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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I stepped into a Mayors and spoke with a gentlemen that was very knowlegeable about watches. One thing that always gets me, and this is something I have known for years, is that they measure you up based on the watch you have on. You may not notice, but they spot you, for the most part, from your entrance into the store. He already knew that I had a PO on since I had it on my wrist and more than likely I was an Omega guy--however, such an assumption is a little bit extreme. I went over to look at the Sea Dweller since it has always been grabbing my attention.

In looking at the SD a conversation sparked. I guess I should have seen it coming since I had an Omega on and I was looking at a Rolex. Just a note: I was going in to look around, no intention of buying whatsoever. In speaking with him be brought up that Rolex's are all made in Switzerland and so are all the parts. He said that this is something that seperates Rolex from many other brands such as Omega. That caught my attention since I know about the "Swiss Made" law and there is a certain percentage of parts in a watch that have to be made or assembled in Switzerland in order to carry the title. Either way, I am not to sure what it is.

Nevertheless, my point is about Omega and all of its parts. Since I know there are members here that know so much, I thought I would post a thread and ask away. Are Omega's in fact made carrying parts from other countries? Are the movement assembled by hand, partly by hand, or completely automated?

I am just curious.

I would also bet that not all the parts in a Rolex are swiss made. I mean, it is just not feasible. :confused1:


Edit: one more thing. He also added that the GMT by Rolex has gold, and that that gold is actually mined by Rolex itself. Is this true?
 

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Edit: one more thing. He also added that the GMT by Rolex has gold, and that that gold is actually mined by Rolex itself. Is this true?
I can't find anything now to verify that, but does it make much sense that Rolex would have a gold mining operation to supply them with the gold they use in their watches?

Do they mine their own diamonds?

Own their own steel mills?

From what I understand, Rolex buys ETA movements and reworks them to their own specifications.

I'm still learning about watches, but there are a number of things about which I have become quite knowledgeable, so that I could make good decisions when making expensive purchases, and I can tell you that some sales people are astonishingly ignorant when it comes to the products they sell and apparently, they think all their customers are, too.

In fact, it's kind of a game with me. When I go to the store, I've done enough research to know what I want and what a good price is. I don't need to ask questions of the pimply-faced saleschild, but I do so anyway just to get a few good laughs.
 

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Possibly the leather straps on Omega models come from other countries, but I don't see this as bad, because everything is made with great care and attention. Do you really think the Swiss country has enough deposits of gold and diamonds ??

But I am pretty sure the watches are "swiss made". I think only the raw materials come from other countries.
 

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Grady: Some Rolex fans would strangle you after a statment like you just wrote, Rolex currently uses its own in house movements. They make a big deal out of this, part of their mystique. Years ago they did use out of house movements.
 

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I can't find anything now to verify that, but does it make much sense that Rolex would have a gold mining operation to supply them with the gold they use in their watches?
No, Rolex's value add is in making watches, not raw materials. The exception to this is their Parachrom Blu hairspring material which Rolex makes in house out of a proprietary blend of Niobium and Zirconium under extremely high pressure and temperature. This also makes Rolex about the only manufacturer that doesn't use Nivarox.

Perhaps, your salesman was a little off on their statement as Rolex does in fact smelt their own gold. They don't mine it, but they do melt it, blend it with other trace metals, and produce a harder wearing material. This also allows them to make their own unique rose gold that will not change color. There is a nice video of this on the Rolex website.

Do they mine their own diamonds?
No, the DeBeers supply the diamonds (along with ~80% of the world's supply of diamonds). This ensures that they are not "conflict diamonds" used to finance wars.

Own their own steel mills?
Rolex sources their special 904L blend of steel from an Austrian company. AFAIK, they are the only producer using this steel. Most other producers use a 300 series steel.

From what I understand, Rolex buys ETA movements and reworks them to their own specifications.
They do, but only for their Tudor line. All watches with the Rolex name use a Rolex produced movement that is fully made in house. They really go to extremes making every part. The only bit I am not sure about is the jewels. They might source those from a jewel specialist.

I'm still learning about watches, but there are a number of things about which I have become quite knowledgeable, so that I could make good decisions when making expensive purchases, and I can tell you that some sales people are astonishingly ignorant when it comes to the products they sell and apparently, they think all their customers are, too.
Unfortunately this is too often true. Many people working in watch sales aren't enthusiasts like us. They are just folks working their job with less than perfect information.
 

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Grady: Some Rolex fans would strangle you after a statment like you just wrote, Rolex currently uses its own in house movements. They make a big deal out of this, part of their mystique. Years ago they did use out of house movements.
Thanks for setting me straight.

I'm always looking for more and better information.

You, too, bullandvodka.
 

