In praise of the invisible
Hidden away in its waterproof case, the Perpetual movement remains invisible to the wearer of the watch. Only Rolex-certified watchmakers are able to access it with their special tools.
Yet, when it has the honour of being seen, this exquisite mechanism known the world over for its chronometric performance can truly be admired for what it is: a work of art, a magnificent miniature universe, a myriad of shapes, forms, volumes, colours and surfaces, some polished, some satin-finished, others circular-grained, always with loving care, and in keeping with watchmaking tradition.
A COMMON ARCHITECTURE
Precision, robustness, reliability
The Perpetual movements that equip the Oyster models play a key role in the reputation for excellence of Rolex watches. These self-winding mechanical movements, all rigorously certified as chronometers by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), are entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex based on common characteristics. These ensure high performance and adherence to uncompromising requirements in terms of precision, reliability, shock-resistance, efficient self-winding and ease of maintenance.
BALANCE WHEEL WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
Equipped with gold Microstella nuts, the large balance wheel allows high‑precision regulating and offers great stability.
HAIRSPRING WITH ROLEX OVERCOIL
The outermost coil of the hairspring is curled towards the centre to counter the effects of gravity. This allows perfectly balanced and concentric (isochronous) oscillations of the balance wheel-hairspring assembly and contributes to greater chronometric precision whatever the position of the watch.
A frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (8 per second) allows optimal conciliation of the oscillator’s precision and peerless reliability.
TRAVERSING BALANCE BRIDGE
The traversing balance bridge allows stable and precise positioning of the oscillator in order to improve chronometric performance. The bridge’s rigidity greatly improves shock resistance.
SELF-WINDING VIA PERPETUAL ROTOR
Invented by Rolex in 1931, this ingenious mechanism consists of a half‑moon-shaped oscillating weight rotating freely in both directions on its axle under the impetus of the wearer’s wrist. It keeps the mainspring under continuous tension and thus provides the watch with a constant and stable source of energy.
The quality of the lubricants is of prime importance for the proper functioning of a mechanical movement. Rolex has developed exclusive new lubricants, synthesised in‑house, whose useful life and stability over time have been considerably improved.
Although the Perpetual movements are accessible only to Rolex-certified watchmakers using specific tools, they are decorated in the finest watchmaking tradition. The plates and gear trains are circular-grained, the bridges satin‑finished, circular-grained or snailed, the screw heads are mirror-polished and all edges are bevelled.
A history of precision
The green seal accompanying every Rolex watch is a symbol of its status as a Superlative Chronometer. This exclusive designation attests that it has successfully undergone a series of specific final controls by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, in addition to the official COSC certification of its movement. This unique testing of the chronometric precision of the cased-up movement, as well as of the watch’s waterproofness, self-winding and power reserve, pushes back the boundaries of performance and makes Rolex the benchmark for excellence in mechanical watches. The green seal is coupled with a five-year guarantee which applies to all Rolex models.
The guardian of time
In a mechanical watch, the oscillator is the guardian of time. Comprising a hairspring and a balance wheel, this regulating organ determines the precision of the watch by the regularity of its oscillations. Rolex deploys exceptional know-how and resources to master the design and production of this strategic couple.
After five years of research, Rolex created and patented the blue Parachrom hairspring. Crafted from a paramagnetic alloy, it is unaffected by magnetic fields and up to 10 times more resilient to shocks than traditional hairsprings. Historically, the unique blue colour of the hairspring has been a sign of prestige reserved for only the most accurate timepieces.
- pa • ra • flex
- An exclusive and highly efficient shock absorber developed and patented by Rolex in 2005.
- Improves the shock resistance of Rolex watches by up to 50 per cent.
- The innovative geometry of the spring, designed by dynamic 3D modelling, ensures that it remains firmly positioned and with no risk of deformation.
- Validated through extensive shock testing and laboratory measurements.
- A tiny component making a huge difference.
- The Rolex Way.
The key to time
Have you ever wondered why a mechanical watch goes “tick-tock”? The ticking is produced by the escapement, a strategic part that plays a key role in the movement’s measurement of time. “Tick”: a tooth of the escape wheel locks against one of the pallets of the lever. Then, released by the sweep of the oscillator, the pallet fork lets the wheel “escape”, until it locks against the second pallet: “tock”.
The pallet fork continues its infinite pendular beat against the oblique teeth of the escape wheel precisely 28,800 times every hour – 14,400 “ticks” and 14,400 “tocks”. That's 250 million times a year. We are at the very heart of the Rolex Perpetual movement, where its pace is distilled with chronometric precision.
OF THE PHRASE
Did you know?
"Superlative chronometer officially certified"
Historically, a watch could be designated as a chronometer by its own manufacturer to attest of its high precision, a process which obviously carried a risk of fraudulent abuse. To guarantee the quality of its chronometers, Rolex made the choice to have them officially certified, in spite of the costs and extra time required. To mark this difference, in the late 1930s, the brand changed the inscription on its dials from “Chronometer” to “Officially Certified Chronometer”. In 1951, official certification became obligatory. Rolex decided to differentiate itself by obtaining certificates avec mention (certificates of superior performance). According to the old rules, movements whose precision proved superior in the tests received a certificate with the citation “particularly good results”. By the late 1950's, Rolex launched a new generation of movements which were up to three times more precise than the criteria for obtaining a mention.
To describe these exceptional qualities, Rolex invented the notion “Superlative Chronometer”. This designation would thereafter be added to the inscription on the dials used until then to constitute the well-known “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”. The chronometer certificates avec mention disappeared in 1973. But the inscription formulated by Rolex remains as a reminder of the quest for excellence and the pioneering role of the brand in the field of chronometric precision.