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 WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!

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PostSubject: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 7:01 pm

This article was written by Wei Koh


A WORLD APART
INSIDE THE ROLEX MANUFACTURE

REVOLUTION
delves into the heart of the Rolex manufacture to discover a unique
fusion between state-of-the-art technology and traditional human values
that results in — hands down — the best performing mechanical watches
in the world
By Wei Koh

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Rolex

It’s
one of those moments in life when you know you'd never be the same
afterwards. You'd be changed forever; your emotional fabric, your
chemical composition, your perspective on reality, irrevocably altered.
It must have been like this for Alan Shepard, sitting strapped to the
chair of his space craft, the nose cone pointed at the deep, cosmic
otherness known as space. And as the massive engines ignited beneath
him, he felt their power shake him to his soul. As they propelled him
into the unknown, he must have known what it was like to feel true awe.
So it was for the small group of journalists selected to step foot, for
the first time in decades, into the most foreboding realm in the luxury
universe — the Rolex factory and headquarters in Geneva. Here it was, a
totemic edifice to one of the most powerful, yet most secretive
companies on the planet

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 2
WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 3
WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 4

Outside the Rolex manufacture; stark glass facade shield a secret universe of watchmaking within

Who
is Rolex? Rolex is a company that has been the gold standard for brand
equity, quality and function over the last century. A company known
even in the farthest reaches of the world. Rolex watches hold their
value with such stability that they could be used as an alternate
global currency. The company makes such accurate watches that should
all electronic navigational technology become irreversibly corrupted,
ship captains and pilots could still plot their course with Rolexes. It
produces more mechanical watches than all the other high-end watch
companies in Switzerland combined, yet manages to outshine them all in
performance, accuracy, ease of use and robustness. But for years, Rolex
has also been an information black hole, where questions on movements,
manufacturing techniques and technical innovations vanished as quickly
as light in a world of total darkness. So, Rolex lovers became ciphers
learning to read the language of its creators through the mechanical
language of their movement, cultivating a comprehension of their grand
ambitions and majestic achievements from the small evolutions that
emerged each year in their watches.

Then one day, just like
Charlie’s Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, an
invitation materializes; and you find yourself standing outside the
shimmering reflective glass walls, built to intimidate and to ensure
that the world within remains a world apart. So, you step inside its
doors and already your head is filled with wild, hallucinatory
thoughts:are you about to descend to a top-secret facility buried three
miles underground, where captured alien space technology is harnessed
to create watches beyond all human comprehension? As you open your
eyes, your mind reels to comprehend the full magnitude of what’s
passing before them. And suddenly, that deep, painful desire; that
all-too-human yearning to learn more, to become the vessel of
transcendent knowledge, is satiated. And as if you’ve looked upon the
face of God, you are enlightened and changed forever.

But hang
on. We know what you want to know. Because we’ve heard the gripes, the
asides, the whispers spoken with the venom of jealous courtesans.
“Rolex only makes three movements,” they say, “How can they call
themselves a manufacture?” This is largely true for their Oyster
(although, this year, they added the Regatta chronograph caliber 4160),
but they make these movements exceptionally well. In fact, I defy any
other manufacture to submit their movements for comparative testing
related to accuracy and shock resistance. Like Wesley says in The
Princess Bride, “The end result can only be humiliation galore.”

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 6
All
precious metals are made from core elements by Rolex at the in-house
foundry. This expertise allowed Rolex to create Everose, the only truly
stable rose gold in the world

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 5

So,
is the inner world of Rolex devoid of human life and filled with
futuristic robots and replicants that have walked off the set of Ridley
Scott’s Blade Runner? Yes, and no. Robots are used, but an immense
amount of human involvement goes into the creation of Rolex’s watches.
The word “manufacture” comes from the Latin description “to make by
hand”, and there is plenty of this going on inside Rolex. Movements are
hand-assembled and easily as artisanal in approach as movements
assembled at similarly industrialized manufactures such as Breitling,
Panerai and Roger Dubuis. Delicate operations such as coiling and
separation of hairsprings are still exclusively performed by hand.
These processes are artisanal and so far in advance of the rest of the
watch industry that they do not exist at any other watch factory in the
world.

