What is the most durable, strongest Rolex, and just
December 17 2011 at 2:55 PM
(Login figcar) Moderator from IP address 184.108.40.206
how durable and strong is it really...in terms of G forces? And how do other watches compare? I've read the book "Every Rolex tells a Story" and I remember the story about the Sub or GMT that fell 75 feet off the tail of a jet, etc., etc.
The origins of this question go back to 2000-2001 when I had just bought a very nice 18k 6305. A group of us were talking watches and one of the fellows pulled out his new Chase-Durer and said "look at this?" With that he took off the watch, held it in his hand and gave in a violent smack on a table on the side opposite the winding crown. He then turned it so we could see through the saphire case back that the rotor for the movement was flying around and around. When it came to a stop we could all see the watch was still working fine. So one of us said, "can I try that?" The guy handed him his watch and this guy smacked it down even harder. Now the spinning rotor was a complete blur. I asked to see the watch and I gave it a shake to see if I could feel anything loose. Gazing through the saphire back everything looked just fine. He invited me to give it a smack...and I did...though not as hard as the first two.
So, realizing we have a lot of "rare and valuable" sport watches among our members...are there any mechanical Rolexes, old or new, that you would try this with if you owned it? How about with a Big Bang or a Panerai or Breitling or Bell and Ross or an Omega whateverMaster? If none of these more expensive watches are as strong...are they just jewelery pretending to be a tool? What made the C-D so strong?
the 1675 GMT Master was the toughest watch in the world in the mid 1960's. Seriously, other than the robust non modular construction of the Valjoux 7750 movement (assuming that the Chase-Durer in question was a chronograph) I cannot see a reason why the CD would withstand a blunt force that would likely damage most other watches. Wouldn't try that with any of mine.
This message has been edited by steveo65 from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Dec 17, 2011 4:36 PM
In 1972 Rolex gave me three watches to use in a field experiment (a story for another time). The Rolex rep I was working with happened to be coming to DC that weekend, so he brought the watches to me. In the course of our conversation we got into how durable Rolex were compared to Omega (NASA had just chosen Omegas for the astronauts and Rolex wasnt happy). To prove his point, he took off his watch (which was either a Submariner or a SeaDweller) and threw it up in the air about 6 feet. It landed hard onto a hardwood floor he did this several times. It kept right on running. I chose not to try that with my personal 1680, but I was impressed!
So what materials and what design perameters would
December 17 2011, 5:37 PM
be necessary to build a watch a strong as the one I described? And since it is possible, why aren't other manufacturers doing it? If you bought a brand new Sea Dweller, how hard do you think you could smack it on a wood table and have it survive? Are micro rotor movements a better design in terms of being able to suffer shocks? On the CD website they also discuss watch prices vs manufacturing costs. Certainly we know that top of the line Swiss watches have a lot of markup in their prices. I guess the end of the line question is, could Rolex and the other Swiss manufactures be making better quality(stronger and more durable) watches for the money they charge?
I beat the hell out of my 5512 for the last 20 years and it still looks and runs great! The 1655 I bought appears just as tough as the 5512, although I sometimes notice that a sharp jolt will cause the second hand to skip a beat (stop and start for a split second). The Rolex 1570 movement is the best..!
Slamming it on the table was just a demonstration. It made me think of
December 18 2011, 2:14 AM
jobs that people do and if mechanical watches are up to being worn while operating a jack hammer...chopping wood...pounding nails...firing large caliber automatic weapons...etc. And if most modern watches are not up to it, what design or material changes would make them able to withstand those shocks and vibration? When I wore a snapback Patek...I took it off every time I washed my hands. One day I dropped a day date from about three feet...it hit the wooden floor and the second hand came off. Things like that happen and we all have to live with it, but I did feel that the day date, or any Rolex, should be able to take the shock with out failing.
But lets put vintage watches aside. I know making a strong modern watch is not a matter of being too expensive because the prices on many CD watches are no more than a beater 1601. The idea behind the Reverso was to withstand an impact in a polo match...the ball...the mallet...a fall from the horse...but how rugged are the modern Reversos? Basically have modern watchmakers fallen behind the curve in tool watches and are now just producing gimick jewelry? Or is there stuff in the pipeline that will push the envelope?
they are not meant to be used as a hammer, pounded on the table, dropped on the floor from a few feet high.
Would you drop a T.V. set on the floor? It is also a tool.
Any item can be damaged or destroyed when not used for its intended purpose.
Just because you choose to call a Rolex a tool watch does not mean it is designed like a chainsaw...
If you strap it on your wrist, it should be able to
December 18 2011, 7:24 PM
go through whatever you go through. Or else it is jewelry. A watch that says "wear me into combat, dive to the bottom of the ocean, climb to the top of Everest" is claiming that it doesn't need to be shielded from any of the normal activities that go with those extremes. Using an ice axe or hammer, facing sever physical hardship and trauma, the concusions of battle...none of these are beyond what Rolex and other watch makers claim their tools can survive.
This is all very different than with a dress watch...though I am very impressed with the solidity of Rolex dress watches such as the 1013 and 34mm Bombe models. These have thinner cases, smaller crowns and crystals, and different seals and they are not expected to survive the same conditions as a Sub or Sea Dweller or Yachtmaster. I am disappointed that COSC accuracy standards haven't gotten better.
Dave McD (Login davemcdus) VRF Member 18.104.22.168
My experience is that "tool watches" really are tough..
December 18 2011, 6:54 AM
My daily wear 1967 5513 comes with me every day to the studio, and it has taken a few good accidental cracks, usually as I'm jumping out of the way of something heavy or moving something large and unwieldy. Despite cringing in fear at what I will find when I look down at my wrist, the most that I've ever needed to do was rub some Polywatch on the plexi, and maybe live with a new scratch or two. No damage at all to movement or anything else. Same thing goes for the 90's Omega Seamaster that I wore for over 10 years prior to that. I don't know that I'd use either as a hammer , but I think these type of watches still rate as working "tools" and not just as the high valued and beautiful collectibles we mostly think of them as. I probably would not ever wear one of my older deco watches to the studio or be surprised if they didn't stand up to a hit though.