Inside a Rolex Submariner


Yea, all of my Rolexes look just like that inside.

1 Like

Wow. That was really good for me.

I wish I could go to an IMAX and watch a movie length version.

People ask me why I wear an automatic watch in the age of wearables. For me, it’s about knowing that I’ve got something on my person with the level of craft and precision this video exposed. Absolutely sublime.


I kind of have a split reaction to the video. One part of my brain is in awe of the attention to detail, the craftsmanship, and the connection to a history of technology that goes back centuries to a time before electricity.

At the same time, another part of my brain is screaming in agony at how needless and hideously baroque the whole thing is. That, and the thought of having to keep track of hundreds of little fingernail sliver sized bits of a $10,000 machine.


Mine are platinum plated and crusted with Swarovski crystals.

1 Like

I have something with similar function that I built for about $100 from very high quality Chinese parts. It is amazing that it can reliably gain only 4-5 seconds a week, has a sapphire crystal, and passed a 200m pressure test. The difference is a drop can add or subtract up to 5 sec a day as it vibrates the spring and regulating bar. Somehow the sound of the high speed movement quietly pinging away is like having a beautiful model train on my wrist even if mostly I cant see it in action, though I have the back off more than most users I suspect for regulation at a slightly OCD interval. There is something almost sexy about having a needlessly complicated mechanical device(compared to solid state), which actually is functional, with me most of the time.

The Rolex(3135?) movement and at least that of the GMT with the 3186, probably others too, has no regulating bar to adjust the usable length of the spring. Instead the weights on the balance wheel are swapped out until it is perfectly regulated, a massive PITA to DIY. It makes the watch way more shock proof as far as regulation is concerned though over time it is nice IMHO to be able to just regulate as balance jewel friction/lubrication changes.

If I were a 0.1%er I would probably break and get a GMT Master, but my watch does everything almost as well at home or in the cockpit and I put the thing together, modded what I wanted, and have had it all apart. Let me tell you the first few times with a GMT/date/hack complicated watch it is really stressful and backbreaking compared to a simple pocket watch or stopwatch.


Though many are now 100% clean room robot assembled, adjusted, and regulated. Perversely this means even the cheapest movements are now of amazing quality and it is the rest of the watch and assembly QA which has the opportunity to be crap.

There are some neat videos of watch movements on youtube.
This is one of my favorites below. As a lover of mechanical watches (have a vintage Speedmaster from the 70’s, a DateJust from the 60’s and two modern watches from Omega and IWC) it’s cool to see these things in detail.

I’ve read that watchmakers must work in silence because a sudden noise causes the eyes’ iris to involuntarily widen, changing one’s focus. I also noticed the small lip around the table, makes me wonder what the floor looks like and if there is a hazing ritual for a “new guy” dropping a part.

These watches are an incredible display of craftsmanship but isn’t it funny that a $10 Casio F91W is magnitudes more accurate?


Crystal oscillators are very simple and inexpensive, but in their own way are much more elegant than other types of harmonic oscillator clockworks. They just don’t look like traditional clockworks, and don’t benefit from periodic bathing.

1 Like

Say what you want about them, but the 1% have some nice toys.

1 Like

Yes, the good ol’ crystal oscillators…! Many fascinating areas with them; including the history, the wild fast development of the technology driven by the comm necessities of the WW2, the growth of synthetic crystals, the explosions when a several stories high hydrothermal growth reactor made of 8 inches thick steel suddenly fails at day 120 of 150 of a growth run…

…and the newer MEMS oscillators, and the thermally compensated crystals, and the other and more accurate clock sources, the GPS disciplined OCXO oscillators…

1 Like

Related to GPSDO style phase locked loops, I recently learned about the fantastic Shortt-Synchronome free pendulum clock (1921). This Shortt clock interactive animation is a thing of beauty.

So Johny Ive says “Switzerland is screwed” (by the forthcoming iWatch) and I for one hope he is right. This device belongs in a museum, not on anyone’s wrist.

These devices to me just seem like consumption for consumption’s sake.

Whereas the iWatch…


I’d be willing to bet that they last considerably longer than the equivalent iDevice and will remain useable and repairable for generations, so maybe not such a poor investment when looked at like that. But I grant you they’re very expensive.

These are real works of art. I’d really enjoy watching a video that was shot with a better close-up camera, with more lingering looks at each part of the watch.

The procedure looks just like the one I read about in my 1940s book on watchmaking. The older cleaner wasn’t so automated, though. Also, they regulated the timekeeping using a strip chart gizmo in the olden days.

Some day, I’ll get around to making a video of what it looks like when I build a Nixie watch in my home workshop. The world might like to know that.


Of course, another way to look at it is that this represents a good number of well-paid jobs, everything from manufacturing technicians to skilled assemblers, engineers, sales, marketing, and management, in a prosperous country. I’ve honestly never understood the problem people have with “consumption”. I’d much rather someone with money go and buy a product with it than shovel it into already bloated and overinflated financial markets. At least buying a product results in significant follow-on economic activity and employment.

I think it’s great that a company can continue to produce high quality products in an expensive manufacturing location like Switzerland. That’s a pretty good trick, really. The watch industry as a whole employs over 50,000 people in Switzerland alone, and those are all good paying, stable jobs, with excellent benefits. The world needs more of this sort of solid, stable employment in developed countries, not less.

1 Like

mechanical porn. just a feast. wow, that was cool to watch. thank you

has a built in expiration date?

1 Like