Rolex fifty years of wind and rain- Anniversary Daytona

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona replica for men, the chronograph watch made famous by actor and motor racing enthusiast Paul Newman. The anniversary edition that Rolex released at Baselworld 2013 still generates strong opinions in the brand’s legion of fans. Here is a closer look at the watch.

The first Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona — a wristwatch in a steel case with a manual-wind chronograph movement, named after the famous racetrack — was released in 1963 and has been produced in various versions ever since. (Newman regularly and famously wore a Daytona when he took up auto racing in the 1970s; a few very rare models have what collectors now refer to as the “Paul Newman dial,” with block indices and crosshairs on the subdials.) This model, however, is the very first Daytona with a platinum case. The color scheme — a dial in what Rolex calls “ice blue” and a bezel in what it terms “chestnut brown,” is also unprecedented in the collection. The watch, which Rolex’s press materials refer to as a “prestigious edition” is priced at around $75,000, much higher than most Daytona models.Discount fake Rolex online admits that the new timepiece is not attainable for every Daytona fan out there, but that the intent with the anniversary piece had always been to create something special and exclusive. The Daytona’s familiar tachymeter bezel, a key element in its identity as a watch for auto racing, is made of Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom material, an extra-hard, corrosion resistant ceramic, with the engraved numerals and graduations coated with a thin layer of platinum via a PVD (physical vapor deposition) process. The wearer can use the tachymeter scale, in conjunction with the chronograph, to measure average speeds of up to 400 miles (or kilometers) per hour.

Click the watch photos to enlarge the images, click here for a short video of the new Daytona.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in Platinum - angle

 

The Daytona’s case measures 40 mm in diameter and claims a water-resistance of 100 meters (330 feet). Made in Rolex’s distinctive Oyster style, the case is machined from a solid block of 950 platinum and has a polished finish. The fluted caseback is hermetically screwed down with a special tool exclusive to cheap Rolex watchmakers. The winding crown, fitted with Rolex’s patented Triplock water-resistance system, screws down securely against the case and is protected by a crown guard integrated into the case middle. The chronograph pushers also screw down securely. The crystal is made of scratch-resistant sapphire. The outer scales on the chronograph subdials are made of chestnut brown lacquer, which matches the bezel and contrasts strikingly with the ice-blue dial, and have 18k white gold borders. White gold is also used for the applied hour markers and hands, which are coated in Chromalight, a luminescent substance emitting a blue glow that Rolex claims lasts longer than eight hours.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona - Platinum -front

The movement that powers this special edition of the Cosmograph Daytona is Rolex’s manufacture Caliber 4130, a self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement that is also a COSC-certified chronometer. The movement has a vertical clutch, a bidirectional rotor on a ball bearing, and an oscillator with a hairspring made of blue Parachrom, another Rolex-exclusive, patented material that is uncommonly resistant to magnetic fields. Hairsprings made of Parachrom, an alloy of niobium, zirconium, and oxygen, are said to remain stable through temperature variations and be much less susceptible to shocks, remaining, according to Rolex , 10 times more precise in case of shocks than a traditional hairspring. The watch is available, at this point, only on a solid-link Oyster bracelet made of 950 platinum — which is certainly another factor in the high price. The bracelet includes Rolex’s Oysterlock safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening, and the patented Easylink quick-extension system that allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm without the use of a tool.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona - platinum - tilt

Buying New Versus Vintage Rolex

Whether one likes it or not, one cannot deny that Rolex still gets more attention from watch consumers than any other watch brand. I respect Rolex for what it is able to accomplish (producing high-quality watches in large numbers for reasonable prices) and I own and have owned my share of Rolex watches, both vintage and new.

My opinion on this subject changes once in a while, I must admit. Once, I even wrote an article on why I don’t collect vintage Rolex watches, yet now I seem to be “stuck” with only vintage Rolex watches in my modest collection. However, I remain strongly opinionated about vintage Rolex. In this article I will tell you exactly why, and why it might be safer (and perhaps just as much fun) to buy a brand-new model.

