The Rolex Cyclops Lens

Is the Cyclops Lens Quintessentially Rolex?

Things change. You adapt. You learn.

First you hate it. The Cyclops date magnification lens. You cannot think of anything but hating it. That ugly blob of sapphire over the date window. That unnecessary disturbance of the sapphire crystal’s clear and flat elegance. That unnecessary magnifier for old people who can’t remember what day it is. It destroys the looks of so many Rolexes. Watches that otherwise could be pretty.


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Then you still hate it. And then you hate it even more. Even if you have it right on your arm, ontop of the watch you wear, the Rolex you actually wear.

And then… you someday… understand… you find out that… if something is indeed quintessentially Rolex… it’s the Cyclops. There is nothing else more essential Rolex. Uach, sorry, gotta throw up…

Just kidding. Finally you love the Cyclops for exactly that reason. There is simply nothing more Rolex than the Cyclops. Rolex is a tool watch company. A Rolex is all about dedication. Usefulness. That they are popular, that they are beautiful, that they are cult is just a byproduct of… usefulness. And that also is the only point of the Cyclops: it is useful.

A watch without it may be a real Rolex with anything it needs, an Oyster case, a triplock crown, even with the laser rehaut… but it lacks something at the same time. Something essential.

Ok, Rolex did not use a lot of effort finding an attractive name for that quite unattractive thing. ‘Cyclops’. Just say it a few times: Cyclops, Cyclops, CYCLOPS, cYcLOPS. Say it and try to like it at the same time. ‘Cyclops’. There is simply not one association to this word that would be positive, even slightly advantageous. It lets you think of something huge, something nasty, a humanoid thing with one eye on its forehead. Lets you think of things quite unpleasant. ‘Klops’ (written with a k instead of the c) in german means something like meat loaf. This is all quite repelling. This is supposed to be part of a luxury watch, elegance, perfection, beauty, … Cyclops ? On the other hand: the name fits this… ‘thing’… quite perfectly.

At first I tried to avoid it buying a Sea-Dweller 4000 Ref. 116600, the only Rolex with a date but without the clops. Then I tried to ignore it on the Yacht-Master Ref. 116622. Then I wanted the GMT Ref. 16710 so badly that I would have bought it even if it had two Cyclopses. Then I was happy that the Explorer Ref. 114270 didn’t have one anyway. And then…

And then I wore the 16710 for months. What a beauty, what an elegant and comfortable watch. Despite that Cyclops. And then I began to utterly like the Cyclops - wearing the GMT, on it, on top of it. You could recognize what kind of watch you were wearing by… the Cyclops on the crystal. How it reflects the light. How it thrones on the crystal, giving it character. Giving it purpose. No other watch has that.

And then I found myself thinking: perhaps I need a Sub Date with a Cyclops - because that is a Rolex! That exactly is a Rolex. The watch with the utter courage for uglyness. The watch that values toolness (and coolness) and practicallity over everything else. The watch that does everything possible for you to be able to read the date. The watch that even bears uglyness for you to be practical and toolish. A Rolex. No other watch would do that for you! With a Cyclops. A watch that gives everything for… you. Its wearer. Its owner. Its master. A watch hat sacrifices its beauty for your comfort. And that dedication, that utter selflessness in the end makes it even more beautiful.

That is a Rolex with a Cyclops lens.


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