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Righting the Rolex crown

Drawing from Rolex Patent US 20130114383 A1

It’s a question that has bothered Rolex owners for fifty years “Why doesn’t the coronet logo on the crown line up perpendicularly with the case?” Those of you who own watches with screw-down Twinlock crowns may have noticed that it’s basically pot luck whether the logo sits in its correct alignment. Maddening to some, unnoticed by many, it’s the kind of thing that Rolex owners debate from time to time on the strange recesses of the internet that we call watch forums.

However, it appears that the good people at Rolex may actually have been reading and taking notice of these comments, stalking their customers in a near-NSA-like case of snooping / client focus.

I was reading a Horologium post about the use of Rolex’s Syloxi(TM)** hairspring in the Datejust Pearlmaster 34 (and 29mm version). This new one-piece silicon hairspring/collet replaced Rolex’s already impressive in-house component (Parachrom / Parachrom Blu is used across the remainder of the Rolex range) in what may be a rare example of Rolex conducting beta-testing before a global roll out. However, as the Geneva-based manufacture is notoriously secretive, it’s difficult to know for sure. During a discussion with the author, I mentioned a couple of Rolex patents that relate to the Syloxi hairspring (in particular the material used, the geometry of the spring and the collet attachment) and that in researching the subject, I’d also noticed something else.

In a patent published last year, Rolex quietly described a crown that takes the waterproof brilliance of the Twinlock system and adds a new twist: “the invention concerns a watch case including a crown having a front face provided with a distinctive sign, this crown having the particular feature of always reverting to its initial orientation after unscrewing and then screwing.” The patent, while not new, has (to my knowledge) not been widely discussed (although I’m sure that this won’t be news to readers of Rolex Forums).

After some digging around, and quite a few visits to Rolex ADs (many thanks again to Horologium for assistance), I can confirm that a new crown (which doesn’t appear to have been renamed – the Triplock  name having already been nabbed) has been built into the 2014 Sky-Dweller models.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the “chocolate” dialled version of the Sky-Dweller in Everose just happens to be atop my “want” list. The new Watches of Switzerland flagship store on Regent Street is *probably* the  best place in London to see a Rolex, preferable even to the other new Rolex store in London – the Watch Gallery at One Hyde Park.

I’d forgotten how wonderfully simple, yet utterly beguiling, the Everose Sky-Dweller is: it’s easy to operate, a near perfect size and looks incredibly smart. However, It’s almost ten thousand pounds more than I remembered – a shade under £27,000. The Sky-Dweller is probably the most deceptively complex watch to have been released by Rolex in recent years; it contains a cleverly integrated annual calendar and a second timezone indicator, all operated by the single crown via the clutch-like bezel. Within the crown / case assembly, there is a new part into which a set of indexing teeth have been cut. These teeth align with a similar index on the main parts within the case, ensuring longitudinal control over the orientation of the logo (see drawing above).

It really is rather clever. I’m not sure that many of you will be particularly excited by an upright logo, but it’s always good to see innovation in watches, even if it’s largely esoteric in nature.

In all the excitement of a new launch, it’s sometimes the things that go unsaid that are the most interesting.

the #watchnerd

**Syloxi (previously SYLOXY) joins fellow Rolex trademarks SUNDUST, CHRONERGY and BLACK THUNDER (all TM).

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