I always had a certain misconception about Rolex, this probably stems from knowing an East End market trader, who for as long as I have known him has always worn a solid gold Rolex of some description, I’m pretty sure it’s a day date, but in typical wide boy, market trader fashion, he’s always on the phone sorting out his next deal whilst the other arm is gesticulating around in the air, so I have never managed to get a good look at the watch in question. The more I think about it, the more I realise that the watch is probably just as fake as the Gucci handbags that he flogs from his market stall.
But that’s the view I had about the brand, expensive, blingy and the sort of thing you bought to show off how much money you had.
Turns out I was wrong! Whilst doing some research about Rolex online (I won’t bore you with my findings, if your on my site I’m guessing you know all about Rolex and what they do etc) I kept stumbling on reports about the BLNR, about what a special watch it was and how there are waiting lists in some cases of up to 2 years. The more I looked at pictures of this watch the more my appetite was whetted and the more I really wanted to handle one in the flesh.
I put a call into ‘the one’ (if you are not sure who ‘the one’ is then you obviously havent read my blog), and it wasn’t too long before I got the call to say it had arrived.
As soon as the assistant presented it to me I was smitten and I knew I was going to be walking out of the shop with it.
- Case diameter:40mm
- Lug width:
- Crown: Screw down trip-lock at 3 o’clock
- Date: Date with cyclops at 3 o’clock
- Bezel: Bidirectional rotatable 24-hour graduated bezel. Two-colour blue and black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, engraved numerals and graduations
- Crystal: Sapphire glass
- Water resistance: 100m
- Movement: 3186 automatic
The first thing that really struck me was the bracelet, which is made from 904L stainless steel. I had expected to be put off by the polished centre links, but actually, this really helped sell the watch to me and adds a dressier dimension to what is classed as a sports model watch. The polished centre links are absolute scratch magnets though, and it didn’t take me long to pick up a few scratches here and on the clasp. The clasp itself has an easy link extension which I have found very useful on several occasions, when you get hot your wrist expands slightly making your watch tight, but by opening the easy link extension you gain an extra 5mm to provide extra comfort when this happens.
The BLNR has a calibre 3186 movement, which is an automatic mechanical movement completely built and assembled in-house by Rolex. The movement features a “Parachrom hairspring, offering greater resistance to shocks and to temperature variations.”
As well as the usual hour, minute and seconds hands, it also has the 24 hour GMT a 24-hour hand to display a second time zone. The 24 hour hand can be independently set as not to interfere with the time keeping of the watch, perfect if you’re a jet setter travelling across continents, I rarely travel outside of europe so my 24 hour hand is usually set to home time!
As you would expect from a COSC certified Rolex the timekeeping is excellent verging on perfect, on the wrist my watch over the course of a week deviated by around 2 seconds last time I did any sort of scientific timing experiment!
Where it’s all going on for me though with this watch is the dial and bezel.
The bezel is made from Cerachrom (a proprietary Rolex made material) with the upper half, between 18 and 6 in black, signifying night, and the lower half, between 6 and 18 in blue, signifying day. The way that the blue half of the bezel changes colour is something quire remarkable and difficult to explain. Depending on the lighting, the bezel can be the brightest blue you can imagine, if you turn the wrist slightly it can become sky blue and then if the light goes it changes again to a very dark, navy blue, almost black. In fact in some lights the blue turns so dark its difficult to see where the blue ends and the black starts. It’s this colour changing feature that makes the watch very versatile, ive worn this watch in jeans and a t-shirt at the park with the kids where the bezel takes an almost playful appearance, and ive also worn it in the boardroom where the bezel is darker and more serious looking.
The jet black, glossy dial which is completely free of any sort of texture really helps the bezel to stand out. It also makes the thin blue GMT hand stand out in contrast against the blackness of the dial.
The hands and hour markers, which are large and easy to read, are made from 18ct white gold and house the cool blue lume, which i believe to be Rolex chromalight. It doesn’t take much exposure to light and the lume lights up and stays this way for a decent amount of time.