Rolex is introducing the new generation of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31, with redesigned case sides and lugs. In 18 ct white, yellow or Everose gold, the new versions are equipped with calibre 2236, at the forefront of watchmaking technology.
Like all Rolex watches, the new-generation Datejust 31 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
Rolex’s Datejust is the archetype of the classic watch thanks to functions and aesthetics that never go out of fashion. Launched in 1945, it was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the date in a window at 3 o’clock on the dial, and consolidated all the major innovations that Rolex had contributed to the modern wristwatch until then. Aesthetically, the Datejust has spanned eras while retaining the enduring codes that today still make it one of the most recognizable of watches.
Amongst the many combinations available, one, in 18 ct white gold, is fitted with a white mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond-set bezel. Another, in 18 ct yellow gold, features a malachite dial with a Roman VI and IX in 18 ct yellow gold set with diamonds, and a version in 18 ct Everose gold is introduced with a diamond-paved dial inlaid with pink mother-of-pearl butterflies.
To adorn its timepieces with the most striking gemstones, the brand has its own in-house gemmologists and gem-setters. Gemmologists are responsible for examining and selecting the gemstones received, retaining only those that meet Rolex’s extremely stringent quality criteria. The stones then pass into the hands of the gem-setters, who are tasked with placing and fixing each stone to best reveal its beauty, colour and sparkle.
Rolex has offered gem-set watches throughout its history. In embellishing its watches with precious stones, the brand endows them with an alternative aesthetic, whilst conserving their identity and all their technical features, such as reliability, robustness, and resistance to magnetic fields and to shocks.
Rolex uses only the highest quality natural stones. Upon their arrival at the ateliers, all gemstones – both diamonds and coloured stones – undergo rigorous verification procedures.
To guarantee the quality of the stones, gemmologists have a range of analysis tools at their disposal, in addition to their own expertise. These tools, some of which are specially developed for Rolex, can provide information on the stones’ chemical composition. Diamonds, for example, are systematically tested via
X-ray imaging to confirm their authenticity.
The way in which the gemstones are cut – the symmetry and shape of the facets – determines the way in which light penetrates the stones and is reflected off the pavilion, or lower part of the diamond. The cut therefore directly influences a stone’s brilliance. In the case of diamonds, a well-cut stone accentuates the intensity and number of reflections, even creating rainbow hues.
The facets of each of the stones – the result of the diamond cutter’s painstaking work – are analysed in the gemmology laboratory. Clarity relates to the absence of inclusions in a stone. Rolex selects only the most translucent natural gemstones. For diamonds, IF (Internally Flawless) stones alone are accepted – those in the highest category of the grading scales generally used in gemmology.
The gem-setter patiently sets the stones individually to achieve a perfect harmony of colours and reflections, and find the optimal position. Rolex tolerances are to within no more than two hundredths of a millimetre, which is around a quarter of the diameter of a human hair. The surrounding metal is then gently pushed into place around the stones to fix them securely.
The skill of the gem-setter is showcased in their ability to choose the appropriate tool, to find the right angle, and to apply the correct amount of force – a step repeated up to almost 3,000 times on certain diamond-paved dials. A final polish makes the tiny metal settings shine, intensifying the watch’s splendour.
The Oyster case of the Datejust 31, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and elegance. Its refined middle case is crafted from a solid block of 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement.
The winding crown, fitted with the Twinlock double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Datejust 31’s high-precision movement.
The new Datejust 31 watches are fitted on a President bracelet, which benefits from a concealed attachment system, ensuring seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case. The bracelet also includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility and longevity, and has a concealed folding Crownclasp.