The anatomy of a Rolex

Movements

Parachrom hairspring

Parachrom hairspring

Why blue?

This is what our Parachrom hairspring looks like. It is an essential guardian of the watch’s chronometric precision. Unveiled in 2005, entirely designed and manufactured in house, it nears the apex of what metal alloy hairsprings can offer. The scale of the image might throw you off, though.

Its edge is thinner than a single strand of hair and its weight is merely a fraction of a pearl’s. Moreover, once coiled, its diameter does not exceed a few millimeters. It is shielded from outside aggressions by a case so hermetic it was aptly named “Oyster”. Needless to say, it is a rare occurrence for any eyes to be laid on the Parachrom. So why would we be concerned by its colour? Because this hue of blue is true to our tradition of watchmaking excellence. It is the exact colour taken by our unique alloy of niobium, zirconium and oxygen when it has been anodized to stop the process of oxidation. This blue is essential to us, because it symbolizes the long-lasting performances which we hold ourselves to. This hairspring is insensitive to magnetic fields, unwavering in the face of temperature variations, and resistant to shocks as to corrosion. Therefore, each Rolex equipped with a Parachrom hairspring will tick at a most regular and perpetual beat.

Parachrom hairspring
Chronergy escapement

Chronergy

Nothing escapes us

This is our Chronergy escapement, introduced in 2015. This mechanism transmits energy with unrelenting precision to regulate the heartbeat of the watch. Its wheel and anchor have been redesigned to optimize the system’s efficiency.

The overarching principle is simple: an anchor with two pallets frees the rotation of a dented wheel, in a minutely timed dance. “Tick”, the first pallet stops the wheel. “Tock”, it releases it and leaves the second pallet to halt its rotation. And so on. This happens eight times per second without ever skipping a single beat. That makes 28,800 rounds per hour, amounting to 14,400 “ticks” and as many “tocks”. A metronomic and perpetual cadence that sets every cog and wheel in motion. Which, in turn, brings the watch to life. Yet further proof that, when it comes to mastering time, nothing escapes us.

Chronergy escapement
Paraflex

Paraflex

Shocking!

This is the Paraflex, our shock absorber introduced in 2005. It is an absolutely crucial element in the protection of our horological movements. One which we designed and manufactured solely ourselves. Its specific purpose is to neutralize any and all effects brought about by the knocks and bumps of everyday life.

One may wonder how such a minuscule shield, no bigger than a grain of rice, could achieve such a feat? It is through the interaction of two separate properties which, in a never-ending dance, offset the consequences of all shocks at all times. The Paraflex moves one way, then the other, all within a fraction of a second. On the one hand, it bends at each impact to disperse the energy, then returns to its original shape. On the other, it displaces itself so as to preserve the functionality of the balance wheel and escapement anchor. Thus engaging the guarantee of the chronometric performance of the calibre in all circumstances. It is through this unique ballet of deformation and displacement that the Paraflex preserves the watch’s movement with its own.

Paraflex
Perpetual rotor

Perpetual rotor

Always on

This is the Perpetual rotor. Rolex’s automatic winding mechanism. It enables the watch to be constantly wound by the wrist’s movement. Invented in our workshops, then patented, it was introduced in 1931. We have ceaselessly improved this groundbreaking innovation which, since then, has tipped the world of watchmaking off its old axis.

In a constant state of unstable equilibrium, the half-moon oscillating weight is beholden to Earth’s gravity and cannot escape it. Therefore, it rotates with the wearer’s every gesture, and sways in one direction or the other. The energy generated by these oscillations is transferred to the mainspring, which is continually wound, through a clever system comprised of inverters and a gear train. Thus stored, the energy is released simultaneously to activate the horological movement, ultimately moving the hands of the watch. Regularly. Precisely. For though we all seek balance, it is imbalance that drives us to move, perpetually.

Perpetual Rotor
Saros calendar

Saros

Why complicate matters?

31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31: the annual sequence of months is more complicated than it appears. In horological terms, its inconsistency must be addressed when designing an annual calendar such as our Saros, first introduced in 2012 with the Sky-Dweller.

Like all annual calendars, it autonomously differentiates months with 30 and 31 days and only requires to be set once every year, when February turns to March. Developing such a complication usually requires beautifully intricate mechanisms, with countless levers, cams and springs. But it is a different type of beauty that has always held our favour: that of simplicity. No matter how difficult it may be to reach. Here, it took us many years of development to finally make our annual calendar, using only four gear wheels and two gear ratios. Nothing more. Its conception is so efficient, the movement’s performance and durability are in no way affected. To the contrary, it allows for the energy dispensed by the feature to be perfectly managed. Perhaps that is why it is considered a horological prowess. The Saros is a most ingenious watchmaking complication.

Saros Calendar

Rolex Watchmaking Know-how

Excellence in the making