Let me start by telling you why I love vintage Rolex watches. Like most other vintage watches (from other brands), a Rolex sports watch from the 1960s or ’70s has an aura of adventure; the wear on the case and bracelet show that the watches had something of a rough life; the things that the watch witnessed might have been awesome. The fun with vintage high quality  Rolex watches is that because there are so many of them around, you can usually find the exact “configuration” that suits your personal taste. For example, I don’t like the ones with the old tritium markers that have turned a mustard yellow color; I prefer them slightly off-white. I also don’t like spider-web dials (cracked paint) and prefer them to be all-matte with big, round hour markers. And I would rather have a watch that had decent servicing throughout the decades than a watch that still has its original crown, seals and crystal. But I know that there are dozens of people who prefer just the opposite.

Buying new versus vintage RolexI’ve learned that a lot about buying and collecting vintage Rolex has to do with aesthetics. There is little interest in the mechanical movement; people generally trust it to be good. (It is a Rolex, for crying out loud.) Many collectors tend to be more interested in a nice-looking dial, or matching pair of hands, than to making sure the movement is all nice and fresh. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and these movements are fairly easy to service, but I always make sure that the watch is in perfect technical working order as well.

Now, the other side of the story is that there is a lot of fraud going on in the vintage Rolex scene. As with all transactions in which serious money is involved — whether it be classic cars, paintings, real estate, even adopting babies — there are always those who want to cheat and scam other people who wish to own a certain commodity (in this case, a watch). There are dealers who claim to have million-dollar businesses selling vintage Rolexes, who claim to be able to supply whatever model you need or whichever is in demand at that moment. Be very careful of those types of dealers. I’d advise you to seek out a guy who trades vintage Rolexes as a hobby (or a passion), rather than to enter a store that has dozens of vintage Rolex watches that are labeled “exclusive” and carry crazy price tags.

“Exclusivity” is another important issue. Most Rolexes are not exclusive, in terms of numbers, to start with, even vintage Rolexes. Rolex has always been a watch manufacturer with a high production capacity. Collectors have made them “exclusive” because of their needs for certain models with specific signs of aging or specific wording on the dial. In truth, if you have unlimited resources, you can buy just about any vintage Rolex there is (with exceptions, of course, such as prototypes or models that had a specific professional purpose). You want a Paul Newman Daytona? No problem, as long as you can show the money. The only thing that makes a vintage Rolex “exclusive” is its price tag, to be honest. There are watches from other brands out there that are much harder to get, and perhaps also more technically interesting, but let’s face it. The demand for vintage Rolex watches is incomparable.

So, in the end, if you want to buy a vintage Rolex timepiece, make sure you know your budget and know exactly what you want. If you – like me – don’t care too much about the position of the wording on the dial, how yellow the patina will be, or how faded the bezel should be, you are fairly safe. In any case, make sure you “buy the seller,” which means that you should be able to trust the seller in order to make the purchase. It is impossible to know everything about vintage cheap replica Rolex watches for sale, but you should feel comfortable with the watch that the seller is offering you. If he says it is fine and you did a plausibility check, you should be able to take his word for it. Some sellers offer your cash back if anything appears to be incorrect after the purchase. Make sure to do a check on the good guys out there by using the online vintage Rolex communities. However, always try to think logically when you are looking at a vintage Rolex for sale. Do not lose your head over it. If it doesn’t feel good, then don’t pull the trigger.

Let’s now shift the focus to the other side of the spectrum, discussing the merits and pitfalls of new and modern Rolexes.

You might already know that buying vintage Rolex watches can be — how can I put this mildly — scary shit. If you “just” want a good watch and don’t want to get dragged into the quest for that perfect vintage Rolex datejust, you might want to consider buying a new – or at least a modern – Rolex instead.

New versus vintage RolexA lot of people — mainly watch enthusiasts — will tell you that buying a new Rolex is “boring” and that you can purchase other interesting watches for the same price or less. This may be true, but please bear in mind what’s important to you.  If you want a watch that will last a lifetime (or two) and that does not depreciate too much (usually the opposite will be true, if you are patient enough), then a modern Rolex daytona might be a good choice.

Although the Rolex company is as tightly closed as its own Oyster cases when it comes to providing information, the general assumption is that it produces close to a million watches per year. The lucky few who have been inside the Rolex production facilities have reported on an impressive number of automated processes there that are unlikely to make mistakes that humans would make. All watches are still assembled by hand, of course. And the high quality that Rolex is able to maintain on such a high production number of watches is truly incredible.