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An example of a non in-house movement Rolex is an old Daytona (1988-2000). They feature a Zenith El-Primero caliber.
 

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Thanks for setting me straight.

I'm always looking for more and better information.

You, too, bullandvodka.
No worries Grady. I try to be helpful when I can. I hope that post didn't come across as too curt. There is a lot of information out there, but sadly Rolex more often tends to keep their cards to their chest. One has to collect bits from many different sources. Companies like Rolex and Omega have been around for 100 years or more, so it is hard to speak in absolutes. As Slife stated, while today Rolex makes their own movements, for a period in the 70s and 80s Rolex's highest end sports watch contained a movement from Zenith (and an excellent one at that). So there are some variances. Likewise, Omega had periods where they made their own movements, then the current period where they source from ETA and modify. Now, Omega is making at least 1 movement in-house.

Things change over time. That is what keeps watches fun. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No worries Grady. I try to be helpful when I can. I hope that post didn't come across as too curt. There is a lot of information out there, but sadly Rolex more often tends to keep their cards to their chest. One has to collect bits from many different sources. Companies like Rolex and Omega have been around for 100 years or more, so it is hard to speak in absolutes. As Slife stated, while today Rolex makes their own movements, for a period in the 70s and 80s Rolex's highest end sports watch contained a movement from Zenith (and an excellent one at that). So there are some variances. Likewise, Omega had periods where they made their own movements, then the current period where they source from ETA and modify. Now, Omega is making at least 1 movement in-house.

Things change over time. That is what keeps watches fun. :thumbup:

That Rolex-Omega movement situation you brought up is really interesting.
 

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Here are some articles Pals.


The first is a famous one, in two parts, about the ETA2892

http://www.chronometrie.com/eta2892/eta2892.html


from which came Omega's cal 1120 and here below, an extract from an essay by a rather well-known writer known to you and I ;) :thumbup1:


The Omega cal. 1120 is an amazing movement, and an excellent choice for this watch. The movement was first introduced in 1996, and Omega uses the ETA 2892-A2 as the base ebauche, and heavily modifies it to produce the 1120. The base ETA 2892-A2 is widely considered the best movement ever produced by ETA (first introduced in 1975, with a lineage going back much further with Eterna). Many, many high end watch manufacturers (like IWC and Cartier) also use the 2892-A2 as a base movement. Why? Well, cost is no doubt a factor. However, I submit that many watch companies all come to the same conclusion: They could spend the money to design and manufacture their own movement in-house and still not match the technical marvel which is the 2892-A2. Don’t take my word for it – research the treasure trove of articles on Timezone by such horological luminaries as Walt Odets and others who closely examine the attributes of the 2892-A2.

So Omega doesn’t begin with a low end movement in the 2892-A2; neither do they simply slap a coat of paint on it to create the Omega 1120. Two extra jewels are added to the 2892-A2 (the 1120 is a 23-jewel movement), rhodium plating, and other extensive modifications designed to increase precision, durability, and quality – the end result is a chronometer grade movement and a true marvel of Swiss ingenuity and engineering. The Omega 1120 may not be an “in house” movement (designed and manufactured completely by Omega) but it certainly is what I call an “in family” movement – ETA and Omega are both divisions of the Swatch Company. To those who would dismiss the Omega Cal. 1120 simply on the basis of it not being an “in-house” movement, I invite you to read an article by Carlos A. Perez entitled, "On The Ebauche Tradition." - John Holbrook II


On The Ebauche Tradition -

http://www.timezone.com/library/cjrml/cjrml0030



and the development which became the Co-Axial cal 2500


http://www.timezone.com/library/horologium/horologium631670193290479607


John again writing in InSync on the Co-Axial movement -

http://watchtalkforums.info/forums/showthread.php?t=266


I think you'll probably agree that with each successive development, what was already an " in-family " movement has become very much, an Omega movement. Thanks to this process of evolution, the cal 8500/8501 will take Omega and us into an exciting new age :thumbup:


http://watchtalkforums.info/forums/showthread.php?t=288



Enjoy and be well pals


ZIN
 

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That was all very good stuff Zin. However, there is now nothing that could shake my confidence in the original Omega/Lemania based movement that's spinning our Speedys!
Mike
 

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"The Omega 1120 may not be an “in house” movement (designed and manufactured completely by Omega) but it certainly is what I call an “in family” movement – ETA and Omega are both divisions of the Swatch Company. To those who would dismiss the Omega Cal. 1120 simply on the basis of it not being an “in-house” movement, I invite you to read an article by Carlos A. Perez entitled, "On The Ebauche Tradition." - John Holbrook II"
Any way to make this required reading before a member can post to the Rolex Forum, Zin? :biggrin:
 
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