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View Full Version : The Parachrome...What It Is, And What It Isn't...


Tools
31 July 2008, 01:30 AM
It seems that the Parachrome Bleu hairspring has generated enough ink and paper to clear a forest and render a herd of Octopi extinct.

But, is it really deserved.......:thinking:

Personally I think it is over-hyped. Probably to show that Rolex isn't really the tortoise folks think it is and to generate some enthusiasm.. Also, to counter some of Omega's over hyped Co-ax modified ETA ink.

Here is what I see:

The 3186 has a new designation, not because of the Parachrom, but because parts were modified internally; so certain parts cannot be interchanged with the earlier 3185

The DSSD press kit information states that the DeepSea is equipped with the usual 3135, Parachrome equipped movement, and not a different number.

The new Day-Date II has a a movement fitted with the new Rolex in-house Paraflex shock system, the Parachrom, and perhaps other enhancements to fit into the latest 41mm case. More has been done than just a hairspring

This tells me that just the change to the Parachrom is not enough of a change, even by Rolex standards, to get a different movement number..

It also might mean that the 3135 assembly line is ratcheting up to incorporate the Parachrom....It seems like it might be a direct replacement for the Nivarox spring that Rolex knows will be tightening their distribution network. I just can't imagine Rolex operating one 3135 assembly line for the Paracharm hairspring and a separate one for the Nivarox hairspring.

The Parachrom is an advancement because Rolex was able to use their own methods and different materials to obtain their own patent....But, it is still just a hairspring - it just doesn't do anything differently.

What do you think..??


:cheers:

Wolfgang427
31 July 2008, 01:35 AM
I agree, especially with "over-hyped" part. :agree:

mfer
31 July 2008, 02:38 AM
Dude, it's blue. It has to be better!

:dummy:
:lol:

marshallr47
31 July 2008, 02:40 AM
I'm with you Larry. The Parachrom spring is an improvement, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't deserve the "hype" that it's getting.

marshallr47
31 July 2008, 02:41 AM
Dude, it's blue. It has to be better!

:dummy:
:lol:

:lol::chuckle::rofl:

JJ Irani
31 July 2008, 02:54 AM
Not sure what it isn't....but it sure as hell looks beautiful!! :thumbsup::chuckle::chuckle:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y203/JJIrani/6_Hairspring.jpg

casadecamporolex
31 July 2008, 03:05 AM
Tools, I couldn't agree with you more.
You have an ability to make logic and sense on this issue that is uncanny.

It is for this, and other reasons, that I find this site so damn appealing.
No where else in my universe can I find these topics discussed and I thank you and everyone else for their participation.

Hey JJ....love that picture!!!!

Jimbits76
31 July 2008, 03:43 AM
parachrome hairsping??????????

WTH are you lot talking about????????

J

Mr Sandman
31 July 2008, 05:37 AM
Anybody know if it would be in a M series SD ?

Tools
31 July 2008, 06:58 AM
Anybody know if it would be in a M series SD ?

I'll bet that Rolex will simply start putting this hairspring in their movements the same way they started putting the 3186 in the EXP II.

Since there is no real way of telling unless you physically see it, it's going to be a while before the word is out...

frostie
31 July 2008, 07:01 AM
It is overhyped just like every move that rolex is making

When you are the king of the market you can do whatever you want and every single move you make is a hype since everybodys attention is on you

:cheers:

frostie
31 July 2008, 07:03 AM
Anybody know if it would be in a M series SD ?

Nope the SD's did not receive this update

Porsche
31 July 2008, 08:11 AM
I could be wrong, but wasn't it also meant to be less affected by magnetic fields? Not something you need to scream from the rooftop, methinks they're just clawing at any adantage they can find...?

buz-lh
31 July 2008, 08:44 AM
Larry, you may have just undone the wiggle testers. Of course it's better, Rolex did it, right?:read::chuckle:

Lol-x
31 July 2008, 08:47 AM
The parachrom hairspring is no small miracle of micro-engineering. It cost who knows how many millions of dollars to develop and perfect.

