Rolex’s Proprietary Materials Have Evolved
Experimenting with new materials has always been a part of the watchmaking process. Previously, it was necessary to advance the evolution of watches themselves. The development of new watch materials aided in the transition of watches from exclusive, bespoke items to mass production. In recent years, watchmakers have made investments in the research and development of new materials to aid in other areas. Today, they are attempting to make advancements in areas such as watch repairs and lifespan. Without a doubt, Rolex is a market leader in this area.
With over a dozen proprietary materials under their belt, it’s safe to say that the development of new materials is of the utmost importance to them. It’s a wise move for the brand. It increases the exclusivity of their watches while also enhancing the Rolex brand. It demonstrates their ability to strike a balance between the watchmaking traditions they cherish and the advancements modern technology allows. In this section, we’ll look at some of Rolex’s proprietary materials and how they’re used in their watches.
Rolex has made a significant investment in proprietary metals. This is unsurprising given that metals constitute the majority of a watch’s construction. Metals, according to Rolex, are the most important component of a watch’s aesthetic, mechanical, and dimensional properties. Rolex will not settle for ordinary metals used in watchmaking, such as stainless steel, gold, and platinum. They’ve created their own alloys in each of these areas. They accomplish this through the use of their very own foundry. They have their own private foundry at the Plans-les-Ouates industrial park, the largest of Rolex’s four manufacturing facilities. They’ve created their own unique formulas for three types of gold, as well as platinum and stainless steel.
Their gold variants are based on 750 gold, an 18-karat gold princely alloy made up of 750 thousandths of pure gold. To create the brand’s three different types of gold – yellow, white, and Everose – they combine the base gold with specific silver and copper mixtures. In a similar vein, Rolex’s 950 platinum follows. It is an alloy composed of 950 thousandths of platinum combined with ruthenium, a platinum group chemical element.
Last but not least is Rolex’s 904L steel, also known as Oystersteel. It has higher concentrations of nickel, copper, molybdenum, and chromium. Because of this composition, it is harder and more corrosion resistant than standard 316L stainless steel. As if making their own gold, platinum, and steel alloys wasn’t enough, Rolex goes one step further. Furthermore, the brand has created two distinct two-tone colorways: Rolesor and Rolesium. Rolesor’s yellow or Everose gold is combined with their 904L stainless steel. Rolesium, on the other hand, combines 950 platinum with Oystersteel.
Other Proprietary Materials
Rolex has undoubtedly focused a significant amount of their attention and resources on their proprietary metals. They have, however, created and incorporated a number of other proprietary materials into their watches. Rolex had a banner year in 2005, with the introduction of three proprietary materials. Cerachrom, their own brand of ceramic, was introduced. The material made its debut in the brand’s black GMT Master II. It took them another eight years to figure out how to make the material in the two-tone colorways that have become synonymous with the collection. Rolex introduced the next generation of Cerachrom in the Batman using a patented mono-bloc construction method.
Rolex also introduced Paraflex and Parachrom in 2005. Paraflex is a unique and highly effective shock absorber. It increased the shock resistance of their watches by an impressive 50%. Parachrom, on the other hand, is a paramagnetic alloy made of zirconium, oxygen, and biobium that is used in Rolex hairsprings. It is not only impervious to magnetic fields, but it is also up to ten times more shock resistant than a typical hairspring.
Only three years later, in 2008, did Rolex release another proprietary material. Chromalight was first introduced by the brand in the Deepsea Sea-Dweller. Chromalight, as the name implies, is a luminescent material similar to Superluminova. Chromalight, on the other hand, emits blue light rather than the typical green glow. It also has a longer battery life, lasting up to eight hours.
Oysterflex, another proprietary material, was introduced in 2015. The all-new strap material was first introduced by Rolex in the Yacht-Master line. The brand’s take on the rubber strap is represented by Oysterflex. It provides a bit more, as do their other proprietary materials. The comfort and hypoallergenic properties of rubber straps are combined with the shape-retention and durability of metal bracelets in Oysterflex.