It is no secret that a lot of people did complain about the lack of innovation at Rolex up until a few years ago. At the time, Rolex still used the clasp that looked as if it was made from soda-can material, the relatively small (40 mm) case diameters for its sports watches and the same movements it had been using for decades. In the last few years, however, Rolex has introduced more innovations and changes than it did in the previous four decades. Rolex upgraded its bracelets by adding new clasps that have a super-easy system for (micro)adjustment, started using ceramics for its bezels, tweaked its movements with the new Parachrom hairspring, and even made its watches appear bigger. Appeared? Yes. For instance, the latest Sea-Dweller 116600 and GMT-Master II 116719BLRO with Pepsi bezel are still 40 mm in diameter, but appear larger because of the dimensions of their lugs.

Another point some watch enthusiasts like to raise is that Rolex watches are outrageously expensive. I beg to differ, actually. Rolex watches were never cheap to start with, so everything is relative, but there are a few things you need to consider.

New versus vintage RolexA new Rolex Submariner has a price tag of just over $8,500. On the pre-owned market you can find this watch for around $7,000, in good condition, approximately 1-2 years old. I will leave the bargaining at an official Rolex retailer up to you. My point is that the depreciation is only small compared to – basically – that of every other brand in this price category. You can have an awesome $8,000 watch from any other brand, even with some interesting complications in there, but will it keep its value? Since you are visiting this website, I’d assume you also know how to find your way to the online watch markets that carry all sorts of watches. Take a look at what is left of the list price on many of these other watches after a couple of years. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that GMT has an excellent service department. A total overhaul of your Rolex watch is expensive, but when you get it back it will look as it did the day you unwrapped it for the first time.

My personal experience with Rolex’s Geneva service center is that I actually had to double-check to see if they didn’t replace the case of my Sea-Dweller 16600 when I got it back from an overhaul (they didn’t). I could not believe my eyes. It took them about six weeks, which is quite stunning compared to other watch companies. I have watches from other brands whose servicing took much longer, sometimes up to six months even for something as relatively simple as adjusting the movement. It’s been my experience that many watch manufacturers forget about you as soon as you buy something from them and would rather spend their money on celebrity “ambassadors” or expensive marketing campaigns, but it seems that Rolex sea dweller actually cares a lot about the after-sales service.

Servicing vintage watches, of course, is a totally different issue. Parts might not be available anymore, new spare parts can mess up the value of your highly sought-after vintage watch, price quotes can be as high as those for a modern watch, and so on.

Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher

Wednesday in Givrins, Switzerland at the Corinna Schumacher CS Ranch, Audemars Piguet unveiled its latest concept  Watch Masterpiece: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher. Scroll down to learn more.

In late 2010, F1 legend and Audemars Piguet ambassador Michael Schumacher posed an apparently simple question to the engineers at Audemars Piguet: would it be possible to create a mechanical wristwatch that would make it possible to measure consecutive lap times?

This would be the first time a “brand ambassador” influenced the creation of a brand’s grand complication model and the creation of a completely new movement, at least for Audemars Piguet. The Concept watch took five years from conception to the final prototype, which is the world’s first luxury watch to feature two angular indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with an independent “memory.”

Audemars Piguet Royal oak Concept Laptimer Schumacher - reclining

Unlike a split-seconds chronograph, in which both seconds hands run simultaneously until the split-second push-piece is pressed, one hand stops allowing the reading of intermediate time, while the second hand keeps going, the the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher, features a single chronograph driving two central hands which can be controlled independently via three push-pieces. The first sited at the conventional two o’clock position to start and stop the chronograph; the second sited at the four o’clock position to reset the chronograph, and the all-important third push-piece sited at the nine o’clock position.
Audemars Piguet Royal oak Concept Laptimer Schumacher - front
This third push-piece makes it possible to simultaneously stop either of the two chronograph hands, while returning the other to zero and restarting it — meaning that, while the time of the most recent lap is being noted down, timing of the next lap is already underway. The watch therefore negates the need for two or more hand-held timing devices, streamlining the operation within a single wrist chronograph.
Audemars Piguet Royal oak Concept Laptimer Schumacher - side
The new Audemars Piguet 2923 calibre will have a pending patent covering its unique functionality using more than three column wheels. The gear train is driven by two mainspring barrels set in parallel which provide double the usual amount of torque and 80 hours of power reserve and operate at a frequency of  28,800 vph (4 Hz).  It will feature a variable-inertia balance wheel, which is capable of recording times down to 1/8 second and, to ensure exceptionally smooth operation, the swiss luxury  watches features specially developed conical gear teeth which mesh seamlessly and accurately at all points in the movement’s cycle for a perfectly linear torque transmission. A new oscillating wheel coupling mechanism has been developed for jerk-free action when the chronograph is stopped or started.
Audemars Piguet Royal oak Concept Laptimer Schumacher - back

