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Rolex Movements

Oyster Perpetual Movement

In 1931, Rolex invented the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a perpetual rotor. On the front of every automatic Rolex watch, you will find the words, “OYSTER PERPETUAL,” just below “ROLEX” on the front of the dial. These terms refer to the self-winding mechanism housed inside of the Rolex case. The term “self-winding” means that the watch is wound by the natural movement of the wearer’s arm and never needs to be manually wound. However, each Rolex does have a crown that allows the wearer to wind it manually. This mechanism consists of a half moon-shaped oscillating weight. It pivots freely in one direction and transmits uninterrupted natural energy to the watch, which is then stored in the mainspring. According to Rolex, “the Perpetual rotor system of the Oyster movements is recognizable by two red reversing wheels that allow the rewinding of the movement regardless of the rotation direction of the oscillating weight. Most automatic movements have jewels on the movement, which reduce friction between the moving parts in the watch." In most cases, the number of the jewels will be engraved on the movement. In 1923, John Harwood invented the first self-winding wristwatch, which was called the 'Bumper' wristwatch. In 1930, Rolex perfected the design, using it as the basis for its Oyster Perpetual movement. One of the main differences between the Rolex movement and the movement from the “Bumper” wristwatch was that the Rolex movement could rotate a full 360 degrees, where the 'Bumper' movement only rotated 300 degrees. This extra rotation allowed Rolex’s version to store more energy in the mainspring and run independently for up to 35 hours.

Caliber

The term “caliber” refers to the movement, or the internal mechanism, of a watch. Each movement has a reference number that is found on the case at 12 o’clock. Rolex first and foremost concern has always been to create quality movements that were precise and accurate. In 1910, a Rolex watch received the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, making it the first wristwatch in the world to receive this honor. In 1910, a Rolex watch was awarded a class “A” precision certificate, which, until then, had only ever been granted to marine chronometers. Since the company’s inception, Rolex has been known for its accurate and precise watches.

Caliber Reference Numbers
0100200300400500600
23 100 200 300 400 500 600
72A 13″ 150 210 310 420 510 620
90 160 250 350   520 630
  161 270 360   530 635
  170 280       640
  180 281       645
  190 282       650
  191         651
  192          
7008001000110012001300
700 800 1000 1100 1200 1300
710 850 1030 1120 1210 1310
720   1035 1130 1215 1315
722-1   1036 1135 1220  
727   1040 1160 1225  
730   1055 1161    
740   1055 B 1165    
745   1065 1166    
750   1065 GMT      
760   1065 M      
765   1066      
775   1066 GMT      
780   1066 M      
    1080      
140015001600180020002100
1400 1520 1600 1800 2030 2130
1401 1525 1601   2035 2135
  1530        
  1535        
  1536        
  1555        
  1556        
  1560        
  1565        
  1560        
  1565        
  1565 GMT        
  1570        
  1575        
  1575 GMT        
  1580        
3000310040005000
3035 3135 4030 5035
3055 3155   5055
3075 3175    
3085 3185