Rolex is deeply associated with status, history, and tradition. Its reputation as a luxury brand makes it easy to forget that it is also an industry innovator, constantly improving horological technology. Over the last ten years, Rolex has consistently pushed watchmaking forward by embracing new materials and creating more complex movements. Here are four ways Rolex has advanced watchmaking technology over the past decade.
Rolex has always understood that the key to advancements in movement technology is in the materials and engineering of the hairspring, and consequently its poured both resources and time into hairspring development. The first advance in hairspring technology arrived in the year 2000 with the Parachrom hairspring in the caliber 4130, the first in-house Daytona movement.
After five years, a change in the coating process turned the Parachrom hairspring blue, and it soon became the standard hairspring for most Rolex references. Prior to 2014, Rolex along with Patek Philippe and Swatch Group funded research into developing a silicon hairspring. This research led directly to the Syloxi hairspring, an antimagnetic hairspring that first appeared in the Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 34. Rolex still primarily uses the Parachrom hairspring in many of its references, including the 2020 caliber 3230. However, some collectors believe that the Syloxi hairspring may migrate into new calibers in the years to come.
In conjunction with the development of new hairspring technology was the introduction of the Chronergy escapement, a marvel of modern engineering that increased movement efficiency by 15%. It first debuted in caliber 3255 in the 40mm Day-Date, and Rolex moved it into other references in the years that followed. (It’s worth noting that caliber 3255 also marked the first Rolex reference designated as a Superlative Chronometer, which brought accuracy down to only +2/-2 seconds per day.) We can also largely thank the Chronergy escapement for the huge jump to a 70 hour power reserve in the caliber 3230.
We can already see your eyebrows raising from here. Is Everest Bands really going to argue that the Glidelock is one of Rolex’s finest watchmaking innovations? Stay with us here. We may be a little biased, because we have a vested interest in fasteners, straps, buckles, and clasps (which is also the name of our in-house cover band). The Glidelock clasp really represents a leap forward in terms of clasp technology. Having the flexibility to adjust the fit up to 20 mm in 2 mm increments is priceless, especially since no links need to be removed or added for a better fit. We love the customization possible with a Glidelock clasp, since every wrist is different, and every wearer prefers a specific tension and placement on the wrist.
You probably saw this one coming, right? As designers of luxury straps, we have to pay homage to the king of all elastomer bands: The Rolex Oysterflex bracelet. As the greats say: game recognize game. We’ve been a proponent of rubber straps for years, and it’s still exciting to see Rolex migrating several references from leather to rubber. In particular, we love that the elastomer is molded around a precious metal bracelet for strength, and how the interior gussets elevate the bracelet just above the wrist for increased airflow. With Oysterflex now available on the Daytona, the Yacht-Master, and the Air-King, we look forward to seeing where the Oysterflex will show up next.
Everest Bands are designed and manufactured by watch collectors. We’re just as interested in watch technology and advancements as our customers. If you’re looking for a new strap option for your Rolex, our straps are consistently highly rated by Rolex collectors. They’re easy to switch out and are designed to fit specific Rolex references, creating a seamless rubber strap option for your Rolex.
Written by Meghan Clark