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher is the world’s first mechanical chronograph with alternating consecutive lap timing and flyback function specifically designed and engineered for continuous action and relentless precision in timing laps on the racetrack.  The watch will have a 44-mm case made of forged carbon with titanium bezel, case edges and caseback as well as ceramic and rose-gold pushers. The concept watch will be a limited-edition collection of 221 pieces, in recognition of the number of F1 world championship point-winning races in which Michael Schumacher competed during his career.  The timepiece will retail for $229,500 and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each watch will be given to the ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière).

The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher will be the second Audemars Piguet chronograph to carry the name of the celebrated driver, the first being the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Michael Schumacher from 2012, which he helped to design and which was produced in an edition of 1,000 units in titanium, 500 in rose gold, and 100 in platinum.

Monochrome Watches Reviews the Swiss ETA Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi Bezel”

When Rolex unveils a new watch, it does it fake rolex GMT exactly when it wants to do it. As we told you before, when we were guessing what the new Rolex watches for 2014 would be, Rolex can be even more secretive than the famous Swiss banks. Our guesses turned out to be pretty accurate, and one of the models that we were hoping to see was the new Rolex GMT-Master II with red/blue “Pepsi” bezel. However, The new “Pepsi” elicited some rather mixed emotions at Monochrome headquarters.Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi - reclining 1

At the moment that Rolex opened the windows of its Baselworld booth (which could easily serve as a large house or a huge, three-story boutique) — while the Monochrome-Watches team were attending the Tudor press conference and being presented the cool new Black Bay Blue — our colleague Mario, who was not present at Baselworld, sent us a text message with a link to the new Rolexes. Suspense, and then… YES… a Pepsi! But as quickly as the enthusiasm erupted, it faded away again. The reason for that was that Rolex decided to make its most desirable new watch in years in white gold.

Now, usually the metal used for a new timepiece is just journalistic jotting. However, when a watch is on our personal shopping list, the choice becomes an important factor and all journalistic “neutrality” vanishes. The white-gold GMT-Master II has a price tag that is 20,000 euros higher than the GMT-Master II 116710 BLNR that was introduced last year. We realized that we’ll have to put coins in our piggy bank for many more years, and won’t be able to buy the new Pepsi for “that life-changing event” later this year.

The new “Pepsi” does look very good, actually, pretty much exactly as we hoped it would look. What we hadn’t realized is that creating that blue/red bezel was rather difficult — in fact, you could easily label it ‘next to impossible’ — and that was the reason that Rolex hadn’t created fake rolex Masterpiece II the “Pepsi” bezel in Cerachrom before.Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi  - reclining 2

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II has been our favorite “multi-purpose” travel watch for a long time. There simply aren’t that many competitors when you think of its specifications. A) wears very comfortably; B) looks good with a suit and with a casual outfit; C) water-resistant and can actually be worn on the beach, in the sea, or in your hotel’s swimming pool; and D) its make is impeccable and solid. Just thinking of these qualifications, the only options that come to mind (and I hope you’ll forgive me for the ones I forget) are the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Geographic, the Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC, Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut Travel rolex replica Submariner Time and its new Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph and the Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT that Omega introduced last year (we’ll have a review for you in two weeks).

 

Antimagnetic Attraction: Testing the Rolex Milgauss

The updated version of the 1950s’ Rolex Milgauss replica uk is a hit among Rolex fans. Is this re-engineered classic, with its improved protection against magnetism, worth the wait? Writer Jens Koch and photographer Nik Schölzel find out in this watch test.

