A Guide to Rolex’s Proprietary Materials
February 21st, 2020
The watch industry has always played an active role in experimenting with new materials.
At a time when the development of watches was necessary, watch manufacturers invested in the research and production of new materials.
However, when it comes to watches, the label “in-house” carries significant weight throughout the industry.
When materials are produced in-house, the brand can substantially control over the design as well as the production process.
Rolex is one of the watch industry leaders who are uncompromising in anything they produce.
Indeed, Rolex watches are admired and recognised for its fine craftsmanship, perfection and attention to detail.
Interestingly, the brand has taken the designation “in-house” one step ahead.
While Rolex is satisfied with nothing but perfection, it produces many watch materials entirely in-house.
Today, we will take a closer look at some of the patented Rolex materials. And explore how the brand uses them in making its watches.
Rolex doesn’t compromise on the materials, especially the metals that make up a lot of a watch’s construction.
The brand considers metals to be the essential component for a timepiece’s aesthetics and mechanical properties.
Thus, Rolex produces platinum, steel, and gold in its factory to ensure the highest levels of durability and quality.
Rolex uses 18ct gold alloy that is composed of 75% of pure gold.
Later, it blends a perfect proportion of other elements like copper and silver, to make the different kinds of 18ct gold such as white, yellow, and Everose.
Nonetheless, a solid gold Rolex watch looks bold and magnificent, representing the ultimate symbol of luxury and success.
- Considering the brand’s uncompromising mindset, Rolex controls the entire production of its gold.
- The proprietary gold has the features that Rolex seek, and that is close to perfection as much as possible.
Indeed, Rolex’s gold flaunts a unique radiance that makes a solid gold Rolex watch stand out of the crowd.
Rolesor is an exclusive combination of 18ct gold and 904L steel that Rolex produces.
- However, it can come in a combination of steel and yellow gold, steel and rose gold, and rarely, steel and white gold.
- This two-tone combination is iconic and unique to many Rolex watches.
Ever since Rolex patented the “Rolesor” name in 1933, it has become a signature for the brand.
However, the concept of this unique combination is pretty simple.
While the winding crown, centre bracelet links, and the bezel are crafted of 18ct rose or yellow gold, the outer links and the middle case are built of Oystersteel.
Rolex uses a unique mixture of 904L stainless steel that is officially referred to as “Oystersteel”.
- The proprietary 904L steel contains a higher level of nickel, copper, molybdenum, and chromium, making it more robust and corrosion-resistant.
- Moreover, when polished, it acquires an extraordinary sheen.
Like the gold alloys, Rolex also manufactures the Oystersteel in-house so that it meets the highest standard of the brand.
The Geneva-based Swiss manufacturer uses 950 Platinum. The alloy consists of 950-thousandths of platinum and a chemical component called “Ruthenium”.
Eventually, the alloy is incredibly durable and retains the same brilliance and lustre as platinum.
Technologically Advanced Rolex Materials
Rolex is also known for its technologically upgraded materials used in its watches both externally and internally.
However, the highly-specialised patented materials include specially designed luminescent materials and durable ceramic elements.
The proprietary ceramic is indeed an innovative element that Rolex uses in its watches.
In 2005, Rolex introduced a new version of ceramic material known as Cerachrom. However, it debuted in Rolex’s black GMT-Master II.
- Rolex is known to take nearly 40-hours to make a single Cerachrom bezel.
- Indeed, this ceramic material is superior in quality than the bezels built of conventional materials like acrylic or aluminium.
- The Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom is resistance to scratches.
- Moreover, its colour is unaffected by chlorine, salt water, and UV exposure.
However, the brand took another eight years for creating the signature two-tone Cerachrom colourways. And this signature style debuted in the famous Rolex Batman.
Rolex developed a highly efficient and exclusive shock absorber known as Paraflex in 2005.
- Paraflex increased the shock resistance of the Rolex watches by 50%.
- Alternatively, the brand also crafted the Parachrom material in the same year.
- The paramagnetic Parachrom alloy is composed of oxygen, biobium, and zirconium that Rolex uses in hairsprings.
Moreover, Parachrom is highly impervious to magnetic fields and virtually ten times more resistant to shocks compared to the average hairspring.
The luminous blue material used on the hour markers and hands of many Rolex watches is one of the notable Rolex materials.
- Rolex released its patented luminescent paint “Chromalight” in 2008.
- The material boasts a little bit longer glowing time in comparison to its predecessor.
However, the alluring blue glow that Chromalight brings to a Rolex watch face is something more discernible.
The Oysterflex is another patented material that Rolex introduced in 2015.
- It made its debut in the Yacht-Master collection.
- While it blends the comfort and hypoallergenic features of rubber straps, Oysterflex retains the durability and shape of metal bracelets.
With the constant pursuit of perfection, Rolex has made significant alterations to its production process over the years.
The manufacturer is well-aware of the constraints of materials’ availability. Thus, Rolex produced its raw materials and also invented new elements in its factory.
While the brand enjoys complete control over its watchmaking process, it reduces errors and enhances the perfection level in its watches.