Bolex-Rolex: An Unusual Pairing of Swiss Precision Timekeeping Tools
The venerable Bolex Rex-5 16mm motion picture camera was and still is a mechanical timekeeping marvel, engineered to intermittently pull 16mm double-perforated motion picture film through a precision spring-wound movement at highly-accurate frame rates ranging from 12-64 frames per second. It combines a versatile 3-lens turret with an improved 13x reflex viewfinder (on later production models such as this), making this compact hand-holdable design a go-anywhere, battery-free, professional filmmaking machine.
Pictured here with the Bolex is the Rolex GMT-Master II (reference #16710) automatic watch in stainless steel with a bi-directional rotating “Pepsi” bezel. First issued to Pan Am Airways flight crews in the 1950’s, this later model GMT-Master II is an Officially Certified Superlative Chronometer accurate to +/- 2 sec. per day, and can track three separate timezones simultaneously at a glance.
Also seen here is a Vintage Rolex Submariner (reference #5513) automatic diver’s watch from 1979 in stainless steel, featuring a unidirectional rotating bezel and Rolex’s patented Triplock winding crown for waterproof operation to depths of 200 metres. This highly-desirable example features a well-patina’d black Mk III maxi “Lollipop” dial.
Lastly, a Rolex Submariner Date (reference #16613) automatic diver’s watch seen here in 18kt gold and stainless steel. Known as the “Bluesy” with its striking, radiating blue dial and beautiful gilt text, this Submariner Date is an Officially Certified Superlative Chronometer accurate to +/- 2-sec. per day, and is waterproof to 300 metres.
Both the Bolex and Rolex are striking examples of precision tools designed to gauge and to later recall life’s precious moments by giving form and meaning to time in different ways. In all their complexity, one message is clear —Time is fleeting. Use your time wisely.
Ed. note - My fascination with these two iconic Swiss brands dates back to the early 1970’s when I became aware of the power of film and enamored with the life of adventure promoted by notable explorers, artists, scientists and athletes of the day. The camera and watches are from my personal collection.
Keywords: 16mm, Bluesy, Bolex, Bolex Rex V, Bolex Rex-5, Bolex-Rolex, GMT-Master II, Pepsi, Rex-5, Rolex, Submariner, Swiss Timekeeping
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