5 Desert Island Horological Hacks (Survivor: Rolex Edition)

Never mind finding a permanent source of drinking water. Don’t even bother building yourself a shelter. As long as the watch on your wrist is a Rolex – say perhaps a Rolex Submariner ref.116610LN – this misadventure that has you stranded on some uncharted island is sure to be a brief one.

Take notes, our five-step guide will have you out of the wilderness and back in your man cave faster than it took us to lose interest while reading Robinson Crusoe back in school.


Step 1: Figure out where you are

An analog watch face can be used to calculate cardinal points quite elegantly.

If you are in the northern hemisphere, hold your Submariner so that the watch faces up and point the hour hand towards the sun. Now bisect the angle formed (clockwise before noon and anticlockwise after) between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock mark. The imaginary line that runs through this point of bisection will point out south to you.

When in the southern hemisphere, hold the watch so that now the 12 o’clock mark is aligned with the sun. Bisect the angle formed between 12 o’clock and the hour hand with an imaginary line, and you’ll effectively have found north.

Step 2: Have a snack

Keep your energy up; activate your hunter-gatherer instincts. Put that Crossfit training to good use.

Your Submariner is made out of the 490 Vickers rated 904L steel, which requires a 250 ton press to stamp the watch’s initial oyster case. It’s more than adequate for breaking open even the most recalcitrant coconut. This exercise will also give you a taste for the smashing to follow should you be required to embark on the next step.

Step 3: Defend yourself

In the event that you’re discovered by native cannibals or some other wild creature, stand your ground. Your trusty Submariner is shockproof to 5,000Gs, unlike the mammalian skull, so slip your Submariner over your master hand, like you would brass knuckles and let ’em have it. The dial crystal isn’t as robust as the rest of the watch, though, so make like Ron Burgundy and avoid blows to the face (of the watch, that is. Attackers can get it straight in the nose.)

Bonus: your Submariner is also water resistant up to a thousand feet, so a quick dip in the water to get the blood of hostile forces off its surface will be nothing more than a refreshing pelagic interlude for your wrist.

Step 4: Signal for help

Now that you’ve proven your dominance over the island inhabitants, it’s time to get you home.

Focus the sun’s light on your Submariner’s crystal and use the reflection to attract passing ships. The polished dial crystal is sapphire, otherwise known as corundum, which has a much higher reflectivity than regular mineral glass. This, coupled with the scratch resistance of sapphire crystal means that your signalling rays will rank second only to Scott Summers’ eye-beams in terms of purity and power. Boats will be turning towards you in no time, if only for the crew to bash you to a pulp for temporarily blinding them. Prepare yourself equally for succour or aggression.

Step 5: Get that ride home

Unless you’ve somehow managed to flag down the Black Pearl — or more likely, a crew of Somali pirates — you’ll most likely be able to persuade them to take you back to civilization in exchange for your watch. Hide the watch about your person until they can guarantee you safe passage. The Submariner’s Parachrom hairspring, which is resistant to temperature changes, means you can even utilize a body cavity, if necessary, without worrying about the effect of your tropical-fevered insides on your certified chronometer.

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