The parachrom hairspring provides evidence why Rolex is not just a luxury object that derives it's value from marketing and branding, but indeed also from an intimidating level of reliability and technical excellence.

The parachrom yields among it's attributes:
(a) greater resistance to temperature change and therefore more accuracy;
(b) less reaction to magnetic influences, so again more accuracy and reliability;
(c) greater suppleness so it is 10 times more shock resistant than Invar (the material otherwise used to manufacture hairsprings)



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.”

Also the entire article on Rolex can be seen at:
http://www.horomundi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3577


So having regard to all this I don't think it is a beat up, but don't go by what I say, I'm probably wrong as usual :banghead: :cheers:

Lol-x
31 July 2008, 09:43 AM
On reflection, I do get just as good performance from many other Rolex watches that don't have the Parachrom hairspring, so does that mean it isn't worth paying any extra, or worthy of anything other than saying 'yeah cool' next!

mickeydainish
31 July 2008, 10:31 AM
very interesting read.... Thanx guys. :-)

Jocke
31 July 2008, 10:42 AM
I saw a video from a microscope where they show the difference of the parachrome
spring and a regular Rolex spring in a "earthquake" situation. I can tell you there is
a serious difference even if you never will shake your watch like that.

So itīs not just a hype IMHO.

Jocke

Jedi
31 July 2008, 10:57 AM
The parachrome by Rolex and Spiromax by Patek were developed under a secret joint venture between the two aforementioned companies and a materials science specialist whose name escapes me. Both companies were seeking new technologies in escapement and balance design.

The result among others were the parachrome and PP's silicon based material. Each company decided which one's they wanted and went their separate ways. Philippe Stern, President of PP, revealed this in an interview.

ROLEX MAN
31 July 2008, 11:08 AM
Thank-you for the interesting info, I think it is overrated, its like porsche adding 20kw to it's performace, looks good on paper, but do you really need it??

Jedi
31 July 2008, 11:10 AM
Anything that helps a mechanical watch to resist shock = better precision & rate performance, plus anti-magnetic properties are also a plus in this phone and gadget reliant world we live in.

Trurolexer
31 July 2008, 11:17 AM
Not sure what it isn't....but it sure as hell looks beautiful!! :thumbsup::chuckle::chuckle:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y203/JJIrani/6_Hairspring.jpg
MAN!!! Look so BEAUTIFUL!!!
But agree about over-hyped thing...

tudorman8276
31 July 2008, 11:18 AM
....NOT rust!!!! Looks like blued steel like that of a gun, which in FACT will rust!!

Stan.:dummy:

ral
31 July 2008, 11:56 AM
Mechanical watches have been around for more than 200 years... so I do not think we can expect leaps and bounds in its design. Improve resistance to shock and magnetism is important... but I would not chuck and older Rolex to get its newer blue spring brother. Rolex's reputation for accuracy, reliability and durability existed long before the PB hairspring. But it is nice to see that small improvements are still being made over time.

Tools
31 July 2008, 11:59 AM
Mechanical watches have been around for more than 200 years... so I do not think we can expect leaps and bounds in its design. Improve resistance to shock and magnetism is important... but I would not chuck and older Rolex to get its newer blue spring brother. Rolex's reputation for accuracy, reliability and durability existed long before the PB hairspring. But it is nice to see that small improvements are still being made over time.

Exactly my point........:thumbsup:

explodingtaco
31 July 2008, 12:08 PM
Make a new movement with a "new and improved" spring that can fit into a slim Patek and last 10 days and then you will have bragging rights with no one questioning if your new design is over hyped. :chuckle:

DSJ
31 July 2008, 12:22 PM
All I can say is that if I was looking at buying an Explorer II or 16710 GMT Master, had a choice between the two movements, and the one with the 3185 was significantly less money, I would save my money.

