Hands-On: The Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39
We want to say at the beginning that we know for a great deal of HODINKEE perusers, the possibility of a Rolex – any Rolex – beautified with gemstones is utter horror amazingly. Also, we get why. For some fanatic Rolex fans, what Rolex addresses is the most elevated advancement of a specific approach to watchmaking: unassuming, extreme, high-exactness, and with a totally uncompromising disposition towards quality, yet certainly without unecessary ornamentation. For genuine, Sub/Milgauss/DeepSea/Daytona enthusiasts, a hesitant appreciation for a Day-Date is by and large to the extent they’re willing to go, yet for that crowd, real Rolexes are device watches, and the fewer improving twists, the better.
Now clearly this is a viewpoint we comprehend at HODINKEE – and yet, when we saw the Pearlmaster 39 watches at Baselworld recently, we were totally unfathomably intrigued by the level of meticulousness that they displayed. We should not skirt the real issue; these are diamond set gold Rolexes and they’re never going to be something besides jewel set gold Rolexes, and in the event that they’re not for you, you will know it within a nanosecond of taking a gander at them. In any case, what we would encourage you to do, regardless of whether you are persuaded such a thing isn’t your image of vodka, is to take a gander at exactly how well they’re finished. So how about we put down the pitchforks and drench the torches briefly and see what we’ve truly got here.
The new Pearlmaster 39s utilize a similar case shape as other Datejusts, yet come in three varieties: yellow gold with orange-gold sapphires, yellow gold with blue-green sapphires, and white gold with pink-blue sapphires; each variety additionally has a matching dial. The sapphires are chosen to introduce a quite certain shading slope around the bezel; each is cut in a trapezoidal shape so they fit together consummately equitably, to frame a continuous ring of shading around the essence of the watch. The sapphires are set so consummately, and the tones chose so carefully, that it is close to difficult to tell where one shading stops and another begins.
We’ve been adequately blessed, throughout the most recent couple of years, to invest some energy in Switzerland and seen horological diamond setting for the absolute most master brands being done, and furthermore some time at the Rolex manufactories themselves, and have gotten a touch of knowledge into what such a work really involves. Horological diamond setting, in opposition to what you may believe, is quite a touch more required than simply taking gemstones and trimming a watch with them; it is an unmistakable minor departure from the pearl shaper and jeweler’s craft and has its own particular requests. Above all else, getting a great gemstone of any sort by and large includes a specific measure of waste. Generally speaking, you may wind up losing up to fifty percent of the carat weight of a stone before you get a completed item. Horological pearl setting is particularly unforgiving on the grounds that the stones totally must be of a specific precise size and when they are set next to each other like this, there is no wiggle room at all in one or the other size or calculation; the fit must be definite. The last cleaning and slicing must be finished by hand, and the setting as well.
The second significant challenge emerges when you have hued stones that need to play pleasantly with each other. Exceptionally excellent hued gemstones are sufficiently troublesome to discover; on account of shading slope work, as in the Pearlmasters, it is important to source singular stones that have exactly the right combination of explicit tone and explicit shading immersion to make the shading angle impact consistent. Here, the wastage can truly skyrocket and it is now and again important to dispose of up to ninety percent of a raw stone to get the essential match. This is a significant piece of the explanation that per complete carat weight, top notch horological sertissage (gem setting) can be much more costly than you would might suspect just from stone quality and carat weight taken alone – it’s very technically requesting and when you are attempting to make such an enhanced visualization we find in the Pearlmasters, there’s no center ground; a stone is either spot on, or it’s simply not usable.
The Pearlmasters likewise utilize the new Rolex type 3235 – this is the development that was additionally presented for the current year in the Day-Date 40 mm, and it’s a technically progressed mechanism that includes Rolex’s new Chronergy escapement – a switch escapement with enhanced calculation allowing for an increment of around 15% in energy conveyance (the development in the Day-Date is the 3255 however they’re a similar fundamental development; the 3235 excludes the day wheel). The development is a COSC-ensured chronometer and similarly just like the case with the 3255 in the Day-Date, it’s likewise confirmed to Rolex’s own inward chronometer norms, with all the extravagant accessories you’d partner with a high evaluation chronometer development: Breguet overcoil Parachrom balance spring, Microstella free sprung balance, etc. Each model is likewise fitted with a sunburst dial in one of three tones: red grape, olive green, and cognac.
We just took a gander at the new Everose Yachtmaster , and at its Oysterflex arm band, and one of the perceptions we made in that story is that something we all affection about Rolex, explicit tastes notwithstanding, is that the company brings a practically dreamlike degree of hairsplitting to what they do. We believe that is valid for the Pearlmasters also. As we know from Ben’s comprehensive story inside all the Rolex manufactories, in addition to the fact that Rolex has its own foundry for making (for example) the gold combinations it utilizes, it additionally has its own in-house gemstone assessing and arranging division and it brings to its work with valuable stones the very level of narrowly engaged compulsiveness that it never really like planning and refining developments – which again, as we know from Ben’s story, is finished by Rolex in a consistent steady design that to a great extent passes unnoticed by Rolex customers yet which nonetheless is a fundamental piece of the company’s way of doing things.
It’s the equivalent, we think, with the Pearlmasters. It’s simple for some genuine Rolex fans to excuse diamond set Rolexes similarly as an issue of rule. Yet, face to face, these watches grew on us – a ton. They’re remarkably well made, mechanically irreproachable, and only completely delightful. The degree of tender loving care that went into their creation – including that dedicated to the diamond determination, cutting, molding and setting – will probably go directly over the tops of a ton of the people who wind up purchasing these, however we trust it doesn’t totally, on the grounds that as we said of the Everose Yachtmaster, this is a very Rolex approach to extravagance: the pushing of technical hairsplitting to the point that it becomes an extravagance in itself.
The Rolex Pearlmaster 39: Yellow gold with blue-green angle, $77,250. Yellow gold with orange-yellow angle, $74,650. White gold with blue-fuschia slope, $87,250. Full specs and more data here from Rolex.com.