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The brand featuring a crown in its logo is an icon of the Swiss watchmaking industry. If it wanted to, Rolex could celebrate a centennial in 2008 - but that's not to say the famed marque will; looking back is ...
The brand featuring a crown in its logo is an icon of the Swiss watchmaking industry. If it wanted to, Rolex could celebrate a centennial in 2008 - but that's not to say the famed marque will; looking back is not the mode of this company. Visitors to Baselworld 2007 were as surprised as they were delighted, for in the glass window of the brand's booth there were two interesting new interpretations of the legendary Milgauss to explore, a model that celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2007. The name itself awakens memories of the Oyster protected from magnetic fields in the 1960s, which - thanks to their rarity - today easily bring in many times their original retail price. Such a career is something the company also hopes its new Milgauss will achieve, a watch named for the word mil, or thousand in French, and the unit one measures magnetic fields by. Like the original, this timepiece is not particularly expensive, but rare - a very special Oyster with an extra core in the case made of 'soft' iron and a dial crafted in the same material, protecting the movement from irritating magnetic fields from the outside. Showing that Rolex is ready to go down new paths in search of new clientele, the company introduced its Yacht-Master II at Baselworld as well. This may not be the first mechanical wristwatch with a programmable countdown function, but Rolex would not have dreamed of including such a display in one of its watches just a few years ago: complicated watches (except plain chronographs) just didn't exist.
The Yacht-Master II is outfitted with new Caliber 4160. The mere existence of its 360 components gives watch connoisseurs a taste of the complexity of this mechanism. Like Daytona chronograph Caliber 4130, this one is also outfitted with a column wheel and a vertical clutch. The heart of the movement beats at 28,800 vph and is outfitted with a blue Parachrom Breguet balance spring in order to be more than ten times as impervious to shocks and less sensitive to magnetic fields. Naturally, the movement has been tested by the independent Swiss authority C.O.S.C. (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres) for rate precision. The backward countdown function can be programmed in one-minute increments (to a maximum of ten minutes) and is activated by utilizing the two buttons and the bidirectionally rotating Ring Command bezel.
It can well be expected that Rolex's centennial won't become a nostalgic look to the brand's grand achievements (water-resistant screw-in crown and rotor winding, to name just two of the most important), but will more or less represent a starting block for the next hundred years.