Leighton
31 July 2008, 01:29 PM
I saw a video from a microscope where they show the difference of the parachrome
spring and a regular Rolex spring in a "earthquake" situation. I can tell you there is
a serious difference even if you never will shake your watch like that.

Jocke

In the earthquake yesterday, I did not notice any change in the accuracy of my GMT II-c. If anything it gained .0008 seconds after the quake. :chuckle:

Z-Sub
31 July 2008, 01:31 PM
Material wise, it's more advanced technology
Functionally speaking, it's hardly any different.:smokin:

Tools
1 August 2008, 01:48 AM
In the earthquake yesterday, I did not notice any change in the accuracy of my GMT II-c. If anything it gained .0008 seconds after the quake. :chuckle:


After the earthquake, I ran in to check the Rolex box and determine accuracy deviation....All 11 of them had stopped completely....:thinking:

Should I send them to the RSC...

Numismatist
1 August 2008, 01:55 AM
Every time I see a photo like that, it just reminds me of how interesting mechanical watches are. Too bad that's lost on a lot of Timex buying people.

They are quite the cool devices - I wish I could disassemble and reassemble mine just for fun!

MAC4130
1 August 2008, 02:09 AM
I am with you Steve!, there seems to be a significant level of research and investment on the parachrom bleu hairspring that should reflect:

1) Better acuracy on the long run as it will be less affected by common issue like shock, magnetic fields and temperature changes.

2) No dependence from Nivarox better vertical integration as a manufacture.

padi56
1 August 2008, 02:56 AM
It seems that the Parachrome Bleu hairspring has generated enough ink and paper to clear a forest and render a herd of Octopi extinct.

But, is it really deserved.......:thinking:

Personally I think it is over-hyped. Probably to show that Rolex isn't really the tortoise folks think it is and to generate some enthusiasm.. Also, to counter some of Omega's over hyped Co-ax modified ETA ink.

Here is what I see:

The 3186 has a new designation, not because of the Parachrom, but because parts were modified internally; so certain parts cannot be interchanged with the earlier 3185

The DSSD press kit information states that the DeepSea is equipped with the usual 3135, Parachrome equipped movement, and not a different number.

The new Day-Date II has a a movement fitted with the new Rolex in-house Paraflex shock system, the Parachrom, and perhaps other enhancements to fit into the latest 41mm case. More has been done than just a hairspring

This tells me that just the change to the Parachrom is not enough of a change, even by Rolex standards, to get a different movement number..

It also might mean that the 3135 assembly line is ratcheting up to incorporate the Parachrom....It seems like it might be a direct replacement for the Nivarox spring that Rolex knows will be tightening their distribution network. I just can't imagine Rolex operating one 3135 assembly line for the Paracharm hairspring and a separate one for the Nivarox hairspring.

The Parachrom is an advancement because Rolex was able to use their own methods and different materials to obtain their own patent....But, it is still just a hairspring - it just doesn't do anything differently.

What do you think..??


:cheers:

I agree Larry the Parachrome spring is most certainly 95% pure hype,and the main reason for Rolex to develope there own hairspring.Was 1 to stop the strangle hold Hayek from the ETA Swatch group,there main supplier of balance springs,they had such a strangle hold,on nearly all the Swiss watch manufactures including Rolex. But Rolex now can manufacture there own, but still Swatch Nivarox was/is there main hairspring supplier until Rolex becomes totally self sufficient. And the ETA Nivarox H/springs have been in Rolex watches for 40 plus years.Hence the need for this new parachrome balance hair-spring,to be completely self sufficient in all watch parts for Rolex watches.Parachome is just a word like superlative, Rolesor, Rolesium and many more.Is it going to be more accurate or long lasting than the Nivarox springs IMHO I would doubt it.Rolex movements from the 15XX upwards have been very accurate and extremely long lasting. Just look how many of the vintage ones are still running today 40 years on plus.Fact John Harrisons marine chronometer a watch made nearly 300 years ago is as accurate as the best Swiss watches made today

f16570
1 August 2008, 08:29 PM
As always great info, now was it all hype?

