Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rolex Datejust Review

We are indeed moving up the food chain. Horologycrazy is reviewing a Rolex. A proper (if you can call it that) review, not just a pictorial review. :)


Today we are looking at the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36mm, reference 116200. This is a basic Rolex offering time with the date complication. The watch is not new, but pre-loved circa 2008. Oh, this is not my watch but courtesy of MWF shop.


Case.

As with all watches in the Rolex range, the case is made from 904L stainless steel. The case is well made and is of the 3-piece design, i.e. bezel, mono-block middle case and a screw-down case back. The watch is 36 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm thick (at extreme and 11.5 mm without the Cyclops). The lug to lug is 44mm long and the lug width is 20 mm.


The case has the traditional Rolex Datejust trademark polished sides and top. The bezel is dome and polished bezel. There is no lug holes on the lugs. I like the design of the new case, with its thicker or fatter lugs. It makes the watch seem larger then it is. The watch does not look 36mm but larger. I believe this version is called the wide version.


The screw-down case back is standard Rolex, unmarked with a brushed center disc. Serrated edge provides the grip to unscrew the case back.

The crown measures 5.5 mm in diameter and is 2.5 mm thick. It is a nice size and using it is a breeze. Nice size crown for the watch. The crown is of the Twin-lock double waterproof system design (line under the crown), which means the watch is water resistant to 10ATM.


I understand the model number and serial numbers are still engraved between the lugs, since it (serial number) is now engraved on the chapter ring (rehaut?).


The entire case and attachments are well made, to typical Rolex standards. Well polished, smooth to the touch and no rough edges. No tool mark evident anywhere. :)


Dial.

The watch has a simple glossy black dial (there are many many dial option for the Datejust). It has Roman hours markers which are polished. I believe Rolex calls it Black Roman dial. The minute markers are of the railroad design and I think it matches the Roman numerals well. It is a simple dial making time telling easy. I like it. Sadly the dial is totally void of any luminous material making telling time in the dark almost impossible.


At the 12 o’clock position we find the Rolex crown and signature. Under it we find the legend ‘Oyster Perpetual’ for water resistant case design and automatic and 'Datejust', the watch model. Beside the 6 o’clock hour marker we find the legend ‘Swiss Made’ which tells us the watch is Swiss made. Just above the 6 o’clock hour marker, we find the legend ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified', telling us the watch meets COSC requirements for accuracy.


The date is displayed via a window at the 3 o’clock position. The date wheel is black on silver/ white, and it is very easy to read.


The Datejust comes with the engraved chapter ring/ rehaut. Here you will the Rolex name repeatedly engraved around the rehaut, except at the 6 o'clock position where you will find the watch serial number. The engraving is very well executed.


Hands.

The watch has the stick type hands. The hands are well made and I believe it is made of white gold. The sweep seconds hand extends all the way to the minute markers (just). Sadly the minute hand does not as it is a tad shorter. As with the dial, the hands are devoid of any luminous material.


Crystal.

The watch is fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and has the Cyclops over the date window (providing 2.5 times magnification). The Cyclops is 1 mm thick. The crystal itself is 30 mm in diameter. The crystal does extend beyond the bezel by about 1 mm and is prone to edge chipping.


Movement.

The watch is powered by Rolex caliber 3135. It is an automatic movement with a date complication. The 3135 has been in service since 1989 (some say 1988) and is the workhorse caliber from Rolex. It is not a pretty movement but what it lacks in beauty, it makes up in reliability and robustness. Indeed function over form. What is there to say about the 3135? It is COSC rated, it has Microstella adjustment screw and Kif shock absorption. It beats at 28,800 BPH, hacking, hand-wind capable, quick-set date, bidirectional self-winding Perpetual rotor.... did I miss anything?

I am not sure if the 3135 fitted in this watch has the new Parachrom Bleu hairspring, but I suspect (from the serial number) it could have it. That would indeed by awesome.

Oh, the date jump is instantaneous at midnight.

Bracelet.

The bracelet is of the Oyster design or aka Oyster Bracelet. The bracelet is made of the same material as the case, 904L stainless steel. The bracelet (cross section) is made up of 3 pieces, with the center piece polished. The side links are brushed. The sides of the links are polished. The links are solid. A very well made bracelet indeed.


The end links are SEL (solid end links) and have the same brushed and polished finish and is well made. It sits well between the lugs and has a ‘open’ design, i.e. gaps to facilitate the spring bars removal.




The clasp, the folding Oysterclasp with Easylink is made of (I believe) steel inox. It is well made. There is no twin lock on the clasp and it does not need it. The clasp is signed with the Rolex Crown and has a brushed finish with the center portion polished like the bracelet. The clasp is easy to use and easy to open, yet you feel safe that it will not inadvertently unlock.


The clasp comes with the Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. This is a Rolex patented extension system that lets you increase the bracelet length by about 5 mm. This is to retain maximum comfort when your wrist expand during an increase in temperature, altitude or physical activity. The Easylink is hidden beneath the clasp and integral into the bracelet. I tied it and it is cool.



Standard length adjustment is via adjustment holes on the folding clasp. There are 3 adjustment holes and allows the bracelet to be adjusted by 10 mm in length. The unique aspect about this adjustment is that the holes do not go thru the sides of the clasp. The adjustment holes are just like indentations inside the clasp. Adjusting it not as easy. 



If there is a need to adjust the bracelet longer or shorter, there is a need to physically alter the length of the bracelet by removing or adding links. And this can easily be done with the provided 3 links with screwed attachments.



The folded part of the clasp/ bracelet is polished and milled, no longer the stamped parts of old. It has the Rolex signature and Geneva Swiss Made on one half while the other is marked Steel Inox and RolexSA. It is thin but does the job and does it well.



Conclusion.

It is a very simple and stylish watch, iconic Rolex. It is very comfortable watch, not heavy but with enough heft. It has a simple black dial, Roman numerals (which I love) and those lovely polished hour and minutes hands making time telling simple. Legibility is never a problem, except in total darkness, but in this day of age, where can we be where there is not a sliver of light to reflect on those beautiful hands and markers. The modern bracelet and clasp is just the topping on an already awesome watch. The Datejust is timeless in design, a true classic.


4 comments:

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  3. Good review Ivan. However, I like that Rolex has kept the raised crystal it gives the watch a real classic appearance and it wont chip that easily. Also I feel the hands are perfect! Personally I like the iconic (monochromatic)silver stick dial and the blue stick is tempting! (BTW This model does have the panochrome hair spring).

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