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The 2013 Rolex Daytona Platinum: a future classic
by admin

At Baselworld 2013 Rolex introduced the Daytona ref. 116506 to celebrate 50 years of Daytona’s. Unfortunately for the many hoping that Rolex would come with a version in steel (some were talking about a re-edition of the Paul Newman Daytona) that would be affordable for most people Rolex took a different path.
The new Daytona is made of platinum, for the Daytona a first time, and therefore an instant, if expensive, ‘Vintage Rolex’ that will be interesting for collectors. Price wise (est. price: 60,650 euro) it is directly at the level of some of the very collectable Daytona’s from the past.




Besides the use of 950 Platinum there are two things of the Daytona that draw direct attention.
The dial is in ‘ice blue’, a colour that until now was only used for the Day-Date II in Platinum.
Also remarkable is the bezel in ‘chestnut brown’. The bezel is made of Cerachrom, a bezel in one piece. The problem with a common bezel is that it can get scratches or loose it’s beautiful radiance because of chlorine water in a pool, sunlight or salt water. A bezel made from Cerachrom doesn’t have these problems because it’s made from extremely hard ceramic material. Because of this it’s almost impossible to scratch and not sensitive to UV radiation.
The numbers and the scale on the bezel are engraved into the ceramic material before it gets it’s final extremely hard composure by heating it to a temperature of 1,500 grades Celsius. The next step is an illustration of true craftmanship, the bezel, atom by atom, is covered by Platinum or gold and finally it’s polished in order to remove all metal that is not inside the numbers and the scale on the bezel. It causes no surprise that it takes 40 hours to fabricate this bezel for eternity.
Putting the Platinum Rolex on your wrist you directly feel that this is something special, the weight of the watch being 183 gram.



The history of Platinum


Pic.: Platinum crystals


Pic.: Platinum nugget

Platinum is a chemical element with the symbol Pt and atom number 78. The name comes from the Spanish term ‘platina’ which means ‘little silver’. It is a compact, forgable, extendable, precious grey-white transitional metal. It is one of the rarest elements in the layers of the earth and it’s average density is 5 mu grams/kg. South-Africa is responsable for 80% of the world production.


Pic.: Antonio de Ulloa is seen as the discoverer of Platinum in 1735

Platinum was used by the pre-Colombian Americans in the area of today’s Esmeraldas, Ecuador to produce artefacts of a white gold-platinum alloy. The first European reference to Platinum dates from 1557 in the writings of Italian Humanist Julius Caesar Scaliger describing an unknown precious metal found between Darien and Mexico, “which no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy”.

In 1741 Charles Wood, a British metallurgist, found different samples of Colombian Platinum in Jamaica which he sent to William Brownrigg for further research.
Antonio de Ulloa returned to Spain in 1746 after being away for eight years on the French geodetic mission. In his report of the mission he described Platinum as non dividable and non calculable. He also predicted the discovery of the Platinum mines.
In 1750 Brownrigg presented a detailed report of his findings with Wood’s Platinum to the Royal Society. It was the first time that Platinum was mentioned in official papers and he also mentioned the extreme high melting point of the metal.
In 1786 Charles III of Spain gave Pierre-Francois Chabaneau a laboratory and a library to be able to do further research of Platinum. Chabaneau managed to remove several impurities from the ore, like gold, mercury, lead, copper and iron. After months of testing Chabaneau managed to produce 23 kilos of pure, forgable Platinum by using hammer and pressure when the metal was white-hot.
Chabaneau realised that the properties of Platinum would give value to objects made from it and together with Joaquin Cabezas he started a business that produced Platinum blocks and kitchen apparel. This was the beginning of what is known as the ‘Platinum Age’ in Spain.


Pic.: 1,000 cubic centimeters of 99,9% pure Platinum which, at the 14th of July 2012, had a worth of appr. $970,600

Platinum, together with the rest of the Platinum metals, is a commercial byproduct of nickel and copper mining. When copper is put under electricity precious metals like silver, gold and the Platinum metals sink to the bottom of the cell where they form an ‘anode sediment’. From the sediment the extraction of the Platinum metals takes place.
When one finds pure Platinum in the ore there are different methods to remove the impurities.
Because of the high density of Platinum lighter impurities in the fluid can be separated and because Platinum is non-magnetic nickel and iron can be removed. The high melting point of Platinum gives the opportunity to remove other metals using heat. Platinum is resistant to hydrochloric and sulfate acids so this can also be used to remove impurities.
A fitting method to purify raw Platinum, existing of Platinum, gold and other Platinum metals, is to work it with ‘aqua regia’ in which palladium, gold and Platinum are solved while osmium, iridium, ruthenium and rhodium do not react. Gold is bound to Fe3-chloride and is filtered after which ammonium-chloroplatinate is formed. By heating this one gets pure Platinum.

In 2010 245 tons of platinum was sold of which 113 (46%) for emission control devices in cars and 76 (31%) for jewellery. The rest, 35.5 tons, was used for investments, electrodes, cancer medication, oxygen sensors, spark plugs and turbine engines.

