By Harlan Chapman-Green
Rolex is well known for putting lots of writing on the dials of its watches. For instance, the Daytona practically has War and Peace written on it and lots of that might not even mean anything if the owner of said piece isn’t that interested in the watch they have chosen. However, in the event that they would like to know more about it then this is the one to read, in fact, even aficionados might be interested to find out about some of the more and less common terms that Rolex uses.
This is both a term used by modern-day Rolex and also a model of watch they made way back near the beginning. Rolex has a long history of working with the most up to date designs for the period. Back at the start, it was not commonplace to make a watch that was completely water resistant. Much like older cars which are operated in a completely different way, so too were watches that offered some moisture protection. The Oyster watch from Rolex completely changed this by hermetically sealing the movement inside the case using a system of gaskets, something used on modern Haute Horlogerie watches from the likes of Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, though, not to the same depth rating.
The perpetual text on the dial is another tribute to the past of the company. Although Rolex was not the first to make a watch powered by the movements of the owner (such mechanisms existed well over a century beforehand), Rolex did develop the winding system we know today from the designs of an English watchmaker named John Harwood. They made a couple of improvements which included the amount of power put into the mainspring by the winding mechanism as well as removing the ‘bumper’ system where the rotor would only move 300 degrees instead of 360. It’s a fascinating history that we really should write about some time.
Superlative Chronometer – Officially Certified
This is an interesting one and very important not to mix with the chronograph, a similar sounding but completely different term. Superlative is a word Rolex uses and has done for a long time, it’s not in itself related to the watch other than to say it’s of a superlative build quality. Rolex manufactures chronometer rated movements, that is to say, the watch meets the requirements of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. You can find out more about it on our Lexicon page.
To understand the term Everose and the meaning behind it, we need to understand a bit about metals. Rose gold is an alloy made up primarily of yellow gold, but also silver and copper. Over time the colours will fade on rose gold, some calling it a patina, that’s purely subjective though as some think faded rose gold looks awful. Everose gold is a secretive mix which adds platinum to ensure it doesn’t ever fade over time.
Parachrom Blu Hairspring
“A blue part in a watch where the movement isn’t even visible?” you say, “who thought that through?”. Detail, my dear Watson, does not depend on whether it’s visible. The blue hairspring utilises an antimagnetic alloy to resist modern day life’s magnetic interferences. It also makes use of a Breguet Overcoil which bends the spring back over itself to allow a smoother delivery of power over a period of time.
This is the quality of the metal used in Rolex watches. 904L is a surgical grade of steel made in Rolex’ very own metal foundry. The benefits of 904L steel over 316L steel are so very tiny it won’t make a difference unless you plan on swimming in sulphur. 316L does have a lower nickel content so could be more useful for those with a nickel allergy.
This is the name Rolex uses to describe two tone watches i.e. 904L steel and yellow gold.
Rolex’ name for the ceramic bezels used on its sports watches.
Stands for Blue Noir, the actual name of the GMT Master II with the 2 tone bezel.
The classical 5 piece Rolex style bracelet used on the DateJust as well as some early sports watches.
A name for the Pearlmaster, a President that’s been heavily encrusted with jewels.
For more info, please visit rolex.com