Disassembling a Rolex Submariner
When I was watch editor at GQ, there was one overwhelmingly popular question every single time we called out for questions about watches; “why do they cost so much?” On each occasion the editorial team would go into overdrive. We’d jump quickly to the defence of luxury watchmakers. “They’re intricate machines, more like cars than clocks!” “The R&D that goes into developing new movements doesn’t come for free!” “They’re handmade objects in a world of mechanisation!”
To quote William, the ladies doth protest too much. For proof, see the latest GQ; we were at it yet again in the ‘Ask Us’ section, and we trotted out the usual.
The fact is, we only ever needed to do two things.
1. Print a link to this video from the folks at Watchfinder, which is a (highly skilled) watchmaker disassembling a Rolex Submariner.
2. Drop the mic.
Every wondered why a Rolex is so expensive?
This was the question posed by Interesting Engineering when they discovered the video. Note not only the intricacies of the movement, but the exquisite detailing on each component. None of which is ever intended to be seen by the wearer. This is not a showpiece movement with a clear caseback for the wearer’s viewing pleasure. This is a tool watch, for use by serious divers, if they so wish.
The logic in perfection for perfection’s sake is one of the most pleasing and attractive values about Rolex in particular. It is the unseen as much, if not more, than the seen that matters about watches at this level.
But here, the unseen is very much under scrutiny in full view. It would be weird to say it’s an emotional experience, but that’s precisely the effect it had on me. The same thing happened when we saw this Patek constructed. What can I say, it’s my jam. It’s why we’re here and we can’t be reminded of the fact enough. Enjoy.