This year’s BaselWorld unveiled a number of surprises from Rolex. Rolex’s first surprise was a new Rolex Day-Date 40 in a new size and with stunning new laser etched dials. More commonly known as the Rolex President, the Day-Date is Rolex’s premier watch only being available in 950 platinum, or 18ct yellow, white, or Everose gold. The Rolex Day-Date was updated to a Day-Date II a few years ago by increasing the case size from 36mm to 41mm. This year’s stunning revelation with the Day-Date 40 is that it now replaces the Day-Date II in the lineup, and it has a completely new, redesigned movement incorporating 14 new patents not found in any other wristwatch, including Rolex.
Revising the Day-Date perhaps indicates where Rolex is going next –revising their current lineup with completely new movements. Over these last few years that for every new movement, Rolex released a completely new watch. The SkyDweller and Yachtmaster II are completely new watches for completely new movements, rather than the incremental changes to movements that we have seen with the Milgauss, Explorer II, and Lady DateJust.
The new Caliber 3255 exemplifies how computer aided design (CAD) improves Rolex traditional Swiss-lever design. The first notable difference is that re designed winding rotor now spinning on ball bearings rather than a jeweled sleeve increasing efficiency. The 3255 movement now has 70-hour power reserve rather than the traditional 45 hours by thinning the walls of the winding barrel to allow for more spring coils.
Rolex improved the timing precision by redesigning the core of the movement, the escapement, by utilizing LIGA (micro-manufacturing by electroforming) technology to lighten the escape wheel, and redesigning the pallet fork improving the timing precision for approximately a +/- two-seconds/day deviation -much better than the officially certified COSC’s -4/ +6 seconds/day deviation of a mechanical watch.
Messing with the reliable Swiss-lever design is no small feat and put any watch manufacturer’s reputation on the line. According to Rolex, the Swiss-lever escapement design has always suffered from low efficiency, relaying to the oscillator barely more than a third of the energy it receives from the mainspring via the gear train. After extensive research and redesign, the new Rolex Chronergy escapement improves the efficiency 15%. Almost half of the increased power reserve of Caliber 3255 is devoted to the escapement design itself. With this improvement in timing precision, Rolex follows the rest of the industry (Patek, Genève, Omega) by offering a new certification method for certifying the whole watch in real-life, daily wear situations, not necessarily the movement itself as with COSC chronometer certification.
Regulating the power to the escapement is the function of the balance wheel which Rolex redesigned as well. Utilizing their already patented Parachrom hairspring, Rolex improved upon the balance assembly by increasing the anti-magnetic features of the balance staff. Rolex also redesigned the balance wheel improving its poise and resistance to deformation.
Leaving no detail unturned, Rolex redesigned the keyless works making the time-setting and winding interface easier than on other Rolex models. The setting positions of the winding crown are now very distinct, easily sensed, and are optimized for faster day and date adjustment.
New Rolex Calibre(Click link for video)
The Caliber 3255 is a worthy new edition to Rolex’s stable of redesigned movements found in the SkyDweller and YachtMaster II. Hopefully, the patents unveiled in the 3255 movement will trickle down to the rest of the Rolex line. We all won’t know until BaselWorld 2016 and the anticipation has already started. Keep checking in with Fourtané to see the new Day-Date 40 and Caliber 3255 as Fourtané is eager too see this watch as much as you are.