It came to my attention the other day that there may be a bit of a mystery about Rolex’s new Calibre 3235, the movement in the just-released (at Baselworld 2016) Datejust 41. Presumably, this is the evolutionary follow-on to the 3135, an update more significant than that of the 3136 found in the Datejust II (which apparently only added proprietary shock absorbers to the balance wheel support system).
Rolex Calibre 3136 used in the Datejust II
The 3235 was first announced last year as the engine in the 39mm version of the Pearlmaster, the rainbow bejeweled Datejust Rolex added to the line last summer. But there’s precious little actual information to be found, other than from our friends over at A Blog to Watch.
The 3235 seems to be closely related to the 3255 day-date movement that was introduced at Baselworld last year (2015). They both boast (on the Rolex website) of 14 new patents, fundamental gains in precision, power reserve (70 hours), resistance to shock and magnetic fields. The new patented Chronergy escapement is made of nickel-phosphorus, and the hairspring is Parachrom. Both are pretty much impervious to magnetic fields.
Rolex Calibre 3255, used in the Day-Date 40
My concerned source felt that, at 70 hours power reserve and the mainspring barrel size that would require, the movement would need to be upwards of 33mm.
And, assuming the 3235 is the future of date-only calibres in the Rolex lineup, it was thus going to add millimeters to the waistline of watches like the Submariner.
Can you see it? A 42mm Sub from Rolex!? Neither of us thought that was likely.
But, once again, the Rolex website to the rescue (sort of…). I quote, “Thanks to a new barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3235 extends to approximately 70 hours.”
But that’s it. Is the new barrel architecture thicker (not really desirable)? Larger in diameter (ditto on the desirability factor)? Thinner walled (not likely, when they’re boasting of reliability)?
So, campers… are we chasing a red herring? Or have we found a mysterious hint at the form and size future Rollies might take?