected to pressures 10 % higher than that exerted on the depth to which it’s assured — 35 % higher for divers’ watches.
Rolex GMT-Grasp II “Batman” & “Pepsi” bezels
A model of this text initially appeared on our sister web site, Options India.