During periods of economical stability and growth the Platinum price is about twice as high as the gold price but during periods of uncertainty lowers under the gold price; this effect is caused by a declined industrial demand for Platinum. All in all gold is considered a safer investment because it doesn’t depend on industrial factors.
In the 18th century King Louis XV of France declared Platinum to be the only metal fit for a King because of it’s rareness.
The attractiveness of Platinum in jewels, usually a 90-95% alloy, is caused by it’s inertia and radiance. Publications in the jeweller’s business advise jewellers to commend highly of small superficial scratches (‘patine’) as an attractive phenomenon.

Jaap Bakker

September 28th


James Cameron in the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 2012
by admin


“I’ve always dreamed of diving to the deepest place in the oceans. For me it went from a boyhood fantasy to a real quest, like climbing Everest, as I learned more about deep-ocean exploration and became an explorer myself in real life. This quest was not driven by the need to set records, but by the same force that drives all science and exploration … curiosity.

So little is known about these deep places that I knew I would see things no human has ever seen. There is currently no submersible on Earth capable of diving to the ‘full ocean depth’ of 36,000 feet. The only way to make my dream a reality was to build a new vehicle unlike any in current existence. Our success during seven prior expeditions building and operating our own deep-ocean vehicles, cameras, and lighting systems gave me confidence that such a vehicle could be built, and not just with the vast resources of government programs, but also with a small entrepreneurial team.

It took more than seven years to design and build the vehicle, and it is still a work in progress. Every dive teaches us more, and we are continuing to improve the sub and its systems daily, as we move through our sea trials.” —James Cameron



On January 23rd 1960 Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh, a submarine commander in the US Navy, submerged with the vessel Trieste into the Mariana Trough near Guam. In the end they stayed for 20 minutes at a depth of 36,000 feet below sea level. During their decent they had heard cracking noises at a depth of 30,000 feet and when Piccard saw the cracks in the windows of the Trieste at the bottom of the trough he decided to return to the wild waves near Guam.

Director James Cameron has always been fascinated by life at the great depths of the world seas. He had already been aboard on several, mostly Russian MIG boats, submarines for 71 times before in 2002 he came up with the plan to submerge into the Mariana Trough. Simultaneously there are 3 other parties who are preparing for the same expedition. Among them a couple of familiar names, the founder of Google Eric Schmidt and Virgin boss Richard Branson.
In June 2011 a great honour befalls Cameron: the National Geographic Society adds him to the list of guest-researchers. Together with National Geographic and Rolex Cameron formulates the final plan to make the first manned dive into the Trough since 1960 and the first solo dive.


On the 23rd of June 2012 at 5.15 hour the Deepsea Challenger, Cameron’s submarine, slides into the salt water about 300 km southwest of Guam. After 2.36 hours Cameron is finally at the bottom of the Trough. He stays there for three hours to collect material and animals with the robot arm on his vessel and to make pictures and 3D movies. This is the big difference with the 1960 enterprise, Piccard and Walsh were at the bottom for only 20 minutes and didn’t do any research.

In 1960 Rolex had developed the Deep Sea Special especially for the dive of Piccard and Walsh. This watch was attached to the outside of the Trieste and withstood the enormous pressure at a depth of more than 10 km without a scratch.





In 2008 Rolex introduced an upgraded version of the famous Sea-Dweller, called the Sea-Dweller Deepsea. The former watch was water resistant to a depth of 1,220 m, the latter could even go to 3,900 m.

JC:SD Deepsea:wp

JC:SD Deepsea:zijkant

JC:SD Deepsea:3;4

For the expedition of Cameron Rolex pushed the limits of the watch even further. They designed the Deepsea Challenge 2012, developed with the Sea-Dweller Deepsea as starting point. Technical aspects of the 2008 model, like the Ring Lock System, the Triplock crown and the case back in titanium, were also used on the new model.

JC:overzicht 3 modellen

The Deepsea Challenge was prepared to withstood the enormous pressure of the water at a gigantic depth of 12,000 km. To do this Rolex needed a pressure tank in which tests could be performed at a pressure of 1,500 bar. In cooperation with the French diving firm COMEX (Rolex made Submariners and Sea-Dwellers for this firm for years) they made the tank they needed. Under these circumstances the pressure on the watch glass is 17 tons, on the case back 23 tons and 40 tons on the middle part.

To be able to cope with these enormous pressures the case is even bigger and the sapphire glass even stronger. The diameter of the Deepsea Challenge is 51,4 mm and it’s height is 28,5 mm, 10,8 mm more than the not really slender Sea-Dweller Deepsea. The sapphire glass is 14,3 mm thick (compared to the serie model’s 5,5 mm).
When compared to the Deep Sea Special from 1960 it becomes clear how much progress Rolex has made with the 2012 model, especially in the use of materials. The latter model is 7,5 mm less thick than the watch from 1960.

In part caused by the movie on YouTube that shows the design and manufacturing of the Deepsea Challenge 2012 collectors started intense speculations if Rolex would ever bring the watch, limited or not, to the market. Unfortunately this never happened.


JC:DC:wp donker1

Jaap Bakker

September 28th