Rolex Tech Innovations of the Early 21st Century

April 20, 2016

After the release of the Yacht-Master and Pearlmaster models in 1992, Rolex would not release a new model for another 15 years. At the beginning of the 21st century, they focused on technical innovations that would allow them to further vertically integrate their manufacturing and improve upon their timepieces from the inside out.

photo of Rolex Tech Innovations of the Early 2000s (photo: Rolex/Christophe Lauffenburger)
Rolex Tech Innovations of the Early 2000s (photo: Rolex/Christophe Lauffenburger)
In 2000, Rolex fitted the Cosmograph Daytona with their 4130 movement. Completely manufactured by the watchmaker, this movement replaced the Zenith El Primero movement in the Daytona model. Both the 4130 and the El Primero are still considered the top of the line in terms of mechanical watch movements.

The 2000 version of the 4130 movement contained a Prachrom hairspring that was developed by Rolex. By 2005, they achieved the characteristic blue color on what is now known as the blue Parachrom hairspring. They also patented the Paraflex shock absorber, a shock absorption system also manufactured completely in-house by the watchmaker. In that year they also patented their proprietary Cerachrom ceramic used for the bezel.

Finally, they also improved upon the escapement of their movements, developing the Chronergy escapement used today in their 3235 and 3255 movements. With their movements and most components therein now manufactured in-house, Rolex has more control over the quality of their products than ever. It will be interesting to see how this autonomy will impact what they do next.


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