PER­FECT SET­TING

Through a se­ries of rig­or­ously ap­plied pro­ce­dures, Rolex en­sures that its time­pieces shine like no other

Prestige (Malaysia) - - Watches -

At Rolex, gem-set­ting is viewed as an art-form. Hence, the time­pieces have the most of strik­ing of gem­stones, a re­sult of the ex­tremely strin­gent qual­ity cri­te­ria adopted by the watch­maker. This en­sures that the gem­stones re­ceived are ex­am­ined closely and that only the best pass through the hands of the gem-set­ters and are placed and fixed in a man­ner that best re­veals their beauty, colour and sparkle.

This is a tra­di­tion that Rolex has ad­hered to through­out his­tory. In of­fer­ing gem-set watches, the brand presents an al­ter­na­tive to ex­ist­ing time­pieces, whilst con­serv­ing its iden­tity and all its tech­ni­cal fea­tures, en­sur­ing reli­a­bil­ity, ro­bust­ness and re­sis­tance to mag­netic fields and to shocks.

Only the high­est qual­ity nat­u­ral stones are used, thanks to the rigid pro­ce­dure that is ap­plied. The mo­ment the gem­stones ar­rive at the ate­liers – both di­a­mond and coloured stones – un­dergo rig­or­ous ver­i­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures. To guar­an­tee the qual­ity of the stones, the gem­mol­o­gists don’t just rely on their own ex­per­tise but ap­ply a range of anal­y­sis tools, some of which have been spe­cially de­vel­oped for Rolex. Di­a­monds, for ex­am­ple, are sys­tem­at­i­cally tested via X-ray imag­ing to con­firm their au­then­tic­ity.

The gem­stones are also cut in a way that al­lows light to pen­e­trate through the stones, which will

en­hance its bril­liance. With di­a­monds, a well­cut 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 then an­a­lysed in the gem­mol­ogy lab­o­ra­tory. At Rolex, only the most translu­cent, nat­u­ral gem­stones are se­lected and for di­a­monds those of the high­est cat­e­gory of the grad­ing scales gen­er­ally used in gem­mol­ogy – In­ter­nally Flaw­less – are ac­cepted.

Once this process is com­pleted, the next step is for the stones to be set by the gem­set­ters. Work­ing with the pre­ci­sion of a watch­maker, each stone is set, one by one, onto the watches. To ac­com­plish this, a gem­set­ter’s craft has to be mul­ti­fac­eted. First, de­ci­sions have to made about the colours and ar­range­ment of the stones. This re­quires a bal­ance to be achieved be­tween aes­thetic and tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments. Then the case and bracelet engi­neers are con­sulted which are nec­es­sary to as­cer­tain the fu­ture place­ment of the stones. This re­quires the prepa­ra­tion to the near­est mi­cron, the gold or plat­inum into which the stones are set. That means hav­ing to de­ter­mine the pre­cise amount of metal re­quired to hold each st one in place.

At Rolex, gem-set­ters gen­er­ally use four tra­di­tional tech­niques. The most fre­quent is “bead” set­ting, which is em­ployed in par­tic­u­lar for sur­faces that are “paved” or en­crusted with di­a­monds. With bead-set­ting, the stone which is round, is usu­ally held in place by three to five small, bead-shaped pieces of metal.

The sec­ond is “closed” set­ting, in which a metal band en­cir­cles the gem­stone, hold­ing it in place. There then is the “chan­nel” set­ting, also known as “baguette” set­ting. This is used when deal­ing with baguette-or-trapeze-cut stones, al­low­ing them to be aligned side by side to form a cir­cle, for ex­am­ple, on bezels. The use of these var­i­ous tech­niques, com­bined with the process of sourc­ing the stones, en­sures that the re­sult is of the high­est qual­ity.

Rolex’s ex­per­tise in gem-set­ting is cap­tured in the Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Cos­mo­graph Day­tona pre­sented at Basel­world this year. The new 18k Everose gold ver­sion show­cases 56 bril­liant-cut di­a­monds set in the lugs and crown guard. The dial is sur­rounded by 11 baguette-cut sap­phire hour mark­ers, each of which matches the colour of the cor­re­spond­ing point on the bezel. The chrono­graph coun­ters are in pink Gold Crys­tals, which has a shim­mery ef­fect, cre­ated through a spe­cial process de­vel­oped by Rolex.

Also a re­flec­tion of Rolex’s ex­per­tise is the Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Date­just 31. The com­bi­na­tions in­clude an 18k white gold, fit­ted with a white mother-of-pearl and a di­a­mond-set bezel. The 18k yel­low gold fea­tures a mala­chite dial with a Ro­man VI and IX in 18 ct yel­low gold set in di­a­monds while an 18k Everose gold comes with di­a­mond­paved dial in­laid with pink moth­erof-pearl but­ter­flies.

This en­sures that the gem­stones re­ceived are ex­am­ined closely and that only the best pass through the hands of the gem-set­ters and are placed and fixed in a man­ner that best re­veals their beauty, colour and sparkle

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