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The Rolex Oyster Case: The whole lot You Must Know | WatchTime

Pegged as one of the crucial revolutionary 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 WatchTime India, we take you thru the totally different components of this piece of horological historical past and assist you perceive it higher.

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller - side

In relation to understanding why Rolex calls for the type of respect it does, one has to remember the historical past and professional craftsmanship it has showcased throughout its a few years of existence. From the various profitable improvements and creations it has supplied to the watch business, probably 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 function of the Rolex Oyster case has stood the check 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
Rolex Oyster, Ref. 679, 1926

A significant milestone not only for the model but in addition watchmaking as a complete, the Rolex Oyster combines a hermetically sealed case, winding crown, cyclops lens, mounted or rotatable fluted bezel, a helium-escape valve for the Sea-Dweller and Rolex Deepsea timepieces, and at last the Chromalight show. Taking you thru the various components of the Rolex Oyster case will assist you higher perceive why it is without doubt one of the most necessary innovations of the watchmaking world.

Oyster Case:
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 incorporates 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 provides a safe match for the general case construction. A function discovered totally on the Skilled fashions is the crown guard that’s set on the aspect of the center block and kinds 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 will see the screwed down caseback with Rolex fluting that’s fitted with a particular instrument. That is carried out to permit entry solely to Rolex watchmakers, which additional ensures the protection 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 function 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 fame as having among the many most effective waterproof case constructions thus far.

Rolex Triplock crown

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 an extra 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 elements 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.

Cylops Lens:
One of many standout function 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 major operate 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. Attributable to 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 function. “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 is not going to hesitate to instigate authorized proceedings towards any counterfeiting,” acknowledged a discover revealed within the press on the time.

All through the years, the Cyclops lens has grow to be a salient aesthetic function 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.

Chromalight show:
Construct for utmost waterproofness and dust-resistance, the Oyster case was mounted to fashions that have been primarily dive watches. Therefore it was crucial to additionally provide Rolex prospects a function that allowed them to make use of the watch in darkish circumstances, comparable to underwater. To cater to this demand, Rolex started utilizing an revolutionary luminescent materials referred to as Chromalight. This materials, which emits a blue glow, provides higher visibility and in addition prolonged time of visibility in darkish circumstances. Utilized to the arms, hour markers and different show components 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 sort of double that of an ordinary luminescent materials and may prolong past eight hours.

Rolex Yacht-Master - RG - lume
The Yacht-Grasp’s dial is straightforward to learn day and evening because of a powerful black-and-white distinction and blue Chromalight luminescence.

Helium Escape Valve:
Largely 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 carried out in a hyperbaric chamber with out compromising the waterproofness of the watch. This revolutionary function was developed and patented by Rolex again in 1967 and it shortly performed a key position on this 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 function that launched helium absorbed by the watch.

Rolex helium valve
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 mechanically 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 also be one of the crucial seen components of the watch that’s susceptible to exterior corrosion. Because of this, 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 created from arduous, corrosion-resistant ceramic that’s nearly proof against scratches. It additionally provides 100% shade retention and glorious polishability that ensures the bezel retains its luster for a very long time.

Rolex Evergreen - Ceramic Bezel

Rolex has expanded the applying 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 on the market at the moment in chestnut brown or black ceramic. Since then, Rolex has been experimenting with new colours for the ceramic bezel insert; these embody 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-Master II "Batman" & "Pepsi" bezels
Rolex GMT-Grasp II “Batman” & “Pepsi” bezels

A model of this text initially appeared on our sister web site, WatchTime India.

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