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Old 17 February 2009, 05:19 AM   #1
Vanessa CW21
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31 Jewels

Hello guys and girls

For a long time I was wondering why Rolex listed their amount of jewels at 31 for all their Oyster models (with the exception of the Daytona and YMII)...

For those that never thought of it; for example, an Airking without a date, and a GMT-Master II with a date, and dual time zone capabilities are both listed at 31 jewels, eventhough the second one should have more jewels, since there are more gears inside the watch.

I finally made the phonecall to Rolex, and received this answer: The jewel count is based on the amount of jewels that are under constant force.

Meaning the ones for time keeping. The date mechanism is only in motion every 24 hours, so doesn't receive constant friction.
We can safely know that all their movements are fully jeweled, and most of them have more than 31 jewels.

Hope this answers the question I know I few of you had wondered!
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Old 17 February 2009, 05:21 AM   #2
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Interesting post. Years ago I heard that there were certain import restrictions in the US and that Rolex made 17 jewel versions for the US market and 31 jewel versions for the rest on the world. Any truth in this, I wonder ?
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Old 17 February 2009, 05:22 AM   #3
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good info
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Old 17 February 2009, 05:41 AM   #4
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Good information. Thanks.
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Old 17 February 2009, 05:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
Interesting post. Years ago I heard that there were certain import restrictions in the US and that Rolex made 17 jewel versions for the US market and 31 jewel versions for the rest on the world. Any truth in this, I wonder ?
None whatsoever only in the very early years of Rolex did
the Canadian and USA have different movements from Europe.During the Rolex early period many different types of watches were made, and Rolex did not have complete control over their movement factory, they were only a minority shareholder. The full name of the company tells the story "Aegler, Société Anonyme, Fabrique des Montres Rolex & Gruen Guild A.," this means, in translation, Aegler incorporated, manufacturer of Rolex & Gruen Guild A Watches. At this time ownership of the factory was split between three parties, Herman Aegler (movements), (Hans Wilsdorf of Rolex) and the Gruen brothers, Frederick Gruen and George Gruen.Now Aegler manufactured movements for both companies, who then sold the completed watches in their respective territories; Wilsdorf of Rolex, throughout Europe, Asia and the British Empire; whilst the Gruen brothers sold in the US only. This arrangement worked well until Rolex acquired the patent for the the Oyster case; now they had something new and special which they wished to sell all over the world, not just in their limited territory. However the three way partnership prohibited Rolex from selling their products with Aegler movement in the Gruen brothers' territory (and vice-versa).

So Hans of Rolex being a very clever and shrewd man, took a sideways move and fitted their new Oyster cases with a movement from FHF (Fontmelon)factory just down the road from Gruen and then tried to find a US distributor. They came across the firm of Abercrombie and Fitch,this was then a store specialising in sportsman's' equipment; whether you wanted to go elephant shooting in Africa, fishing for salmon or trout in Scotland, Abercrombie and Fitch was the place you went for all your equipment. Everything from fishing rods to double barrelled shotguns could be found under their roof. As the sportsman's store they seemed the ideal place to sell the first oyster watches, which were already building a reputation as the sportsman's watch. It may have seemed the ideal place but it did not work out that way, firstly because Rolex sold the cheaper down-market version of their watches in a high end store, and also because Abercrombie & Fitch did not advertise the watch sufficiently.

These Abercrombie & Fitch watches are probably the rarest of all the cushion oysters, in all my life I have only ever seen one; it was signed "Abercrombie and Fitch (Seafarer) on the dial and the case and movement were signed Oyster Watch Company.The case was quite badly pitted because then they were made from a base metal, a chromed zinc material that did not last very long,a bit like the relationship between Rolex and Abercrombie & Fitch.Now they went on to become the USA distributor for The Swiss Heuer watches, probably more of a sportsman's watch to speak of, being mainly chronograph watches.

After a couple of years in the desert Rolex decided to give the US market another try. This was after they had been approached by Zell Brothers, a jewellery store chain in the Pacific North West of the USA, headquartered in Seattle. Zell had seen the great success of Rolex in Canada, and in Vancouver in particular (Seattle and Vancouver are only about 150km apart). They asked to be made the exclusive importer for Rolex in the Pacific North West, and Rolex eager to get a US foot hold accepted their proposal. The strange thing is that, despite the Canadian success either Zell or Rolex decided not to use the famed "Oyster" name but substituted the name Turtle Timer, (IMHO undoubtedly Zell) Once again these were non-Aegler (non-Rolex) movements, so as not to disturb the three way relationship with Gruen. Zell were much more successful than Abercrombie/Fitch had been, but can hardly be described as having made a major market breakthrough. I have seen around 5 or 6 pictures of these watches and because they were made when Rolex was using real stainless steel the cases looked to have lasted much better than the A&F ones ever did. But Zells had two major problems as far as Rolex were concerned; firstly they were a regional not national chain and their insistence on using their own Turtle Timer name and not Oyster meant that Rolex would never reap the benefit of any of the new oyster case success.Now in these early days of Rolex only about 1 in 5 had the name Rolex on the Dial,the rest were blank dials when they left the factory
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Old 17 February 2009, 05:51 AM   #6
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A fully jeweled movement is 21 Jewels, so Rolex adds another 10. I guess they have their reasons.
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Old 17 February 2009, 07:48 AM   #7
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Great Info, Padi!!!

Thanks!

Seems it was a steep path to World leader in Brand recognition!

Hermann
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Old 17 February 2009, 08:26 AM   #8
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Great Info, Padi!!!

Thanks!

Seems it was a steep path to World leader in Brand recognition!

