Comprehensive Guide to Rolex Movements

Rolex is a brand known for creating timeless and luxurious timepieces. Apart from the design, another aspect that sets Rolex apart from other watchmakers is the quality of their movements. Since its inception in 1905, Rolex has been developing and improving their movements to ensure precision and reliability.

The first-ever wristwatch movement created by Rolex was the caliber 624, which was introduced in 1926. This movement had a small balance wheel that oscillated at a high frequency of 18,000 beats per hour (BPH).

In the same year, they also developed the Oyster case, which was hermetically sealed, protecting the watch from water and dust. As years went by, Rolex continued to innovate with their movements.

The brand developed new technologies such as the Perpetual rotor system, which automatically winds the watch using energy generated by wrist movement. This technology was introduced in 1931 with Calibre 3605; it is still used in most automatic movements today.

Movements Matter: The Importance of Movements in Watchmaking

The movement is often referred to as “the engine” or “the heart” of a watch because it’s what makes it run accurately and consistently over time. A high-quality movement can make all the difference between an average watch and one that can keep accurate time for decades. The basic function of a movement is to keep track of time with accuracy; however, modern-day watches do much more than just that.

They have multiple functions such as date displays, chronographs and moon-phase indicators— all accomplished through intricate mechanisms inside the case. A well-made movement requires precise engineering and craftsmanship since many parts are working together precisely so that every component works flawlessly without any hiccups or errors.

For example, even an error in hairspring, which is a small spring that controls the speed of the balance wheel, can affect the accuracy of a watch. Therefore, movements are crucial in watchmaking as they are responsible for the critical functions that keep a watch ticking accurately for years.

Overview of Rolex Movements

Rolex watches are renowned for their precise and reliable movements. The caliber of a watch movement is what sets it apart from others, and Rolex has consistently pushed the boundaries with their innovative designs.

In general, there are three types of movements: automatic, manual, and quartz. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Explanation of Movement Types

Automatic movements are self-winding and use the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist to power the watch. They typically have a more complex design than manual or quartz watches, but they require less maintenance as they wind themselves with regular use. Manual movements require winding by hand via the crown on the side of the case.

These movements have been around for centuries and are still popular among collectors for their traditional feel. Quartz movements use a battery to power a small piece of quartz crystal that vibrates at an extremely high frequency to create an accurate time-keeping system.

Current List of Rolex Movements

Rolex currently produces several different types of movements across their various collections, including Oyster Perpetual, Day-Date, Datejust, Submariner, GMT-Master II and Cosmograph Daytona models. Some notable current models include: 1) Calibre 3135: This is one of Rolex’s most popular automatic movements that powers several iconic models like the Submariner Date and Sea-Dweller.

2) Calibre 3235: This is a newer automatic movement that premiered in 2015 in the Datejust 41 model; it boasts an impressive power reserve (70 hours) thanks to its Chronergy escapement system. 3) Calibre 3285: Another new release from Rolex which made its debut at Baselworld in 2018 powering both GMT-Master II “Pepsi” model as well as new Sea-Dweller. Rolex movements are the result of decades of innovation, engineering and craftsmanship.

Each movement type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The current list of Rolex movements reflects the brand’s commitment to excellence and continually improving their designs to meet the needs of consumers.

Automatic Movements: The Heart of Rolex Watches

Automatic movements are the beating heart of a Rolex watch. They are designed to provide precision and reliability, and they do just that.

Rolex has spent years perfecting their automatic movements, and it shows. They have some of the best automatic movements in the world.

Calibre 3135: The Iconic Movement

The Calibre 3135 is perhaps one of the most iconic movements in Rolex’s history. It was first introduced in 1988 and has been used in many of their watches since then, including the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and Datejust.

The Calibre 3135 is a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. One of the standout features of this movement is its blue Parachrom hairspring.

This hairspring is made from a paramagnetic alloy that makes it resistant to magnetic fields and more stable when subjected to temperature changes. The result is improved accuracy and reliability.