What about the fabled robots? Well, they do exist. The
entire inventory of parts in several of Rolex’s facilities is overseen
in rooms five stories tall and the size of football fields, presided
over by massive robotic superstructures with super-fast drones gliding
at warp speed on surrealistically silent rails. Cases are similarly
polished by robots. The result? Super-human production efficiency and
perfection.

Ultimately, what your mind struggles with is that
Rolex is unlike any other watch manufacture. It is designed and built
from the ground up to optimize quality as well as mass
industrialization. It is totally integrated, and with the exception of
making its own steel (they buy it from Austria and use surgical grade
904L, which surpasses the 316L used by everyone else, for corrosion
resistance), it can do virtually everything involved in making its
watches in its four sites: Bienne (where movements are built),
Plans-les-Ouates (where cases and bracelets are made), ChĂȘne-Bourg
(where dials and gem-setting elements are fabricated), or at the Rolex
HQ (where watches are assembled and hairsprings made). All precious
metals are forged from raw elements, which allowed Rolex to create
Everose, the only rose gold in the world with color that remains
consistent even after exposure to chlorinated water.

By fusing
technology with traditional artisan values, Rolex is capable of
creating close to one million watches a year (based on the number of
COSC certificates it has applied for per annum), all of which exhibit
perfect performance. The Rolex factory is more reminiscent of high-end
car factories, like the Volkswagen Phaeton plant in Dresden, than
anything related to watches. Its critical differences from other watch
manufactures, as detailed in the following articles, make Rolex
literally a world apart from all other pretenders to its famous crown.

UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF THE HEART
THE PARACHROM HAIRSPRING

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 7

In
his novel The Pugilist at Rest, the author Thom Jones describes an
American solider in the Vietnam War, reeling from the concussive
fallout of mortar fire. He looks at his wrist and sees that the
onslaught has been so brutal that orange dust has managed to penetrate
under the acrylic of his Rolex watch. But amazingly, the watch
continues to function. This fictional image is belied by an irrefutable
truth. A Rolex is the only mechanical watch that will provide unfailing
accuracy 100 percent of the time in the most hostile environments and
the most brutal situations. It is one of the few luxury objects on
earth that derive their value not just from quality and branding, but
also from an intimidating level of reliability.

THE REGULATOR — THE KEY TO ACCURACY

The
single most important component that distinguishes an accurate
mechanical watch from one that isn’t, is the beating heart of the watch
called the balance. Like in a human being, a watch’s heart regulates
its life. The balance, in simple terms, is a wheel fixed with a spring.
It receives pulses of energy that travel from the watch’s energy
source, called the mainspring. Every time it receives a pulse of
energy, it swings in one direction until spring tension forces it to
swing back in the opposite direction. The action of this spring tensing
and releasing is called “breathing”. This action regulates the locking
and unlocking of power delivery which, if you can imagine, is like
someone locking and unlocking a tap at precise intervals. The more
regular the intervals, the more accurately time is kept. What makes for
the greatest consistency in timekeeping? Absolute uniformity in the
oscillation of the balance. And what accounts for this uniformity is
the quality of the watch’s hairspring, and its ability to breathe
regularly and concentrically.