Hermann
Yep, that post alone made browsing around here today worthwhile. Thanks Venessa / Padi. Aspects of their technology / history I wasn't aware of until now.
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Old 17 February 2009, 08:46 AM   #9
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thanks for the info!
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Old 17 February 2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Great info, Vanessa - you are a JEWEL!!

And Padi, as always, you are a STAR!!
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Old 17 February 2009, 08:58 AM   #11
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Great info Venessa & Padi on something I'd never given a second thought to, everyday is a school-day, many thanks

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Old 17 February 2009, 09:02 AM   #12
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Great info. This place is great!
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:04 AM   #13
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I loved reading this post. Thank you Venessa and Padi for the education.
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:07 AM   #14
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xenophone, you may be thinking about Adjusted watches. In the old days import tariffs to the US were less on unadjusted watches. In 1949 the charge was 50cents per adjustment.

(Source: http://elginwatches.org/technical/adjustments.html)
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:09 AM   #15
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So my next question would be: Do you think Platty has more jewels than Bluesy - functional or non-functional?
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perdu View Post
A fully jeweled movement is 21 Jewels, so Rolex adds another 10. I guess they have their reasons.
to charge more when serviced?
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:12 AM   #17
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cool thread! Thanks..
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perdu View Post
A fully jeweled movement is 21 Jewels, so Rolex adds another 10. I guess they have their reasons.

Yep for most of their watches 17 or 21 is enough, i wonder what they use these 31 jewels for if they're in constant use?
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:16 AM   #19
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JEWELS ? what are jewels Are they actual jewels?
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:21 AM   #20
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JEWELS ? what are jewels Are they actual jewels?
Is this a serious question? If so, yes they are jewel bearings to minimize friction. Synthetic rubies in most cases.

From Wiki:
The advantages of jewel bearings include high accuracy, very small size and weight, low and predictable friction including good temperature stability, ability to operate without lubrication and in corrosive environments. They are known for their low static friction and highly consistent dynamic friction.[1] The static coefficient of friction of brass-on-steel is 0.35, while that of sapphire-on-steel is 0.1-0.15.[1][2] Sapphire surfaces are very hard and durable, with Mohs hardness of 9 and Knoop hardness of 2000, and can maintain smoothness over decades of use, thus reducing friction variability.[1] Disadvantages include brittleness and fragility, limited availability/applicability in medium and large bearing sizes and capacities, and friction variations if the load is not axial.
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ Irani View Post
So my next question would be: Do you think Platty has more jewels than Bluesy - functional or non-functional?
This is one of the reason why you have 55K+ posts.



All your watches have Cal 3135 and I'm sure no one have the same numbers of jewels.

Just shake your damn watches and I'm pretty sure they will sound different.
The one that is loudest have most jewels.



BTW. My wife call me her jewel 31 times a day, did that count?



Jocke
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigHat View Post
Is this a serious question? If so, yes they are jewel bearings to minimize friction. Synthetic rubies in most cases.

From Wiki:
The advantages of jewel bearings include high accuracy, very small size and weight, low and predictable friction including good temperature stability, ability to operate without lubrication and in corrosive environments. They are known for their low static friction and highly consistent dynamic friction.[1] The static coefficient of friction of brass-on-steel is 0.35, while that of sapphire-on-steel is 0.1-0.15.[1][2] Sapphire surfaces are very hard and durable, with Mohs hardness of 9 and Knoop hardness of 2000, and can maintain smoothness over decades of use, thus reducing friction variability.[1] Disadvantages include brittleness and fragility, limited availability/applicability in medium and large bearing sizes and capacities, and friction variations if the load is not axial.
I know a Jessica Simpson Question, but yeah serious question that has been on my mind for a while ! Thanks for the answer

maybe somebody
can post a few pictures of the actual jewels .
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Old 17 February 2009, 09:59 AM   #23
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I know a Jessica Simpson Question, but yeah serious question that has been on my mind for a while ! Thanks for the answer

maybe somebody
can post a few pictures of the actual jewels .
No problem. You just never know when a leg is being pulled around here. Now you know. All those "ruby" red bearing points on these Lange and Panerai movements. Jocke certainly has better pics.
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Old 17 February 2009, 10:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jocke View Post
This is one of the reason why you have 55K+ posts.



All your watches have Cal 3135 and I'm sure no one have the same numbers of jewels.

Just shake your damn watches and I'm pretty sure they will sound different.
The one that is loudest have most jewels.



BTW. My wife call me her jewel 31 times a day, did that count?



Jocke

You are absolutely nuts, ya tosser!!
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Old 17 February 2009, 10:07 AM   #25
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No problem. You just never know when a leg is being pulled around here. Now you know. All those "ruby" red bearing points on these Lange and Panerai movements.
Thanks for the knowledge BIGHAT.
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Old 17 February 2009, 10:18 AM   #26
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Abercrombie & Fitch. Never heard of it, but here is an interesting article and photo of the timepiece if this is the correct one.

http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/2008/7/...ronograph.html
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Old 17 February 2009, 10:24 AM   #27
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Obvious question to Vanessa, Padi and the other experts....

If those 31 jewels are under "constant force" and if there are extra jewels in the watch, what purpose do the extra jewels serve?

JJ
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Old 17 February 2009, 10:59 AM   #28
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Obvious question to Vanessa, Padi and the other experts....

If those 31 jewels are under "constant force" and if there are extra jewels in the watch, what purpose do the extra jewels serve?

JJ
For the less than constant yet important functions like date change
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Old 17 February 2009, 11:02 AM   #29
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For the less than constant yet important functions like date change
Thanks, Matt.

What I fail to understand is why Rolex just can't give us the ACTUAL amount of jewels present in their movements instead of just mentioning the ones undergoing "constant force"?
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Old 17 February 2009, 11:04 AM   #30
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Are they real jewels? Could I pop off the back and turn them into earrings??

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