Rolex never fail to amaze and at Baselworld 2014 they were certainly one of the more interesting brands to reveal new technology. While the new Sea-Dweller and Pepsi Bezel GMT-Master II are certainly easy on the eyes, the more innovative announcements were found under the case of their Datejust Pearlmaster – the new Rolex technology known as Syloxi.
The Secrets of Syloxi
Syloxi is essentially a silicon hairspring. Rolex have been working on this technology for well over a decade; however, it’s taken a great deal of time to discover how to incorporate it into their designs. In 2000 Rolex introduced the paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring – known as the exotic alloy. While Syloxi will not completely replace Parachrom, it may start becoming a staple feature of new watch designs.
Rolex suggest that Syloxi hairspring will have plenty of benefits; most notably, increasing the lifespan of watches. The first watch to incorporate this new design will be the jewellery versions of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 34. While this may seem like an odd choice, people have been speculating that – in true Rolex fashion – they deliberately chose to go against the grain and move in a direction that’s difficult to predict.
While Rolex will start to incorporate Syloxi into their ladies’ watches, men’s models will likely continue to use Parachrom – at least for now. Syloxi is currently only compatible with Rolex’s in-house calibre 2236 automatic movement; and the company has stated that it has resulted in an increased power reserve of 6 hours (55 hours in total.)
The Datejust Pearlmaster 34
The Datejust Pearlmaster 34 will contain the calibre 2236 movement. The Pearlmaster version of the Datejust has plenty of recognisable features, including the precious stone decoration, metal casing and individualistic bracelet construction. The 2014 model will come in either 18k yellow, white or rose gold; and each will contain full diamond set dials.
The announcement of Syloxi hairspring is even more surprising considering (for now) the technology will only be used in ladies’ models; and women traditionally aren’t a demographic that is interested in performance details. However, since Rolex has incorporated the technology into the 2236, no doubt they will start to use Syloxi in other future timepieces.
The Power of Silicon
The most powerful elements of silicon are that it doesn’t require any lubrication; it’s not affected by temperature; it doesn’t react to magnesium; and it’s one of the most stable compounds on the planet. These are all benefits that the traditional metal hairspring doesn’t have.
The benefits of using silicon in hairsprings have been long acknowledged and it’s been no secret that Rolex have been developing the technology. The Syloxi hairspring, however, is now a patented product; not only as a compound, but how it affects the balance wheel. Rolex have even gone on record stating that they are the best hairsprings that the company has to offer.
While there is currently speculation around Syloxi and how it will be utilized in the coming years, it’s still early days, and we can only hope that it finds its way into a wider range of models in the not-so-distant future.
Images courtesy of Rolex.