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Rolex Oyster


Lifestyle | Gear


The First Waterproof Watch And Dustproof Watch Ever | Rolex Oyster




ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL - THE FIRST WRISTWATCH DESIGNED TO STAND THE WRATHS OF WATER AND DUST


The term Oyster came to be coined in 1926 in the history of Rolex watches when the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch was created. It was named Oyster because of its oyster case. The watch featured a hermetically sealed case which provided optimal protection for the movement. Thereafter, all the models that eventually came to use this case had a depth of at least 100 meters.


WHAT’S IN A NAME


What is iconic about the Oyster case is that it operates Rolex’s patent in-house system of screwing the bezel, case back and winding crown into the middle case. However, the Oyster watch these days are on the contrary, made of a middle case sculpted out of a concrete block of metal which is either 904L steel or 18 karat gold or platinum. They have a screw-down fluted case back and a friction fitted crystal and bezel.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Horology House
Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Horology House

The Oyster was tailed with the term Perpetual owing to its perpetual rotor of the movement inside the Oyster case. The perpetual rotor was brought into existence in 1931, five years after the Rolex Oyster case was invented. It is a self-winding movement that has the capacity to rotate 360 degrees adjusting to the natural movement of the wearer’s wrist. This was done to enhance the generation of power. Further up the style department, implementing a true rendition of art by Rolex, it is supported by a half-moon shaped oscillating weight. This movement is the basics of every modern automatic watch today.


Typically, Rolex is known for its high quality assurance. To ensure water tight security, the watches are installed with a Twinlock or a Triplock winding crown which is screwed into the case. Then, all the cases are made to undergo testing under numerous extreme conditions like underwater testing, mountaineering, extremities of daily wear, travelling through different time zones, aviation, motor racing and more. And yet, the Oyster sustained all and proved to be a necessity for Submariner, Explorer, GMT Master, Yatch Master, etc.


STORY OF THE FIRST WATERPROOF WATCH


The founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf was an extraordinary genius who had envisioned the practicality of an invention that changed the extents of timepieces. With this innovation in mind, all he needed was a medium to deliver it to the world. This dream found its way through Mercedes Gleitz.


The publicity of the watch is strangely embedded in a controversy where Mercedes and her trainer claimed that she had swum across the English Channel in a span of 15 hours and 15 minutes. But four years later when Dr. Dorothy Cochran Logan a.k.a. Miss Mona McLennan claimed of falsely crossing the English Channel in 13 hours and 10 minutes, everybody believed that Mercedes’ news too was only a false report.


Aggravated by this news, Mercedes was determined to let another swimming spree prove the allegations wrong. This time, Hands Wildorf convinced Mercedes to carry the Oyster watch with her for her ultimate ‘vindication’ swim. Though she did not wear the watch on her wrist, he wore it around her neck on a band. Under the atrocities of the cold weather that day, Mercedes was unable to complete the swim, but her ability to withstand the extremities of the cold weather for almost 10 hours proved to the world that the original record should stand out.


Grasping this victory at hand, as a mark of celebration, Rolex went on to publish a full-page advertisement on the very front page of the Daily Mail claiming the success of both Mercedes and their waterproof watch which was the first watch devised on the concept of withstanding water and dust. The Rolex Oyster watch and Mercedes became stars overnight.


The Rolex Oyster and Mercedes Gleitz ad in Dail Mail, Jean-Daniel Meyer
The Rolex Oyster and Mercedes Gleitz ad in Dail Mail, Jean-Daniel Meyer

In the 1930s Rolex once again found a way to collaborate with one of the fastest drivers in the world, Sir Malcolm Campbell. The two icons came together in their unanimous quest for speed. On 4th September 1935, Sir Malcolm had the Rolex on his wrist when he rode the bluebird and set a land speed record of 300 miles per hour at Bonneville Salt flats in Utah.


Sir Malcolm Campbell setting a record with the Oyster
Sir Malcolm Campbell setting a record with the Oyster

THE OYSTER PERPETUAL


The Oyster Perpetual can be seen as the best embodiment of the Oyster concept which provides with a clear and accurate time display. This watch is a descent of the original Oyster produced in 1926. While it bears the simplicity of the original, it is mixed with the pioneering complexity of Rolex engineering. The dial is the most vibrant element of the watch with elegant and sporty colours.


The Oyster Perpetual comes in all sizes and impressive dial colours. The red grape colour comes in all sizes embedded in solidity and simplicity.


The Oyster Perpetual Red Grape Colour Dial, Bobswatches.com
The Oyster Perpetual Red Grape Colour Dial, Bobswatches.com

A unique element in the Rolex watches is the fact that they use Oyster Steel for the steel watch cases. Oyster Steel, a 904L steel is developed by the brand, is a type of super steel usually found in use of high-technology like aerospace and chemical industries where the idea of resistance against corrosion becomes a necessity. Once polished, Oystersteel offers a catchy finish and has the ability to uphold its beauty in the most severe environments.


Rolex Oystersteel 16610 Submariner, Bobswatches.com
Rolex Oystersteel 16610 Submariner, Bobswatches.com

In 1931 Rolex patented the idea of a Perpetual Rotor: a self-winding mechanism and free rotor. This mechanism is made with a half-moon shaped oscillating weight, pivoting freely on the central axle in one direction. The other goes with the natural movement of the wrist. Over time, it became a principle that the entire watchmaking industry adopted.