Calibre 3235: The Modern Upgrade

The Calibre 3235 was introduced at Baselworld in 2016 as an upgrade to the Calibre 3135. It has several upgrades over its predecessor, including an increased power reserve (up to 70 hours), improved accuracy (+/-2 seconds per day), and a new Chronergy escapement that improves energy efficiency.

The Calibre 3235 also features Rolex’s patented Syloxi hairspring, which is made from silicon rather than metal alloys like traditional hairsprings. This material makes it even more immune to magnetic fields and temperature variations while also providing greater precision over time.

Calibre 3285: The New Kid on the Block

The Calibre 3285 was introduced at Baselworld in 2018 as the latest addition to Rolex’s automatic movement lineup. It has many of the same upgrades as the Calibre 3235, including a longer power reserve (up to 70 hours), improved accuracy (+/-2 seconds per day), and a new Chronergy escapement. However, one of the standout features of the Calibre 3285 is its advanced technology that allows for more efficient winding and tighter tolerances.

This results in even greater precision and reliability over time. The Calibre 3285 can be found in newer models like the GMT-Master II and Day-Date 36.

Rolex’s automatic movements are truly impressive pieces of engineering that push the boundaries of watchmaking technology. Whether you’re looking for an iconic classic like the Calibre 3135 or a modern marvel like the Calibre 3285, Rolex has something for everyone.

Manual Movements

When it comes to manual movements, Rolex only has one in their current lineup: the Calibre 4130. This movement is found exclusively in their iconic Daytona chronograph. Unlike other manual movements from Rolex’s past, the Calibre 4130 was introduced in 2000 and is a completely modern design.

One of the most notable features of the Calibre 4130 is its integrated column-wheel system, which controls the start, stop, and reset functions of the chronograph. This system ensures precision and reliability in timekeeping.

Another impressive feature is its Parachrom hairspring that resists magnetic fields and temperature changes. The hairspring also allows for an extended power reserve of up to 72 hours.

The Calibre 4130 consists of 201 parts and has a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (BPH), which means it ticks eight times per second. Its impeccable engineering makes it one of the most accurate manual movements ever produced by Rolex.

The Iconic Daytona Chronograph

As mentioned earlier, the Calibre 4130 powers only one watch model: the Daytona chronograph. The Daytona was first introduced in 1963 as a highly functional tool watch for racecar drivers who needed to accurately measure elapsed time during races.

Over time, it became one of Rolex’s most iconic models with its timeless design and prestigious reputation. The current Daytona model boasts a diameter of 40mm and features three subdials on its face that display elapsed minutes, hours and seconds respectively.

The chronograph pushers are located on either side of the winding crown at position two o’clock (start/stop) and position four o’clock (reset). With its combination of classic style and modern technology, it’s no wonder that collectors worldwide consider the Daytona one of Rolex’s most desirable watches.

A Movement Fit for a Champion

The Calibre 4130 was a significant achievement in watchmaking when it first came out, and it remains one of the most highly respected manual movements to this day. It’s not just any movement, but one that has withstood the test of time and been embraced by champions. Rolex has sponsored many prestigious racing events throughout its history, including the Daytona 500 since 1992.

The fact that its iconic chronograph is powered by a movement that’s linked to motorsports further cements Rolex’s reputation as an innovator and leader in luxury watchmaking. Even though Rolex only features one manual movement in its current lineup, it’s still an exceptional achievement for the company.

The Calibre 4130 is a testament to Rolex’s commitment to precision and innovation, with each part expertly designed and crafted to meet their exacting standards. Whether you’re a racing fan or just appreciate fine craftsmanship, there’s no denying that the Calibre 4130 is an impressive piece of engineering that deserves recognition as one of Rolex’s most iconic movements.

Quartz Movements

rolex watch

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Description and Features of Each Quartz Movement

While automatic and manual movements may be the more traditional types, quartz movements have their own unique charm. Rolex has only one model that uses a quartz movement: the Oysterquartz.

The Oysterquartz was introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a luxury alternative to other quartz watches on the market at that time. The Oysterquartz movement is very accurate and reliable, like all quartz movements.

