Rolex quietly dropped a bombshell last week. But wait. Let’s back up. Back to Baselworld 2015 and the introduction of the Day-Date 40. When they introduced that watch, they also announced the calibre 3255 it contained was good to -2/+2 seconds a day – on the order of 60% better than the COSC standard of -4/+6 seconds per day, and better than some… er… modestly constructed quartz movements.
And at Basel, Rolex also clued us in to the real reason the word ‘Superlative’ has been on the dial all these years. Once the bare movement comes back from CSOC certification, Rolex has been installing them in their cases – and then testing them in-house to a more exacting standard. When it passes that test, the watch has earned a Superlative Chronometer Certification and the moniker, “Superlative Chronometer,” as printed on the dial.
And now, Rolex has revamped testing fixtures to more closely simulate the motion of the human wrist in the daily wear of a wrist watch, and refined and automated the entire procedure. They’ve formalized the whole process and extended it to the entire lineup of Rolex and Cellini automatic timepieces.
Added to that is the fact that all timepieces are now carrying a five year warranty, and Rolex is again leading the way in accuracy and precision of fine timepieces. Omega fans of that brand’s "Master Chronometer" designated movements (with -0/+5 seconds per day accuracy), and its in-house testing methodology certified by the independent federal agency METAS, your protests have been noted.
Some may pooh-pooh the advance, but the fact is, it’s a tremendous achievement. It’s indescribably difficult to produce upwards of a million watches a year to those standards. (Rolex never discloses their numbers, but anyone will tell you that’s a pretty good guess.)
Differences in production machines, rate of cutting tool wear, holding to tolerances measured in thousandths of a millimeter, gear lash, differences from watchmaker to watchmaker in the assembly room – the list of what could affect and negate those kinds of results goes on and on.
We submit the above photograph of the 3255 in exploded view as visual evidence of the complexity and sheer number of parts that need to be the subjects of the incredible quality control that is a hallmark of Rolex.
And we applaud Rolex’s continual pushing of the envelope of what’s possible with a small spring powered machine worn on the wrist.