As the elevator doors swish shut, I’m surrounded by green and gold. A sharply dressed representative presses a button on the panel. Surprisingly, we go down. Deep into the unknown, beneath the glimmering Rolex headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Though I may not have found a golden ticket wrapped around a very special bar of chocolate, I can hear Gene Wilder in my head “there’s no earthly way of knowing, in which direction we are going…” . Thankfully, this ride is devoid of flashing lights, grisly reapers, or rowers of any kind. The elevator doors open into a long, almost clinical corridor, the right side of which features floor-to-ceiling windows into some sort of a bustling industrial diorama.
Stepping into the expanse of the hallway, I’m told that the scene unfolding on the other side of the glass represents the core of Rolex quality assurance, the rigorous, fastidious, and downright Swiss process known as the Superlative Chronometer certification.
It’s an apt name, and as I approach the glass to survey the scene I’m met by trays of barcoded UK perfect Rolex replica watches, all passing various stages of assessment. A largely automated process in terms of the progression from one stage of certification to the next, the small trays present any of Rolex’s references for in-depth considerations of power reserve, precision, automatic winding performance, and of course, water resistance.
Established as a concept in the late ’50s, cheap Rolex fake watches gave the Superlative Chronometer process real teeth in 2015 when the brand formalized the accuracy specification of -2/+2 seconds per day. The industry chronometer standard is commonly certified by COSC, or Contrôle Officiel Suisse De Chronomètres, which at a base level certifies that a movement keeps time to within -4 to +6 seconds a day. And though the Superlative Chronometer is certainly an improvement over the stated accuracy range of a COSC-certified movement, there is more happening here than just that number.
The COSC, which operates as a third party, certifies movements to a given standard (like ISO 3159 for automatic movements) over the course of 15 days. This process considers many factors, including the position of the movement (they factor for three positions) and temperature. You can read more about the specifics here, but the main takeaway is not only that Rolex movements are COSC-certified before being in-house certified to the Superlative Chronometer spec, but also that the Rolex certification requires that the movements be cased in an assembled watch. With COSC, the movements are certified before being installed into a final watch, often without the inclusion of any complication/modules.
So after a given Rolex caliber passes COSC certification, it returns home to Geneva where it is cased in 1:1 replica Rolex watches (with a dial, hands, etc. – a fully assembled watch), given a barcode, and sent into a series of tests that ensure not only that -2/+2 rate (in seven static positions and a dynamic trajectory, to better simulate actual wear), but also the duration and function of the power reserve (testing to the complete duration of the reserve), the proper functioning of the automatic winding system, and finally, a test of the indicated water resistance.
Actually, to be fair, as per the ISO format, Rolex tests its dive watches to 125 percent of the stated water resistance. So your Submariner says it’s good to 300 meters, but AAA Rolex copy watches tested it to 375 meters.
I’ve seen a handful of manufacturing facilities in my time, and this view into the Rolex certification process, deep in the polished white catacombs under Geneva, represents a new level. The degree to which they are able to back their own product, to push something they’ve made into such a high realm of confidence, is quite impressive. The Superlative Chronometer process highlights the quality of Rolex manufacturing and, though they were not able to share any sort of data concerning how many movements fail the testing process, they did say that it was a very small number.
So how does all of this connect with the new 2022 replica Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches, a watch designed not for SCUBA diving, but rather for the bottom of the ocean? Not very well, as it turns out.
The Deepsea Challenge was incompatible with many of the more automated elements in the Superlative Chronometer testing. Why? Because it’s too thick, and the machines used to test the luxury Rolex Deepsea fake watches to its entirely non-casual 3,900 meters of water resistance (that’s 4,388 meters in actual testing) don’t even come close to what Rolex required to test the record-setting Deepsea Challenge.
Rolex had to rethink the entire process for a single reference.
I’m led through a simple doorway, into a smaller space where I’m introduced to the team that is essentially hand-certifying each top super clone Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches to the specifications of the Superlative Chronometer, a process that culminates with a very special pressure-testing machine that Rolex developed in partnership with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), the famed French manufacturer of specialized equipment for special environments.
Most notably to the watch world, Comex is known for its work in saturation diving and the company’s name has even been seen on some seriously collectible best quality replica Rolex dive watches in the past.
This is not the first time that Rolex and Comex have worked together on such equipment, and Comex even helped Rolex create the automated testing machine for the standard Deepsea. For the Deepsea Challenge, they needed to go way deeper.
The result is a massive metal machine called the Ultra High Pressure (UHP) Tank that looks like the cross between a bank vault and a submarine, with a Rolex caseback for a hat. UHP Tank tests the Deepsea Challenge to an astounding level of pressure equal to that which the watch could experience at 13,750 meters. Or for you Yanks, 45,112 feet.
The UHP Tank can test ten 2022 Rolex fake watches at once and the process takes 3 hours and 20 minutes, with the gauge on the front of the machine indicating the pressure within the test chamber (in bars). The tank is clamped for a maximum internal pressure of 1750 bars, which is equivalent to over 25,000 psi. To save you some Googling, yes, that’s about 5000 psi more than is required to match the pressure of being 13,750 meters underwater (20,018.64 psi). 1750 bar is equivalent to a little over 57,000 feet. UHP indeed.
There are all sorts of comparisons I could use to explain just how deep 13,750 meters really is (it’s 8.5 miles, dude), but think of it this way: The Deepsea Challenge is tested, in land-locked Switzerland, to a level of water pressure that doesn’t naturally exist anywhere on earth.
Let that sink in.
And that pun is intended, as the deepest known part of the world is an area of the Mariana Trench called Challenger Deep – where the stated depth is approximately 10,935 meters according to the NOAA (Wikipedia states 10,984 +/- 25 meters). So, even without the 25 percent over-testing, the Deepsea Challenge is rated to get you to the deepest water on the planet, even if you can’t get there without a very special submarine.
Factor for the 13,750 meters of actual testing and Rolex has made a dive watch that can withstand more water pressure than is even conceptually possible for the Rolex replica watches for sale to ever actually experience (aside from within the UHP Tank, that is).
I think that is hilarious. And remarkable. And pretty damn cool – even if the Deepsea Challenge lacks the wearability of its siblings. Rolex is so Rolex that they created a machine capable of testing for an impossible amount of water pressure that can only be used in support of a single reference that will only ever be made in low volume. Rolex was there at the birth of the dive Rolex replica watches for men, and from a philosophical standpoint, this represents some sort of end.
As I took that elevator back toward the sky, it occurred to me. There is no deeper to dive.