Luxury watches are made to last, something that can be worn across generations. Rolex pride themself on the durability of their timepieces, testing every single one to the extremes before they’re allowed to leave the brand’s workshops. Consistently meeting these high expectations takes innovative approaches.
Rolex tests their watches in the most extreme conditions to ensure they meet the required standards. They reach the depths of the deepest oceans and the summits of the highest mountains, soar in the air and hit race tracks. All in the continuous pursuit of excellence.
A watch’s bracelet and clasp are exposed to the elements. Accidental knocks are common, never mind the potential damage from mountain climbing or deep-sea diving. The new generation Oysterlock underwent 26 different types of drop tests during its development.
Rolex also immersed it in tanks of chlorine and salt water with added sand, where it was opened and closed tens of thousands of times. These tests are designed to ensure the clasp remains fully functional throughout its lifespan, even in the harshest conditions.
The Crash Test
A Rolex watch has to pass more than 20 different drop tests before their launch. The most severe test they face is the bélier, appropriately named after the ram. This exclusive shock-testing equipment submits the watch to an impact equivalent to 5,000 G. It's a force hundreds of times more powerful than a car crash test.
Only watches that remain unharmed and fully functional afterwards are seen fit for sale. These maintain the highest real-life standards of accuracy and appearance befitting of a Rolex.
Stringent Waterproofness Test
All Oyster Perpetual Rolexes are created with the Oyster case, providing the movement with maximum protection against water, dust and shocks. Each watch is immersed in water and subjected to a pressure 10% greater than that found at the depth to which it is guaranteed.
To guarantee the water resistance of the Rolex Deepsea divers' watch to the extreme depth of 12,800 feet, Rolex tests every single one made in a specially designed high-performance tank. This stainless steel hyperbaric tank weighs 1.3 tonnes and simulates the pressure at 16,000 feet below sea level, some 25% greater than the depth indicated on the dial.
The force exerted upon the watch is equivalent to a weight of 4.5 tonnes and could be destructive. The slightest weakness in a watch would cause it to implode - all Rolex Deepsea watches offered for sale have survived it.
Little wonder these timepieces have plunged to the bottom of the Mariana Trench on two of the world’s deepest dives.
Years of Testing in One Week
Rolex’s Plan-les-Ouates site features a ‘strange white robot’. Located behind a safety-glass screen it’s constantly active, day and night. Its arm, solidly anchored on a base, subjects the watch to a series of seemingly random movements repeated at regular intervals. This simulates the typical movements of a Rolex wearer, alternating between everyday gestures and the action of the arm during sports, such as running.
The robot also simulates low-intensity shocks. It’s designed to simulate years of wear in a week to give the designers quick and instant feedback on their assumptions as to how the watch is going to behave.
Green Seal of Approval
The green seal accompanying every Rolex watch symbolises a benchmark for excellence in mechanical watches. This exclusive designation attests that a watch has successfully undergone a series of specific final controls by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria. This unique testing of the chronometric precision of the cased-up movement, the watch’s waterproofness, self-winding and power reserve, pushes back the boundaries of performance.
Every Rolex watch offered for sale is accompanied by the green seal and is coupled with a five-year guarantee.
Internal links - want to invest in a Rolex? Global Watches has some fine examples to suit all tastes, including these carefully selected pieces: