TRIED AND TESTED
Few companies have been so consistently identified with the pursuit of excellence, the quest for the absolute, the discovery of original approaches and innovative solutions. Rolex watches have proved themselves from the start in the most extreme conditions imaginable - from the depths of the deepest oceans to the summits of the highest mountains, in the air and on the race track. And to ensure that all Rolex watches can live up to these high expectations, every single one is tested to extremes before it is allowed to leave the Rolex site.
Accidental knocks and everyday gestures – not to mention climbing to rugged summits or diving to great depth – can subject the bracelet and clasp of a watch to the toughest of forces. The new generation Oysterlock fitted on Professional Rolex models underwent 26 different types of drop tests during its development. It was also immersed in tanks of chlorine and salt water with added sand, where it was opened and closed tens of thousands of times – about three times the clasp's given lifecycle – to ensure it will remain fully functional even in the harshest conditions.
THE CRASH TEST
Rolex watches have to pass more than 20 different drop tests before their launch. The most severe homologation test is the bélier, tellingly named after the ram. This exclusive shock-testing equipment submits the watch to an impact equivalent to 5,000 G – hundreds of times more than a car crash test. Yet the watch has to remain unharmed and fully functional afterwards, maintaining the highest real-life standards of accuracy and appearance befitting of a Rolex.
STRINGENT WATERPROOFNESS TESTING
Defying the elements
All Oyster Perpetual models are equipped with the Oyster case, providing the movement with optimal protection against water, dust and shocks. Before being shipped, every Oyster watch is immersed in water and subjected to a pressure 10 percent greater than that found at the depth to which it is guaranteed – 25 percent more in the case of divers’ watches. This means that every Rolex Oyster is not just capable of resisting at least 100 metres of water pressure. It has actually done so.
DEEPSEA TEST TANK
To guarantee the water resistance of the Rolex Deepsea divers' watch to the extreme depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), Rolex tests every single one made in a specially designed high-performance tank. This stainless steel hyperbaric tank is cast in a single piece and weighs 1.3 tonnes. It simulates the pressure at 4,875 metres (16,000 feet) below sea level, some 25 percent greater than the depth indicated on the dial. At this depth, the force exerted upon the watch is equivalent to a weight of 4.5 tonnes. This test could be destructive, meaning that the slightest weakness in a watch would cause it to implode. Obviously, all Rolex Deepsea watches offered for sale have survived it.
YEARS IN A WEEK
At the Plan-les-Ouates site, a flurry of activity from a strange white robot behind a safety-glass screen continues day and night. An articulated arm solidly anchored on a base subjects the watch to a series of seemingly random movements repeated at regular intervals. In fact the robot simulates the typical movements of a Rolex wearer, alternating between everyday gestures and the action of the arm during sports such as running. Not to mention a few low-intensity shocks. The robot is designed to simulate years of wear in a week to give the designers quick feedback on their assumptions as to how the watch is going to behave.
THE GREEN SEAL
The green seal accompanying every Rolex watch is a symbol of its status as a Superlative Chronometer. This exclusive designation attests that it has successfully undergone a series of specific final controls by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, in addition to the official COSC certification of its movement. This unique testing of the chronometric precision of the cased-up movement, as well as of the watch’s waterproofness, self-winding and power reserve, pushes back the boundaries of performance and makes Rolex the benchmark for excellence in mechanical watches. The green seal is coupled with a five-year guarantee which applies to all Rolex models.