SPECIFICITIES OF THE OYSTER PERPETUAL 39


THE OYSTER PERPETUAL CASE


The Oyster Case revolutionised the history of contemporary watchmaking. Reputed as the first ever waterproof case, it owes much to the patented idea of screwing down the three vital elements of the case: the bezel, the case back and winding crown on the middle case. Carved in Oyster Steel, 18 ct gold or 950 platinum, the case is emblematic of the entitlement of waterproofness that is this watch.


With an inventive airtight technique applied on the case of the watch, all Oyster watches are guaranteed against waterproofness up to a depth of 100 metres and 3,900 metres for the Rolex Deepsea, which is an extreme diver’s watch.


The middle case of the Oyster watches is the basic backbone to all the other parts that are fitted securely onto it. It is stamped and is a chiselled block of Oyster Steel, either in 18 ct gold or platinum. There are certain Professional models too which exhibit a crown guard on the side.


Rolex has patented a technique where they hermetically screw down the case against the middle case. The signature fluting one Oyster case backs has become a legacy from the original 1926 Oyster. This is incorporated for the access to movement with the assistance of a special tool that is exclusively authorised for the Rolex watchmakers.


The Oyster Case, Thierry Parel
The Oyster Case, Thierry Parel

WINDING CROWN


At the heights of technicality, we find the winding crown of the Rolex which comprises of about 10 parts. It is hermetically screwed onto the watch case. This technique is what made Rolex the first watch ever to offer a waterproof winding crown. Its interface between the parts of the watch inside and the harsh elements of the environment outside are safely secured. The Rolex Twinlock and Triplock winding crowns implement two-three sealed zones to assure water resistance to the extent of a submariner’s hatch.


Oyster Winding Crown, BeckerTime
Oyster Winding Crown, BeckerTime

THE BEZEL


When it comes to the bezel of the Rolex Oyster, one finds a combination of form and function. In the visual identity of Rolex watches, the bezel is an iconic element. It comes in a variety of forms, both fixed and rotatable. Over the years, the bezel has been accorded with new modifications based on the type of the watch, like diving time, second time-zone, 24-hour display, tachymeter scale, and more.


Another unusual aspect of the Rolex watches is the Fluted Bezel. When this feature was designed, it had a crucial functionality: it was meant to screw the bezel onto the case ensuring the watch with waterproofness. It was similar to the idea of fluting on the caseback with the same requirement of ensuring waterproofness. This feature over time became a symbolic and aesthetic Rolex-watch element. The flute bezel found today is a signature style, found always in gold.


The Fluted Bezel, Rolex Forum
The Fluted Bezel, Rolex Forum

DARK RHODIUM DIAL


The dial is the face of the Rolex watch. It brings the identity which is unique to Rolex watches. Every Rolex dial is created in-house, mostly by hand to ensure perfection. It is embellished with hour-markers which are designed in 18 ct gold to provide resistance against tarnishing.


OYSTER BRACELET


Introduced in the late 1930s, the Oyster bracelets are designed in aesthetics and technology. The bracelet is built for comfort even with metal. They are broad, flat three-piece links, which makes it the most universal design in the Oyster collection. The bracelet of the Oyster Perpetual models are fitted with an Oysterclasp.


The Oyster Bracelet, uhrenworld.com
The Oyster Bracelet, uhrenworld.com

3132 MOVEMENT

From the very beginning, Rolex watches have proved their reliability in extremities of all forms- depths of the deepest seas, high mountains, air, and the race track. Hence before leaving the manufacturing centre, each and every Rolex is made to undergo a test.


The 3132 Calibre, Pinterest
The 3132 Calibre, Pinterest

The Oyster Perpetual 39 is a certified Swiss watch, which is an achievement in itself, given the fact that such a designation is reserved only for the high-precision watches. is fitted with calibre 3132 which is a self-winding mechanical movement unique to Rolex alone. It has a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers meant to withstand shocks and other extremities.


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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Movement, Rolex.com
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Movement, Rolex.com

SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER


In every Rolex watch, one will find a green seal signifying the fact that it is a Superlative Chronometer. This implies that it has successfully undergone a series of specific controls by Rolex in its own laboratories. Needless to mention, a watch like Rolex definitely has the official COSC certification of its movements. In terms of performance, the watches have won a mark of excellence owing much to its unique testing of chronometric precision of cased-up movements.


Oyster Perpetual Superlative Chronometer, Watches Prime
Oyster Perpetual Superlative Chronometer, Watches Prime

OSCILLATOR


For mechanical watches, the oscillator is what essentially keeps the time going. The Rolex Oyster comes with a hairspring and balance wheel. This ascertains the precision of the watch through the regularity of the oscillations.


After much work, Rolex managed to device the Parachrom hairspring which is made from a paramagnetic alloy. This allows it to function unaffected by magnetic fields and makes it 10 times more resilient to shocks than the typical hairsprings. Historically, the unique blue colour of the hairspring marks prestige reserved for only those timepieces that are accurate.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Escapement, Lugaro Jewellers
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Escapement, Lugaro Jewellers

THE CALIBRE 3255


The Rolex calibre 3255 is a new-generation mechanical movement which has 14 patents which further elevate steh core characteristics. Its precision is twice the officially certified chronometer. Made of nickel phosphorus, it is also intensive to magnetic interference. The oscillator of the watch has optimised blue Parachrom hairspring which assures precision 10 times more than the traditional hairspring.




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