The hairspring is a miracle of
micro-engineering. It is a piece of metal rolled finer than a human
hair and coiled into the shape of a spiral spring, then expected to
expand and contract with near perfect regularity and in perpetuity. To
give you some perspective on how demanding this task is, measuring time
with a precision within one second a day — which Rolexes do — is like
measuring a kilometer with a discrepancy of less than a centimeter. Add
to this that the watch is worn on the wrist, where it is subjected to
impact, shocks and a myriad motions, and you can see how these could
generate massive disturbances to the delicate regulating organ pulsing
eight times per second. So, how is it that the Rolex Oyster can be worn
while jogging, playing tennis or golf, scuba-diving, or even mountain
biking, without diminishing its timekeeping accuracy? The secret is in
the quality of the two components comprising its living heart: its
balance wheel and its special Parachrom hairspring. Watch companies
don’t tell you that creating a hairspring is an imperfect science. Tiny
geometric and material variations, and the process of coiling result in
every hairspring varying slightly in the rate at which it contracts and
expands. To resolve this, watchmakers use balance wheels with small
opposable weights that can be adjusted to make oscillations go faster
or slower by altering the inertia of the balance wheel. Sometimes,
inertia needs to be altered so radically that material is removed from
the balance wheel by drilling holes into it. But due to the precision
of Rolex’s hairsprings and balances, the only regulation needed to
fine-tune its watches to an accuracy of one-eighth of a second is the
turning of the well-designed Microstella nuts on the inner rim of its
balance wheel. This balance wheel design is another example of Rolex’s
dedication to optimizing accuracy. By placing the nuts inboard instead
of on the outer rim where they are easier to adjust, Rolex massively
reduces aerodynamic turbulence caused by weights as they tear through
the air at the rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

It is in the
alchemic realm of the hairspring that Rolex has achieved an industry
leading level of technical innovation. In recent years, we’ve seen the
emergence of watches with hairsprings made from silicon and even
diamond. But these watches are mostly concept pieces, and their total
number is no greater than a few hundred. The rest of the watches
produced in the world rely on a type of ferromagnetic alloy made from a
mixture of iron, nickel and chromium discovered in the 1930s by
scientist and Nobel Prize winner Charles-Edouard Guillaume.

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 8

Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

GUILLAUME
— THE ROOTS OF ACCURACY Due to temperature changes, the elasticity of
the hairspring actually varies depending on the ambient temperature. If
temperature increases, a carbon steel hairspring (the type used prior
to Guillaume) will lose its elasticity, resulting in a tendency for the
watch to start to lose on its rate. A decrease in temperature will have
the opposite effect. Cut, bimetallic compensation balances partially
canceled out temperature error, but imperfectly; and in addition,
carbon steel hairsprings are extremely prone to becoming magnetized.
Guillaume’s invention of a form of nickel steel, known as Invar,
resulted in the ability to create so called “self compensating”
hairsprings, in which temperature error is almost completely
eliminated, and the descendants of such hairsprings are still in use
today.

A NEW ERA OF ACCURACY INTRODUCED BY ROLEX All that
changed in the 1990s when Rolex discovered and patented a new alloy
they named Parachrom that they would use to create hairsprings capable
of unprecedented levels of performance. But what makes Parachrom
superior to Invar hairsprings? For one, Invar hairsprings are easily
susceptible to magnetic influence. Place your watch too close to a
stereo speaker and it can easily become magnetized. The coils of the
spring attract each other and no longer breathe regularly or
concentrically, resulting in major loss of accuracy. Watches becoming
magnetized are, to this day, one of the most prevalent service
problems. While many manufactures make anti-magnetic watches with
soft-iron inner cases, it is only Rolex that has decided to “treat the
disease” and not simply alleviate the symptoms of magnetic influence on
the hairspring.

The second marked superiority of Parachrom to
Invar is its greater suppleness, resulting in hairsprings that are ten
times more shock-resistant. The real-world application to a watch
equipped with Rolex’s Parachrom hairspring is that you can go through
life confident that your watch will not be affected by the vast
majority of magnetic fields; that you can wear your Rolex for the most
rugged sport without fear that shocks will cause loss of accuracy or,
even worse, permanent damage.

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 9

Daytona caliber 4130 chronograph movement



WHAT
IS PARACHROM? What exactly is Parachrom and how is it made? Its base
material consists of 85 percent niobium and 15 percent zirconium. These
materials are also used to create heat shields in nuclear power plants,
so their melting point is supremely high. To merge the two materials,
Rolex utilizes electron bombardment inside a high vacuum condition,
which creates an environment of 2,300 degrees Celsius. It is remarkable
to witness these two materials becoming one. They are fed vertically
through an arc-melting ring, and while they appear as solid metal below
the melting point, they transform into a ring of fire at the point at
which they combine. To ensure that the two materials are perfectly
combined, this fusion takes place three times, with the bar of
Parachrom rotated at each pass. The end result is a bar of Parachrom 30
centimeters long that can be used to create 10,000 hairsprings.

