What Makes A Rolex?

We all know Rolex. We all love Rolex. But what exactly goes into the world’s most famous watch brand? We trot on down to our One Hyde Park store to dissect all things intricate and intriguing within the Calibre 3135.

Introduced in 1988, Rolex’s workhorse 3135 was built to replace the 1575 – a popular but increasingly tired calibre. The increase in balance speed (19,800BPH to a staggering 28,800BPH) was seen as something of a radical move at the time and balance screws were omitted entirely in favour of four timing screws. Each piece was fixed within the inside of the balance room to keep the calibre’s diameter as large as physically possible – the result being an increase in moment of inertia without increasing the mass – and also a reduction in aerodynamic drag. Whilst all of this sounds incredibly complicated (because it is), the Calibre 3135 in layman’s terms is simply a lot better in performance.

Rolex also followed the success of another movement (the 2235) by using new micro-gear toothing and dial trains to minimise free play between the gearing and friction of the glucydur teeth rolling on the steel pinions. A fast rotating barrel was also ordered to benefit both torque and stability of the drive train, all of which make for a far more accurated time reading and a generous power reserve of around 50 hours. Not something to be sniffed at.

A 1988 inception doesn’t necessarily mean that Rolex have been doing sweet nada for the past 20 years – constant innovations and alterations are frequently applied in the quest for a perfect movement. Many Swiss manufactures don’t make a song and dance about these improvements (subtlety is a popular Swiss dish after all) and plenty of watchmakers are unaware of such changes unless parts are called in for repair. However, some of the bolder restructures anchor campaigns, slogans and all the usual marketing maelstrom that comes with new product launches. However, the beauty of the Calibre 3135 is indeed its modesty; minute but brilliant upgrades are kept off the radar so the wearer can simply enjoy pure unabashed craftsmanship: it doesn’t get much better than that.

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