National Geographic : 1972 Jun
How to make sure that each Rolex Oyster case is watertight: Make one that isn't. This is the Rolex Oyster case we hated to make. We did it simply to satisfy ourselves that each true Oyster case locks out every iota of moisture as reliably as tested. The test: One by one, each Oyster case is immersed in a special tank of water. Then the air pressure is systematically reduced to simulate what happens deep underwater. If water can force itself into the case, air is displaced and bubbles appear. No bubbles means no water seepage. But just to make certain, each case is removed and immediately placed on a hot plate device. The merest trace of moisture inside the case will condense and fog the crystal. At least, that's what should result. But it never did. Thus the need to make the non watertight case you see above and put it to the same test. That's when the unwanted symptoms showed up. And that's when our inspectors finally felt confident that all true Oyster cases were indeed securely watertight. Of course, this surprised nobody. An Oyster case is built to be impregnable to a hoard of hazards. The body is carved from a solid block of 18 kt. gold or stainless steel. . The crystal is meticulously diamond-cut for a micro-perfect match with its case (and actually seals tighter as the pressure on its surface is increased). The Twinlock winding stem screws down onto the case (an engineering principle borrowed from the submarine hatch) to form a unique double barrier against water and dirt. All of which is worthy prepa ration for the impeccable Rolex movement housed inside. It's made by proud, Swiss craftsmen who dedicate their lives to the watchmaking art. Each movement they create is a master piece of precision ... yet is able to shrug off hard knocks as if they didn't happen. The movement then under goes a series of tests, lasting 15 days and nights, at one of the official Swiss Institutes for Chronometer Tests. Only after passing is it certified as a "chronometer" and identified by the red seal you see below. Even so, our own inspec tors again test it repeatedly before it leaves our hands. From start to finish, Rolex engages in a relentless pursuit of perfection. No corners are cut. No effort is spared. The end result is a truly extraor dinary timepiece. This is what makes Rolex the invariable choice of men who have reached the top. Most of the world's heads of state are Rolex owners. So are a host of sports champions, men such as racing driver Jackie Stewart. And sailor/ adventurer Sir Francis Chichester. The list is endless. We put a lot of dedication into making it. You'll get a lot of pride out of wearing it. Owning one is almost as satisfying as making one. ROLEX The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date: a 30-jewel, self-winding chronometer with stainless steel case, 14 kt. gold bezel and crown, matching steel/gold bracelet, $385. American Rolex Watch Corporation,580 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y 10036. Write for free color brochure.Also available in Canada.