It has an oscillator that vibrates at a frequency of 32,768 times per second, which ensures its high precision. Additionally, it has an autonomous power supply that lasts approximately three years.


The Rolex Oysterquartz was produced for nearly twenty years before being discontinued in the late 1990s. It is considered a rare collectible item among watch enthusiasts today due to its limited production. One distinguishing feature of the Oysterquartz is its distinct rectangular shape compared to other Rolex models.

The case size measures at about 35mm by 38mm, making it slightly smaller than other popular Rolex models like the Datejust or Submariner. Additionally, it features an integrated bracelet design made of stainless steel or gold.

Despite being a luxury watch with a quartz movement, the Oysterquartz still embodies many classic Rolex features such as waterproofing and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Its unique design and limited production make it a highly sought-after item in the watch-collecting world.

Rarely Known Small Details about Rolex Movements

The Significance of the Paraflex Shock Absorber System

One of the lesser-known features that sets Rolex movements apart from others in the industry is the Paraflex shock absorber system. This innovative system was first introduced in 2005 and has been gradually integrated into all Rolex movements ever since.

The Paraflex system contains a unique shape and material that allows for greater resistance to shocks and vibrations, ensuring that the watch can withstand more wear and tear. The Paraflex shock absorber system consists of two parts: a small rectangular block made of a special elastomer material, and a metal arm that attaches to it.

Together, they work to absorb any shocks or vibrations that may occur during normal wear or accidental impacts. The result is a more durable movement with greater accuracy over time.

The Use of Nickel-Phosphorus Alloy in Hairsprings

Another rarely known detail about Rolex movements is their use of nickel-phosphorus alloy in hairsprings. This material offers several advantages over traditional hairspring materials such as steel or alloys containing iron.

Nickel-phosphorus is highly resistant to magnetism, which can significantly affect the accuracy of mechanical watches exposed to magnetic fields. In addition to its anti-magnetic properties, nickel-phosphorus also has excellent thermal stability, which helps maintain accuracy even under extreme temperature changes.

This material also offers better fatigue resistance than traditional hairspring materials, allowing for longer service intervals between maintenance. Overall, these small details are just a few examples of how Rolex constantly strives to innovate and improve their movements with advanced technology and materials.


Rolex movements are truly exceptional pieces of engineering in watchmaking. From their precise automatic movements like Calibre 3135 or Calibre 3285, to the revolutionary Paraflex shock absorber system and the use of nickel-phosphorus alloy in hairsprings, each detail has a significant impact on the overall performance of a Rolex timepiece. It is no wonder that Rolex is considered one of the most prestigious and respected watch brands in the world.


The Importance and Significance of Rolex Movements in Watchmaking

Rolex movements have been the backbone of the brand for over a century. The brand’s relentless pursuit of precision, reliability, and innovation has made them a benchmark in the watchmaking industry. Rolex movements are not only accurate but also aesthetically pleasing due to their fine finishing and attention to detail.

The movements are designed, developed, and manufactured entirely in-house. The current lineup includes both manual wind and automatic movements, each with their unique features.

The most popular automatic movement by Rolex is the Calibre 3135. It is renowned for its accuracy, durability, ease of maintenance and powers many of their popular models like Submariner Date, Sea-Dweller and Yacht-Master among others.

Their latest iteration of this movement is found in the new generation of Datejust watches which houses Calibre 3235; it features Rolex’s proprietary Chronergy escapement which provides better energy efficiency as well as improved chronometric performance. Rolex manual wind movement enthusiasts can appreciate the Calibre 4130 used in their iconic Daytona watch that is known for its accuracy, reliability and robustness.

It was developed entirely by Rolex with over 20 patents; it also features a vertical clutch mechanism ensuring precise activation of the chronograph functions. Rolex has cemented itself as one of the leading watch brands globally due to its dedication to quality craftsmanship in all aspects from design to production.

The brand has ensured that they retain control over every aspect by developing their own movements from scratch rather than outsourcing them like some competitors do. The result is timepieces that accumulate value over time thanks to its high-quality construction materials coupled with unrivaled precision performances making them not just beautiful but also deeply functional pieces that will last generations.|

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