Magnetic fields are invisible and do not greatly affect the human body. Maybe that’s why we don’t think about them very much, even though our high-tech world is full of them, generated by all sorts of devices, from motors to loudspeakers. Unlike the people who wear them, however, mechanical watches are extremely susceptible to magnetic fields. When parts of a watch’s movement become magnetized, its rate accuracy is disturbed, causing frustration for its owner.Rolex Milgauss - caliber 3131

Rolex addressed this problem in the 1950s with the introduction of its Oyster Perpetual Milgauss model. The name comes from the French mille Gauss, referring to the watch’s protection from magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss (named after physicist Karl Friedrich Gauss, a gauss is a unit for measuring the strength of a magnetic field). This level of magnetism, which corresponds to 0.1 Tesla or 80,000 vph, is 100 times higher than that of a typical horseshoe magnet. It would take levels such as those found in an MRI scanner to affect the watch’s functioning. After devoting considerable time and effort to the development of the recent reissue of the Milgauss, Rolex introduced it at the Baselworld watch fair in 2007. Its inner case, made of ferromagnetic material, shields the movement from magnetic fields and consists of only two parts: a container and another cover tightly screwed to it. The container encloses the movement laterally and on the dial side, while the back seals the movement side. To ensure that the movement would be shielded as much as possible, the designers allowed for only a bare minimum of openings in the dial and case. This is why there is no aperture for a date display, for example. There are only the necessary small openings for the winding stem and for the axles that anchor the hands. There are also two tiny holes for the screws that hold the dial. Most other watches with magnetic protection have an inner case with three parts, with the parts layered on top of one another rather than threaded together.

Rolex didn’t stop there; its engineers were determined to make additional modifications to prevent even minute amounts of magnetism from leaking into the movement. The result of this initiative was the blue Parachrom hairspring that appears in the Rolex Milgauss as well as other Rolex models such as the Daytona, the new GMT-Master II and the Yacht-Master II. It is made of a niobium-zirconium alloy with an oxide coating and remains completely unaffected by magnetic fields. It is also Sea Dweller rolex replica uk supposed to withstand shocks better than conventional hairsprings. (Click here to read WatchTime’s 2010 visit to the Rolex manufacturing facility in Bienne, Switzerland and learn more about how these Rolex-exclusive springs are made.) Additionally, the pallet fork and escape wheel are made of amorphous nickel-phosphorous, which is completely antimagnetic. Opening the solid, screw-down caseback reveals the second caseback made of soft iron. It can be opened with the same special wrench used for the outer caseback. This caseback is marked with a “B” with an arrow above it — the symbol for magnetic flux density — as an indication of its special function. (Interestingly, it is one of Rolex’s main competitors, Omega, that recently upped the ante on magnetism-resistant watches with the 2013 introduction of its Seamaster >1,500 Gauss, which uses even more antimagnetic materials in its movement.Rolex Milgauss - front

Ticking behind that caseback is the automatic Caliber 3131. It differs from its close relative, the 3130, which is used in the Explorer and the no-date version of the Submariner, only by these modified materials. Caliber 3130 is in turn based on the well-known Caliber 3135 that powers the Submariner and Datejust models. Some watchmakers view this Rolex manufacture caliber as the best automatic movement on the market, due to its robust design, which also permits very precise rate adjustment. For example, a stable balance bridge replaces the usual balance cock that features only one point of support. The endshake of the balance can be adjusted with two knurled screws. The Breguet overcoil of the hairspring also ensures precision in every position, as does the free-sprung balance using Microstella nuts. The red anodized reversers in the automatic module minimize friction. The only criticism we could level at the movement is that its rotor axle is set in a jeweled bearing rather than in a more modern ball bearing. Nevertheless, there are no known problems associated with this caliber. There is no caseback viewing window, so you’ll have to remove the caseback to see the nicely designed movement and its decorations. The classic Rolex rotor with cutouts and the automatic bridge are decorated with a sunburst finish. Other bridges have a perlage finish. Every bridge and plate is rhodium-plated and the edges are beveled and polished. The carefully polished screw heads are especially attractive.

The rate results for the new Rolex Milgauss were good, though they were not as precise as other Rolex watches that have undergone the same tests. They showed an average deviation of only +1.5 seconds per day on the timing machine, and a stable amplitude with no strong deviation between the vertical and horizontal positions. However, the greatest deviation between the positions, at seven seconds, was a rather imperfect result. When worn on the wrist the watch gained three seconds per day. Operating the Milgauss, however, is simplicity itself. The crown is easy to unscrew and has only two positions for winding and setting the hands. A hack mechanism keeps the balance and hands in place, enabling the wearer to set the watch to the second with precision. The logo and markings on the winding crown — a Rolex “crown” emblem with a dash below it —denotes the Twinlock crown, a departure from the Triplock crown of the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and other Rolex Professional models. At 7 mm this crown is considerably fake rolex Submariner larger and easier to grasp than the crowns on other, similar watches. Download the full review here.