(Continued from Part 2) Rolex’s buzz
But other buzz, which—right from the first day and even before the doors opened—drove the tweeters and other bloggers crazy, took on the form of a quasi-existential interrogation in the watch milieu: Rolex was going to launch an entirely new collection!!!
And here again, the buzz proved true. The new Sky-Dweller moved into the spotlight (although it was soon “eclipsed” in the media by the Deep Sea timepiece carried by James Cameron to the bottom of the Marianas Trench). Rolex does not usually launch a new collection hastily and we can imagine the many obstacles that this model had to surmount before being duly approved for eternal glory. It is Rolex’s first annual calendar. We repeat that the annual calendar that was “popularised” (if we might use this term) by Patek Philippe is the main useful complication, well ahead of the chronograph, which we know is hardly ever used.
From a design point of view, a very interesting innovation allows this “Rolexised” annual calendar to forego all the habitual modes of display. The months are indicated by one of twelve coloured rectangles that are placed above the twelve Roman numerals of the hours. The date is classically placed in a loupe-window at 3 o’clock. The Sky-Dweller also has a second time zone. The reference time is read on an open dial displaying 24 hours, with the right time being denoted by a red triangle placed just below the Rolex crown. This very intuitive display of the annual calendar, the local time and the home time is adjusted by the Ring Command rotating bezel (three positions, date and month, local time, home time), which interacts with the new automatic calibre 9001, equipped with the patented Saros mechanism. This system, which manages the irregular alternating months of 30 and 31 days, is constructed around a central planetary wheel driven by the instantaneous date jumping disc—a few milliseconds is enough to pass from 30 or 31 to the first day of the following month.
From the beginning, this timepiece—more beautiful in reality than in the photos—will join the long line of Oyster legends. For its introduction, it is offered in a gold case and priced at around CHF 37,000, which places it fairly high among the brand’s 180+ models and 3,000 combinations.
Tudor dives into its past
Rolex’s little brother, Tudor, continues the thoughtful work of revitalising its own heritage. And, up to now, it has been very successful. Proof is the new Heritage Black Bay, a re-interpretation of a 1954 standard, with its curved dial, maroon bezel, and “snowflake” hands that are typical of the first diver’s watches. Revisited and resized to 41mm, it is water-resistant to 200 metres and equipped with an automatic Calibre 2824. It comes mounted on either a leather bracelet with a patina finish (CHF 2,950) or a steel bracelet (CHF 3,250).
The retro-chic and highly readable Pelagos, with its helium valve, can descend to a depth of 500 metres. In titanium with a satin finish that gives it a raw appearance, it is mounted on a titanium bracelet with a self-adjusting spring mechanism that contracts or expands depending on the water pressure. It is also available with a rubber strap that allows the watch to be worn over a wet suit. The Pelagos draws its stylistic heritage from several models that have marked Tudor’s history. Its price tag of CHF 3,950 makes it a serious competitor in the popular diver’s market (see also the article by Keith Strandberg in this issue on sports watches). (Continued... Part 4)
Source: Europa Star June - July 2012 Magazine Issue