A Crown For Innovation
Long-time fans of Rolex will know that over its 112-year history, the Geneva watchmaker has become of the most influential and important brands in shaping the aesthetics and functionality of modern wristwatches. This happened through a range of technical innovations developed by Rolex, some based on the work of others that the manufacture further refined, while others – which cover most of the recent improvements – are new-found advancements done in-house. Today we look at five innovations that offer practical, real-world functionality to the everyday Rolex wearer.
We shall work our way in from the outside of the watch, so let’s begin with a most useful feature for a metal bracelet: the Easylink quick adjustment. While Rolex offers a variety of bracelet and clasp styles, the Easylink extension system can be found on Oyster bracelets used for models like the Daytona, Datejust, Day-Date, Sky-Dweller, Air-King and GMT-Master II, while professional range watches like the Submariner and Deepsea will have the more complex Glidelock quick adjustment system.
In essence, the Easylink – as its name suggests – offers the wearer of the watch a quick and easy method to adjust the length of the bracelet by 5mm by releasing or latching a half-link inside the clasp. It requires no tools, taking just a few seconds to accomplish and improves comfort greatly as one’s wrist expands and contracts throughout the day.
Cerachrom refers to the Rolex-developed and patented ceramic bezel insert produced for specific professional models. Ceramic itself has been becoming more and more popular a material in luxury watches for its fantastic scratch-resistant and aesthetic properties. Rolex promises that the Cerachrom bezel will offer lasting beauty and functionality even after exposure to the most extreme conditions.
This ceramic material, used by Rolex for the bezels of the new Rolex Daytona in steel, all of its dive watches, as well as the GMT-Master II and Yachtmaster II, is virtually impervious to scratches and its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays of the Sun (which can cause the old style aluminium bezel inserts to fade). Mind you, this extreme resistant to scratches comes at a price: keep your ceramic watch parts safe from knocks and bangs as they are susceptible to cracking with very hard impacts.
Legibility is key on every Rolex watch and to improve ease of telling time in low-light, Rolex developed Chromalight, a luminescent material that they use to illuminate hands and hour markers. Chromalight glows a cold blue hue after it’s been charged by an external light source during the day. Unlike Super-Luminova, the standard luminescent material on watches, Chromalight is not only blue but a tiny bit less bright when fully charged and lasts a lot longer than alternative lume found on most other watches. Charge it at night and you shall still be able to appreciate the blue glow until the morning – in complete darkness.
Rolex has of course developed multiple advancements for the mechanical watch movement as well, with their Parachrom Blue hairspring being one of the greatest achievements any manufacture could wish for. Parachrom Blue debuted in 2005 as the crowning achievement of five years of research. Found in the majority of Rolex watches, it is crafted from a paramagnetic alloy that is unaffected by magnetic fields and up to ten times more resistant to shocks than regular hairsprings. This tiny spring is responsible for the timekeeping functionality of a mechanical watch and, hence, any and all advancements in its functionality and reliability greatly affect the everyday performance of your timepiece.
Last but not least, we must mention Rolex’s extended power reserve in select Rolex calibers. The latest and most important movement to boast such impressive performance is the 3255 movement, which thanks to a new barrel architecture and new escapement offers 50% improvement in autonomy, extending the movement’s power reserve to over 70 hours or three days. Equipped with a Parachrom hairspring, Chronergy escapement and mainspring barrel, the new Day-Date 40 collection that features the 3255 caliber can offer its owner the freedom of taking the watch off on a Friday night and picking it up on Monday morning without having to set the time.
And there you have it, five fascinating and highly useful Rolex innovations that are unique. The Rolex way of producing watches is not only a technical achievement, but also offers truly practical benefits that make Rolex watches that much more easy and comfortable to use.
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