The myths about 316L and 904L steel

Discussion in 'Vintage Rolex Watches' started by Watchreport DE, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Watchreport DE

    Watchreport DE

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    Which is the best steel for my watch ? Why does 95% of the watch industrie use 316L steel?
    Why is Rolex using 904? Just a marketing reason?

    Here are some "hard facts" for using 904L on diver watches:

    the unit of measuremant is PRE ( pitting resistance equivalent )

    the value for so called saltwater resistant is 32 pre! (or higher)

    316L has a value of 24 pre

    904L is 35 pre

    Sinn Spezialuhren diver watches "U-models" with "German Submariner steel" got
    38 pre

    source © German Chronos / US watchtime


    @ Rolex thx for my completely wrapped 904L Deepsea ! ....... and the other 904 cases :lol:
  2. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Very interesting, Marcus. I always suspected Rolex knew what they were doing. :)

    Thanks for the info. :thumbsup:
  3. SSD

    SSD

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    Now that, finally, is an effective, easy to understand and complete answer. :thankyou:
  4. Carl

    Carl

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    :goodpost: Thanks very much for the info! In spite of the naysayers, it is obvious that there is a good reason for Rolex using the steel that they do.
    Cheers,
    Carl
  5. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Excellent stuff, Marcus! :goodpost:

    Thanks for sharing! :cheers:
  6. Pete17

    Pete17

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    Good post Marcus. Rolex do a lot of research before they introduce any new products.

    Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk Pro
  7. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    On the other hand, Marcus, didn't you show me pics (in an email) of a SINN watch actually sporting rust under the endpieces and along the caseback?
  8. Watchreport DE

    Watchreport DE

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    that was caused by using 2 differnet types of steels in salt water!
    like in an electrochemic reaction
  9. Pete17

    Pete17

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    My German is a little "rusty" but I think you're drawing a long bow there mate.
    Rust is rust in my book, no matter what causes it.

    That's why German Submariners wish their submarines were made out of 904L......:rofl:
  10. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Would that have been steel 316L for the bracelet on that SINN and then "U-Boot Stahl" ("submarine steel") for the case?

    BTW.: Rolex has also used steel 316L for its BRACELETS up to the introduction of the Deepsea (where everything is steel 904L like you stated).

    And up to the introduction of the Rolex Submariner ref. 168000, the Rolex CASES were made of steel 316L, too.
  11. Watchreport DE

    Watchreport DE

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    you get every material rusty, even Titan.

    when the Sinn Substeel starts to rust the 316 has already done so
  12. Pete17

    Pete17

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    I think the problem with the Sinn U1 range of watches ( I love them by the way) is that they are bead blasted.
    I used to own a few knives that had a bead blasted finish on the blades and they attracted rust like honey attracts bees.
    I was forever cleaning them.
  13. Watchreport DE

    Watchreport DE

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    the U series never had a problem with the 316 bracelets, just with the 1. series of rubber strap.
    But this is a long time ago
  14. Pete17

    Pete17

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    Thanks Marcus, that's good info to know.
    i'm glad they sorted it out.

    I was in town the other day and we have a Sinn AD now. I popped in to have a look.
    The U1 is an awesome watch at a great price.
  15. Goldbug

    Goldbug

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    Now I know why and have the reasoning behind it. I figured Rolex knew what they were doing but didn't know exactly until know. Thanks!

    :goodpost:


    John
  16. kenhiraihnl

    kenhiraihnl

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    Recently, I wore my Milgauss 116400V every day for about 2 months. I noticed a rash where the mirror finish of the clasp contacted my wrist. I did some research, and believe I might have developed a nickel allergy. I applied a strip of clear tape to the clasp, and so far, it seems to work. I notice that names of 316L show Cr first, i.e., X2CrNiMo17-12-3, whereas 904L shows Ni first i.e., X1NiCrMoCu25-20-5. Maybe that’s the explanation for the contact dermatitis with 904L and not having a problem wearing my 5512 Sub? Or the type stainless steel was not as significant as exceeding my tolerance threshold for nickel? Or my experience is just another myth?
  17. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Well, our fellow member, "Artravel" has earlier posted what the exact composition of both steel types is:


    As you can see, interestingly steel 904L has a lot higher Nickel content..

    So - in theory - the higher Nickel contents of the steel 904L COULD be the cause of allergic reactions. BUT imho it's also a question of how well the Nickel is "bonded" in the steel.
  18. Watchreport DE

    Watchreport DE

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    here are some scary pics with old Rolex steel


    pics by who ?

    Attached Files:

  19. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Whoa! That's serious corrosion / steel pitting! :yikes:
  20. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Here is a good example of WHY Rolex chose to omit the green caseback sticker with the early Z-series... :yikes:

    Not only did the green caseback stickers collect bacteria, but salty sweat and sea water could be trapped under the sticker, causing corrosion / steel pitting:

    [​IMG]
    (Picture from a still running Danish for sale listing).