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Different Cyclops Magnifications on Different Rolex Models?

Now wait a minute! Isn’t confirming a correct magnification of 2.5x one of the ways to verify a genuine Rolex watch? And now we’re saying different Rolex models might have different cyclops magnifications? How can this be?

Well we haven’t confirmed it from Rolex themselves, but we discovered eye witness accounts on the Wristshots Facebook group page a few weeks ago. That, in turn, led us to discussions on the Rolex Forums back in December of 2014.

It seems that the person who posted on Facebook had found the magnification on his new Pepsi GMT-Master II to be lower than that of his Submariner. He posted pictures that showed the effect. Commentators stated they’d experienced similar situations, even between examples of the same model Sky-Dweller at an AD (authorized dealer).

Some advised the guy to return the watch. Others said Rolex would change out the cyclops upon request, without admitting any wrong-doing. Jumping over to the Rolex Forums entries from a year ago, those commentators weren’t so mild in their assessment of the situation. Several had seen similar examples of different, weaker magnifications (they quoted 1.5x rather than the Rolex standard 2.5x).

Some said the situation (different magnifications on different watches) would bug the heck out of them, while a few said it was no big deal to them.

Photo courtesy of Rolex Forums member ronburgundy

A few raised the question of low magnification cyclopses being one of the warning signs of a fake watch. One guy questioned what might happen when owners went to sell such watches and were possibly told the watches were fakes.

Many expressed much displeasure at Rolex for allowing such shoddy quality control practices to take place. One said, “If Hodinkee did a piece on the issue, there might be answers.”

Another called for an investigative endeavor, saying “It needs to be covered by the media (e.g. popular watch magazine, blogger, news agency..) in some way so that Rolex has to respond or take action in a public manner.”

A third chimed in, “Yes. Media coverage would be awesome. This could be huge, like the Intel Pentium floating point flaw!”

I’m not so sure it’s that big of an issue – there are factors of magnitudes fewer watches affected than Pentium-equipped PCs when that was a problem. But we take the commentator’s point.

But let’s change direction just a might here. What could be the culprit – other than poor quality assurance procedures at a company known for its quality? There was one lone voce in the wilderness in all that questioning negativity.

Could it be that the reason for differing magnifications be as simple as the laws of physics? Optics, to be precise? That the crystal of a Submariner is thicker than the crystal of a GMT? Thus, the cyclops lens itself is farther away from the surface of the date wheel, and therefore the observed magnification is higher?

I don’t know if that’s the answer. Certainly not for the guy who thought he saw different magnifications on neighboring Sky-Dwellers in an AD’s display case. But it could form the basis of a thorough treatment of the question.

On the other hand, following up the question of fakes and counterfeits, if you can’t tell fake from genuine by the magnification of a watch’s cyclops, how can you tell? Tune in tomorrow and we’ll give you a few hints.

 

-Ed Estlow

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