Mined in only a few regions of the world, such as South Africa and Russia, platinum belongs to the family of platinoids, which also includes palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. It is among the densest and heaviest metals in the world, and is distinguished by certain unique chemical and physical properties such as exceptional corrosion resistance. Paradoxically, it is also soft, elastic and highly malleable, which makes machining and polishing especially difficult. At Rolex, the men and women who carry out the finishing of the bracelets and middle cases are well aware of the degree of experience required to master the fine art of polishing platinum.
Rare and precious, considered the noblest of metals, platinum is striking for its silvery whiteness and its vibrant luminosity. Known as far back as ancient Egypt and the pre-Columbian era, it was only discovered much later by Europeans. The secrets of shaping it, which are linked to its very particular physical proprieties, came to light even more recently. Since then, platinum has gradually risen to its current status as the ultimate metal of prestige. Particularly in jewellery, it showcases, like no other material, the precious stones set in it.
PRECIOUS STONES AND SOUL
But beyond its corrosion resistance, the exceptional luminosity of platinum gives it its special status. Whether in the form of a finished component or as a semi-refined raw material, platinum produces a white glow which gives it soul. For this reason, it is the jewellers’ metal of choice; like no other, it enables precious stones to gleam in all their splendour.