BigHat
1 August 2008, 10:39 PM
....NOT rust!!!! Looks like blued steel like that of a gun, which in FACT will rust!!

Stan.:dummy:

Hey Stan,
It IS "RUSTED." Actually, the blue color stems from "oxidation" from exposure to O2 if I recall correctly. :cheers:

Jedi
2 August 2008, 02:20 AM
Rust only occurs when there is FeO2 present, which is Iron Oxide. Otherwise, any other reaction with oxygen which causes a change is simply oxidisation. Rust, becaue of FeO2, is generally reddish brown in colour and also comes with a weakening of the alloy involved.

BigHat
2 August 2008, 02:24 AM
Rust only occurs when there is FeO2 present, which is Iron Oxide. Otherwise, any other reaction with oxygen which causes a change is simply oxidisation. Rust, becaue of FeO2, is generally reddish brown in colour and also comes with a weakening of the alloy involved.

Of course, you are right, thus the "" on rust. Just meant to share the fact it wasn't "painted" or "plated" but that the blue color was based on a chemical reaction to oxygen already.

ROBERT123
28 February 2009, 02:17 PM
The parachrome spring will I think prolong the life of every rolex, so its not over hype. This is a great improvement for the hairspring.

Triplock
1 March 2009, 11:23 AM
Agreed. I see nothing to indicate it's not an improvement. In fact, anything Rolex can do in-house can be considered an improvement because they have complete control over manufacture. Until proven wrong I'll put my faith in claims made by Rolex engineers.

postiff
1 March 2009, 12:00 PM
Very interesting read. Thanks.

Does anyone know if you can put this spring on a 1570 movement?

Nods
4 March 2009, 06:19 PM
Guys read the post on Magnetism and then tell me that the Parachrome Hairspring is not a significant advantage over hairsprings. Especially if you own a Gold or Platinum watch.

padi56
4 March 2009, 09:29 PM
Very interesting read. Thanks.

Does anyone know if you can put this spring on a 1570 movement?

First I would have to ask why the Cal 1570 is one of Rolex finest movements and yours must be a few decades old.And must assume still running and keeping good time.The Parachrome hairspring will not make it any better than the one thats been running for a few decades in your watch.And hairsprings are normally matched to the other escapement parts so would doubt if it would fit.

watchmaker
8 March 2009, 07:24 AM
Plain and simple.
The parachrome has very little to no advantage over nivarox....except for Rolex
The important difference is, the Swatch Group does not own it.

Almost all of Rolex's in house creations are efforts to remain independant from Swatch.
Nivarox-Parachrome
Moebius-Rolex Patent Oils
ETA

Rolex even joined a consortium of watch manufacturers and bought out Bergeon SA, one of the leading horological tool suppliers, just so Swatch couldnt buy them.

Swatch scare Rolex. And quite rightly. They are they single greatest threat to the Rolex brand.

Nods
8 October 2009, 10:24 PM
My GMYc runs at less than a second a day. Can I thank the Parachrome hairspring or am I just lucky?

moby33
9 October 2009, 03:30 AM
My GMYc runs at less than a second a day. Can I thank the Parachrome hairspring or am I just lucky?

I would say 'just lucky'. My Parachrome DSSD is not as accurate as two non-Parachrome Subs I use to have...so in the big scheme of things I don't really think it matters from an accuracy standpoint. In the end, they are ALL well within tolerances...so really I have nothing to complain about. :cheers:

Tools
9 October 2009, 05:53 AM
I think that the hype has got to the point that people are confusing Parachrom, Nivarox, and other hairsprings..

Parachrom has a lot of advantages over a "standard" hairspring.... However, Rolex has never used a "standard" hairspring for many, many decades. They have used the high quality Nivarox, which are similar in characteristics as their new Parachrom..

