Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rolex Water Resistance Testing.

Rolex has always explored the limits of water resistance, not only for its dive watches but also across its entire Oyster Perpetual line. It was water resistance that put the brand on the map when Mercedes Gleitz wore a Rolex Oyster around her neck as she swam the English Channel in 1926. In 1960, Rolex again used a publicity stunt to highlight its watches’ immunity to water pressure when it strapped a DeepSea onto the bathyscaphe Trieste for its plummet to the bottom of the 11,000-meter-deep Marianas Trench.

Rolex dive watches, from the first Submariner to the latest DeepSea Sea Dweller, have always hung their hats (diving helmets?) on watertight cases and screw-down crowns, both Rolex innovations. Given this emphasis, it makes sense that the brand takes water resistance testing very seriously. We took our own Z-series Submariner into a Rolex authorized service center to see just how it’s done.

Wixon Jewelers in suburban Minneapolis is one of the largest Rolex dealers in the Midwest and they not only sell the brand's watches but also have three Rolex-trained and certified watchmakers on staff who can do everything from bracelet sizing to full movement service. One of the services they offer is water resistance testing (for any brand watch, not just Rolexes). They have the rare equipment and ability to pressure-test a watch to simulated depths in excess of 1,000 meters using special Rolex machinery. Wixon was kind enough to let HODINKEE into the workshop, where the watchmakers demonstrated how it’s done using our own guinea pig Submariner. {Read on}