“Cyclops” gives you a glimpse into the wider world of Rolex.

Some people love them, some people hate them. But whichever view one takes, it cannot be denied that the Cyclops is one of Rolex’s iconic features, a highly innovative invention designed to magnify the calendar window and highlight the time (1945. The Cyclops convex lens, named after the Sicilian giant Cyclops in Greek mythology, was patented by replica Rolex watches  in the early 1950s and introduced with the Chronomat in 1953.

A 1945 Rolex Datejust watch (In 1953, the Datejust series first adopted Cyclops convex lens, but as shown in the picture, the earliest datejust watch did not have this function)
A 1945 Rolex Datejust watch (In 1953, the Datejust series first adopted Cyclops convex lens, but as shown in the picture, the earliest datejust watch did not have this function)

What led to the invention of the Cyclops convex lens? Certain sources claim that Hans Wilsdorf invented the Cyclops to help his wife read the date on his wristwatch (note: a reference to his second wife, Betty Wilsdorf Mettler, as his first wife, May Wilsdorf Crotty, had died in 1944), though of course this claim has not been confirmed by Rolex.

In a February 1953 letter, Wilsdorf wrote: “I am sure that the new Tropical case and mirror, as well as the optical magnifying element, will give us something completely new.” With this in mind, and in order to protect innovation, Rolex issued a “warning statement” in 1955: “To all watchmakers, we draw your attention to the fact that watch mirrors with specially shaped magnifying glasses are patented by Rolex, both in Switzerland and abroad. We will not hesitate to take legal action against any counterfeit.”

A 1955 Rolex Greenwich watch
A 1955 Rolex Greenwich watch
A 1956 day-date watch
A 1956 day-date watch

The Cyclops convex lens was soon extended to all Oyster watches with a date display, and the Greenwich and Day-Date models, introduced in 1955 and 1956 respectively, were also equipped with this feature. The only exception was the Deep Diver, which was not fitted with a Cyclops convex lens for technical reasons relating to the shape and thickness of the lens.

In the early 1970s, the sapphire crystal was first used on the Ref. 5100 Oyster Quartz, then extended to the entire range. Since 2005, Rolex has also applied an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the lens.

Cyclops convex lens
Cyclops convex lens

The Cyclops convex lens has attracted an untold number of fans to Rolex, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t voices on the opposite side. Critics have complained that air bubbles can cut through the flat lens and disrupt the overall harmony of the watch’s design, while the slightly raised lens is also more susceptible to scratches.

So for, or against? The topic has been in the midst of a heated debate. For example, the introduction of the Aquamarine, which was fitted with the Cyclops convex lens for the first time in 2017, sparked a great deal of controversy among the Rolex fan base and even became one of the most controversial topics at Baselworld that year, as the cleanliness of the crystal has been a defining characteristic of the Aquamarine collection for 50 years. Rolex explained that the Cyclops had not been fitted in the past for technical reasons (the lens is highly curved to cope with extreme water depths and high pressures), but that the problem had now been solved. “If you can, why not? After all, the Cyclops convex lens is an iconic element of all Rolex watches with date display windows.”

The Rolex Deep Diving 126660 watch is currently the only watch with a date display window but not equipped with a Cyclops convex lens.
The Rolex Deep Diving 126660 watch is currently the only watch with a date display window but not equipped with a Cyclops convex lens.

Currently, the only watch that has a date window but is not fitted with a Cyclops convex lens is the Deep Submariner. In order to achieve water resistance to a depth of 3,900 meters, the Deep Submersible is fitted with an extra thick sapphire crystal and therefore can no longer be fitted with a convex lens. We will have to wait for Rolex to come up with a new solution.

Searching the web, one can even see some attempts to remove the Cyclops lens from a Rolex (highly discouraged), and of course, some people have upgraded their watches with it. Beyond its practicality, the Cyclops lens has become one of Rolex’s most iconic features. Even though some of its competitors have used or are using them, such as Seiko, TAG Heuer and Cartier (some even place them underneath the lens), the Cyclops lens belongs only to Rolex. It’s safe to say that without the Cyclops convex lens, the Logbook would not be the Logbook model it is today.

Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.

In 2015, replica Rolex watches added a new addition to the Pearlmaster watch collection with the Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 – where for the first time a range of interesting stone decorative varieties were introduced. It’s this type of watch that has allowed Rolex to earn its due among certain audiences, while at the same time making the brand’s annoying fan base greatly interested in its more classic sports watches.

Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.
Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.

While the Rolex Pearlmaster is often considered a ladies’ watch (often referred to as the “Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster” in smaller case sizes), this new 39mm wide model does have a distinctly feminine touch, but I also know the truth will appeal to male customers everywhere. For this reason, I feel that wearing what is essentially a woman’s watch, at least for some clients, is good enough for men to make me uncomfortable. Of course, this is an interesting phenomenon, as most women’s watches are actually smaller versions of men’s watches, and the opposite is not often the case.

Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.
Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.

As far as I know, every Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster watch has some type of gemstone decoration (at least, that I’ve ever seen). The collection appears to be an “official” or decorative version of the Rolex Lady-Datejust. The Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster watch collection started with a compact 29mm version with a maximum width of 34mm and is now 39mm. Each of them shares a special bracelet, which is certainly more “jewel-like” than most other Rolex bracelets. Rolex simply refers to this five chain bracelet as the “Pearlmaster” and it is very smooth and comfortable to move the chain and wear.

Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.
Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch with caliber 3235.

The 2015 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 39 watch collection has many similarities with another 2015 Rolex launch. Both the Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 39 and the new Rolex Day-Date 40 watches (hands-on here) share the fact that they are the first watches to include ceramic inserts in a gold bracelet (more on that later). and the 3235 series of movements. The Rolex Day-Date 40 watch includes the Rolex 3255 automatic movement instead of the 3235, but as far as I know, the only major difference is the addition of the day-of-the-week indicator disc in the 3255, while the 3235 has the time and date.

So, let’s discuss the movement. I actually recommend anyone interested in sports read our discussion above about the 2015 Rolex Day-Date 40 watch. I call these watches perhaps the best timepieces Rolex has produced to date. What makes the 3235 caliber different is its focus on accuracy. In addition to providing a standard COSC chronograph rating for each individual movement, Rolex now uses its own series of tests to ensure accuracy and reliability over time – they are simply called “Rolex Chronograph Tests”.