How to Spot a Rolex by Their Most Iconic Innovations

10:11 AM

Whether checking wrists on the street or trying to spot a fake, there are a few ways to tell a Rolex from any other watch. The watchmaker has been innovating their production processes since Hans Wilsdorf was at the helm and still hold patents on some of their most iconic innovations. You will not find the following parts on any watch other than a Rolex.

Cyclops Magnifying Lens
Cyclops Magnifying Lens (photo: Rolex)
It is often difficult to identify a Rolex from far away, but one of the easiest ways to do so is to locate the Cyclops magnifying lens affixed to the crystal above the date aperture at 3 o'clock on their date models. There are many who consider this an eyesore on an otherwise symmetrical watch, but this magnification lens is one of the most recognizable parts of a Rolex. You can spot the light reflecting off it from a distance, even in pictures or stills from television interviews or movies.

“To all watchmakers: we draw your attention to the fact that the watch crystal with the specially shaped magnifying lens is a Rolex exclusivity protected in Switzerland and abroad. We will not hesitate to instigate legal proceedings against any counterfeiting,” read a notice to the press in the 1950s when Rolex rolled out this innovation, making it clear that Rolex watches would be the only ones to feature this innovation.

Oyster Case
Oyster Case (photo: Rolex)
Rolex introduced their iconic Oyster case in 1926 and it instantly became legendary due to the hermetic construction that made it the first waterproof case for a wristwatch. In 1927, English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam the English Channel with a Rolex and showed the world that after 10 hours in the water, the watch was still functioning. The news soon traveled the world and thus began the era of the Rolex Oyster case.

Today, all Oyster cases are guaranteed waterproof up to 100 meters. The middle case is stamped out of a solid block of metal, either 904L stainless steel, 18 karat gold or platinum, with a fluted screw down case back and friction fitted crystal and bezel.

President Bracelet 
President Bracelet (photo: Rolex)
Introduced in 1956 on the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, the President bracelet is unique to the brand and has become as identifiable as the Day-Date itself over the years. Many refer to configurations that feature this bracelet simply as a Rolex President. It features a Crownclasp that conceals all but the crown from view when the watch is on the wrist. While the Oyster bracelet is more commonly seen on Rolex watches, the President bracelet is easier to spot due to its unique semi-circular three piece links.

Winding Crown
Twinlock Winding Crown (photo: Rolex)
Rolex models come equipped with either a Twinlock or Triplock winding crown to seal the Oyster case and uphold its depth rating. The unique design and functionality of their winding crowns make them difficult to emulate. This means that checking the winding crown is an easy way to identify a Rolex. They all have a crown logo with either two dots or three under, identifying it as a Twinlock or Triplock crown, respectively.

The Triplock winding crown is reserved for Rolex's dive watches, the Submariner, Sea-Dweller and Deepsea. It features an additional layer of security that allows them to take the Oyster case deeper than ever before, protecting the movement from dust and water and also allowing the wearer to adjust the time and date functions.

Oysterlock Clasp
Rolex Oyster Bracelet with Oysterlock Clasp
More commonly than the President bracelet, you will see Rolex watches with their Oyster bracelet featuring flat three piece links with either brushed or polished center links. Attached to the Oyster bracelet you will find another identifiable aspect of Rolex watches: the Oysterlock clasp shown in the photo above. The safety catch has their signature crown on it that features a small lip designed for added security in addition to its aesthetic appeal.

There are certainly more innovations that are unique to Rolex, especially inside their movements. However, when it comes to identifying a Rolex without opening the case, the above innovations are the most distinguishable features that make a Rolex a Rolex. For in-depth looks at all of these innovations, visit the Tech section of this blog or check out Rolex's officiate site at rolex.com.

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