The
processes after this reduce the thinness of the metal to the diameter
of a strand of human hair. During these operations, the 30-cm bar of
Parachrom comes to occupy a length of two kilometers. It is rolled,
heat-treated to temper it, and then wire drawn. In the first pass
through a wire die, it is pulled with a force of 100 kilograms. After
this, an additional element, oxygen, is introduced to the alloy. By
passing the wire through a furnace, the Parachrom is encouraged to
absorb oxygen through its surface. Oxygen changes the thermal
coefficient of the material, allowing it to react in the desired manner
when the balance wheel’s inertia changes.

Finally, the wire goes
through its last drawing when it is reduced to 100 microns in diameter,
resulting in a length of three kilometers. The wire is then flattened
using high-pressure rolling, reducing it to 50 microns in thickness and
150 microns in height. It is cut into sections 20 cm in length, which
are placed inside a mold to provide the coiled shape of the hairspring,
and then handrolled in the traditional technique. Remarkably, for all
the work done by the massive and intimidating drawing and rolling
machines, the operation to create the hairspring’s form is conducted by
the human hand. Once the springs are separated, they are given a final
heat treatment to relieve stress and ensure that they stay permanently
in shape. The blue color of the springs is not due to flame bluing, but
added during an electro-chemical process, which stabilizes the
properties of the hairspring by adding a layer of oxide — essentially
oxygen ions bonded to the exterior of the spring. After which, the
hairsprings are given their signature Breguet overcoil, where the
exterior of the spring is bent across the top of the entire spiral to
aid concentric breathing, before being fixed to the collet and stud.

The
strictest levels of precision are observed throughout the entire
manufacturing of the hairspring — an embodiment of Rolex’s philosophy
of ensuring that quality is optimized right from the very start of
production. Says Rolex’s technical director Jacques Baur, “During
hairspring manufacturing, precision is of incredible importance. A
variation between 44.9 and 45.1 microns represents a difference of four
minutes in error per day. At Rolex, our philosophy is always to focus
on quality right from the beginning.”

ROLEX GMT-MASTER II: FIELD TEST

I
like to think of these scenarios in my head. What if I got approached
by a group of scientists to re-enact the social experiment experienced
by Robinson Crusoe? But the catch is, instead of being stuck on some
godforsaken rock with the unappealing troglodyte that was Crusoe’s
trusty manservant Friday, here, my Fridays would be four highly
eroticized, long-toed Ukrainian fashion models suffering from clinical
nymphomania, and who, through a long process of electrolysis, have had
every hair follicle below their collar bones permanently removed. Even
better, as a big believer in hygiene, at our disposal would be
freshwater showers, L’Occitane en Provence toiletries, endless baskets
of Santa Maria de Novella soaps, a bidet that shoots high-pressure jets
of Chanel No. 5, a pedicurist and a whole lot of toothpaste.

Now,
say I could only bring one watch with me to this island. And I would
need it to coordinate my lady friends to pick up food drops and rotate
my beach chair at certain hours to optimize my suntan. I would also
need it to allocate appropriate lovemaking time to each of them so they
wouldn’t descend into jealous rages, which we all know could lead to
unwanted weight gain. Time here is the lord that dominates all order in
our delicate social structure, so I need a watch that I know will
function flawlessly in the most challenging conditions. I also need a
mechanical watch because of its ability to function in perpetuity.
Immediately, the Rolex GMT-Master II with its sexy ceramic bezel comes
to mind. But would it survive the punishing series of tests I would
submit it too? With no other option, I purchased one and torture-tested
it to see…

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Gmtz
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 7:46 pm

i didnt read the article since i've been livin' it since 83 but i wonder if invicta's place is that big, shiny and nice? Doesnt invicta build more watches a year than rolex, must be hard to miss a building that big!!! think we might be looking in the wrong country! Now to the article, thanks Doc!
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 7:54 pm