Here is an excerpt about Nivarox:

The Nivarox alloy is used mainly in the watch industry, but also in other micro-machine industries and in certain medical equipment and surgical instruments. There are several variations of the Nivarox alloy depending upon the intended application. These alloys are stainless steel alloys with high concentrations of Cobalt (42-48%), Nickel (15-25%) and
Chromium (16-22%). There are also small amounts of titanium and beryllium. Hairsprings made of this alloy are wear-resistant; they are practically non-magnetic, non-rusting and possess a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Nivarox 1 through 5 is a series of grades of hairsprings with number 1 being the best quality. The most commonly encountered Nivarox hairsprings are 1 through 3. The alloy is unaffected by heat and ordinary magnetic fields. There is however, also the Anachron hairspring which is said to be of even higher quality than the Nivarox No. 1.

sexner
9 October 2009, 06:27 AM
an intimidating level of reliability and technical excellence.

Best line I think I have read on these Forums! Period.

Thanks Larry.

That is precisely why I wear one. I don't collect them and then ask which one I should take to Hawaii, a wedding or if I can swim with it. They're not jewellery nor a fashion accessory. They are an exquisitely engineered marvel. They are incredibly beautiful, accurate and tough all at the same instant. Designed to be worn.

And if an outfit like Rolex wants to hype-up the fact that they have spent a franc or two becoming a little better as well as a little more independant then I say so be it and take it with a grain of salt.

Nods
10 October 2009, 01:53 AM
an intimidating level of reliability and technical excellence.

Best line I think I have read on these Forums! Period.

Thanks Larry.

That is precisely why I wear one. I don't collect them and then ask which one I should take to Hawaii, a wedding or if I can swim with it. They're not jewellery nor a fashion accessory. They are an exquisitely engineered marvel. They are incredibly beautiful, accurate and tough all at the same instant. Designed to be worn.

And if an outfit like Rolex wants to hype-up the fact that they have spent a franc or two becoming a little better as well as a little more independant then I say so be it and take it with a grain of salt.

Well said

sexner
10 October 2009, 02:23 AM
Well said

Well, thanks, Lionel I appreciate it.

Sometimes some of the stuff people come up with around here really makes me shake my head (or hang it in disgust).

Have a nice weekend.

:cheers:

Brushpup
10 October 2009, 03:11 AM
an intimidating level of reliability and technical excellence.

Best line I think I have read on these Forums! Period.

Thanks Larry.

That is precisely why I wear one. I don't collect them and then ask which one I should take to Hawaii, a wedding or if I can swim with it. They're not jewellery nor a fashion accessory. They are an exquisitely engineered marvel. They are incredibly beautiful, accurate and tough all at the same instant. Designed to be worn.

And if an outfit like Rolex wants to hype-up the fact that they have spent a franc or two becoming a little better as well as a little more independant then I say so be it and take it with a grain of salt.


Again. Very well stated Sheldon, I could not agree more. :clap::clap::clap:

sexner
10 October 2009, 06:04 AM
Again. Very well stated Sheldon, I could not agree more. :clap::clap::clap:

Thanks, Patrick.

:cheers:

JJ Irani
10 October 2009, 06:12 AM
an intimidating level of reliability and technical excellence.

Best line I think I have read on these Forums! Period.

Thanks Larry.

That is precisely why I wear one. I don't collect them and then ask which one I should take to Hawaii, a wedding or if I can swim with it. They're not jewellery nor a fashion accessory. They are an exquisitely engineered marvel. They are incredibly beautiful, accurate and tough all at the same instant. Designed to be worn.

And if an outfit like Rolex wants to hype-up the fact that they have spent a franc or two becoming a little better as well as a little more independant then I say so be it and take it with a grain of salt.

Good one, Sheldon. :thumbsup:

It's good to see some traces of brilliance in your otherwise crazy demeanour!! :rofl::rofl::rofl::justkiddi

sexner
14 October 2009, 12:52 AM
Thanks, JJ.

Very minor traces at best! :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: