Some people love it; some people hate it. But no matter which view you hold, it cannot be denied that “Cyclops” (small window convex lens) is a prominent iconic feature of Rolex. The Cyclops convex lens is named after the giant Cyclops of Sicily in Greek mythology. Rolex patented it in the early 1950s and launched it with the Datejust watch in 1953.
A 1945 Rolex Datejust watch (in 1953, the Datejust series was the first to use Cyclops convex lenses, but as shown in the picture, the earliest Datejust watches were not equipped with this feature)
In a letter in February 1953, Wilsdorf wrote: “I am convinced that the new Tropical case and mirror, as well as the optical magnification element, will bring us something completely new.”
A 1955 Rolex GMT Master watch
A 1956 day-date watch
The Cyclops convex lens was soon extended to all Oyster watches with a date display function. The GMT-Master and the Day-Date series launched in 1955 and 1956, were also equipped with this function. The only exception is the deep submersible series, which does not have a Cyclops convex lens due to technical reasons regarding the shape and thickness of the mirror.
Initially, the Cyclops convex lens and mirror were integrally molded from Plexiglas. In the 1970s, watchmakers began replacing Plexiglas with sapphire crystal, which was more scratch-resistant. In the early 1970s, sapphire crystal was first used in the Ref. 5100 Oyster Quartz watch and expanded to the entire product range. Therefore, the Cyclops convex lens has also evolved into a separate sapphire crystal lens, produced separately and adhered to the mirror surface. After 2005, Rolex also treated it with a double-sided anti-glare coating.
The date window of the Rolex Datejust, 41 mm watch, is equipped with a Cyclops convex lens.
The magnification effect of Cyclops convex lenses is quite impressive, and it is even more practical for older adults. The Cyclops convex lens has attracted countless fans for Rolex, but this does not mean there are no negative voices. Critics complained that the bubbles would crack the flat mirror, destroying the overall coordination of the watch’s design, while the slightly raised lens was also more susceptible to scratches. Imitation Rolex.
So, support or oppose? This topic has always been hotly debated. For example, the launch of the Sea-Dweller watch equipped with a Cyclops convex lens for the first time in 2017 caused great controversy among Rolex fans and even became one of the most controversial topics at the Basel Watch and Jewelry Show that year. For 50 years, clean mirror surfaces have been the distinctive feature of the Sea-Dweller series. Rolex explains that in the past, due to technical reasons (the mirror was highly curved to cope with extreme water depth and high pressure), the Sea-Dweller series was not equipped with Cyclops convex lenses, but now the problem has been solved. “If you can, why not? After all, the Cyclops lens is the signature element of all Rolex watches with a date display window.”
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm 126600 watch is controversial. Since the launch of the Sea-Dweller series in 1967, this is the first watch equipped with a Cyclops convex lens.
Currently, the Submersible is the only watch with a date display window but not equipped with a Cyclops convex lens. To achieve water resistance up to 3,900 meters, the deep dive swiss replica watch uses an extra-thick sapphire crystal, so installing a convex lens is no longer possible. We can only wait for Rolex to find a new solution.
The Rolex Submersible 126660 watch is currently the only one with a date display window without a Cyclops convex lens.
When searching the Internet, you can even see modification attempts by some people to remove the Cyclops convex lens from their Rolex watches (strongly not recommended). Of course, some people have upgraded their watches with the help of Cyclops convex lenses. In addition to its practicality, the Cyclops lens has become one of Rolex’s most iconic features. Even though some competitors have used or are using convex lenses, such as Seiko, TAG Heuer, and Cartier (some brands even put them under the mirror), the Cyclops convex lens belongs only to Rolex. Without the Cyclops convex lens, the Datejust would not be what it is today.
Band Width: 22mm
Dial Color: Deep Blue Dial
Case Thickness: 18mm
Case Size: 44mm