Well, you know Trev, you need a lot of space for an advertising department that large. WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_wink
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 8:00 pm

Beautiful, as i type tears of joy are streaming down my face and gently settling on my keyboard! Thank you Doc, i'm leaving work in 5 minutes and will have a smile on my face all the way home! Poetry at it's finest! A ballet of human hands and robotics only rolex WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_king could orchestrate! Bravo Doc, Bravo! WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 46145
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 8:01 pm

Yes, indeed... I think I'll head out to buy one. I like the ones shown in the article (not big on yellow gold, though).
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 9:08 pm

Get along with yourself - ya blarney ya!
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Anomaly
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Anomaly

Posts : 7125
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 55
Location : Tampa, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 9:19 pm

I TOTALLY respect Rolex, I just wish they made a 44mm watch that wasn't $9k... WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_sad

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WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! ANOMALYSIG2A-1
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 9:21 pm

Yowza ! WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_eek WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_biggrin Wouldn't be surprised if Rolex watches were
actually reverse engineered from alien technology deep within
those buildings ! WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Alien ..Some super interesting stuff right there !
Thanks alot !!!!

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WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! NewSigcopy
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 10:18 pm

Anomaly wrote:
I TOTALLY respect Rolex, I just wish they made a 44mm watch that wasn't $9k... WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_sad

WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! HATERADE
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 01, 2010 10:53 pm

Docrwm wrote:
Get along with yourself - ya blarney ya!

I did very much like the GMT-Master II that I played with this past weekend. WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_king
Love the photos of the place. One looks kind of like Trevor's neighborhood.
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2010 10:06 am

A rolex is over priced until you own one.While the article is written by a total Rolex fanatic,Some good points are made that
the rolex haters and the crowd that says all of these companies have parts made in china right next to our own watches,wink,wink.
Rolex doesn't buy its steel from china.Rolex produces everything inhouse in a number of facilities.
Rolex is the only brand that I've bought and never sold,even when joining these forums.A rolex was the 1st nice watch that I bought.
While the advertising machine has us believe that they are the best,theres no denying how good they are or how
they make you feel when wearing one.You don't need a 50mm watch to have presense on the wrist.A datejust does it just fine.
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2010 10:21 am

Amen brother, you're talking to the choir! king
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2010 10:36 am

You guys go easy on Alan, he doesn't get it........yet. WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! 450851
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeMon Aug 09, 2010 8:58 pm

Guest wrote:
A rolex is over priced until you own one.While the article is written by a total Rolex fanatic,Some good points are made that
the rolex haters and the crowd that says all of these companies have parts made in china right next to our own watches,wink,wink.
Rolex doesn't buy its steel from china.Rolex produces everything inhouse in a number of facilities.
Rolex is the only brand that I've bought and never sold,even when joining these forums.A rolex was the 1st nice watch that I bought.
While the advertising machine has us believe that they are the best,theres no denying how good they are or how
they make you feel when wearing one.You don't need a 50mm watch to have presense on the wrist.A datejust does it just fine.

I did read the article in WatchTime. It is fascinating to read how guarded Rolex is. You probably have an easier time getting into the CIA than Rolex lol.
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING WILL ROBINSON!! ROLEX CONTENT!   WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!  ROLEX CONTENT! Icon_minitimeThu Mar 31, 2011 12:49 am

I now own two Rolex watches and I can say without reservation that I've not had one moment's "buyer's remorse" in the nearly 2.5 years since I bought the first one.

I can only say that until you've lived with one for awhile, you cannot truly appreciate a Rolex for all that it is.

Regardless of what some claim, Rolex is far more than a magnificent marketing business, which it is. It is also a powerhouse of a watch company that has advanced the science of horology as much as anyone over the last 100 years. Certainly, Rolex led the way in watchmaking for most of those hundred years and very well may be still at the forefront, although the competition is greater today than it has ever been.



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