The Base Materials to Make a Rolex

The Base Materials to Make a Rolex
May 22, 2015 3 min read
The Base Materials to Make a Rolex

Rolex would not be the brand it is today if not for its craftsmanship. Rolex is the definition of meticulous when it comes to the materials selected for each part of every timepiece, adhering to their own philosophy of doing things unlike any other company. The dedication to create and focus on a single perfect product is inspiring, where you truly feel a part of something special.

904L Stainless Steel

The durability of a Rolex is world-renowned, none of which would be possible without it choices in steel. Previously using 316L and 314L grade, Rolex became the first watchmaking company to use 904L for their steel timepieces. This alloy is highly corrosion-resistant but has the ability to polish at a brighter sheen and luster than what Rolex had been able to do before.

904L stainless steel is very commonly used in aerospace and chemical industries because of its anti-corrosion properties, a significant upgrade even to the common owner. Corrosion on your Rolex is possible because of the everyday chemicals we are exposed to, moisture, and what we naturally produce from our skin as it makes contact with the watch. While 904L is slightly more resistant to these elements in comparison to the previous steels used, it’s an excellent reminder that cleaning your Rolex often with soap and warm water will be even more preventative of any damage and extend the life of your timepiece.



The Plan-Les-Ouates site in Geneva is home to Rolex’s foundry, where the 18 ct gold alloys are created. Like any overprotective parent, Rolex controls the entire process of the gold created to ensure durability and the ability to polish the alloys to their specifications. The 18 ct gold alloy is made up of 750%。of pure gold and a closely-guarded secret amount of other elements, including copper and silver. Rolex produces three types of 18 ct golds: yellow, white, and Everose — the exclusive pink gold alloy cast by Rolex.



The term Rolesor was patented by Rolex in 1933 and it is the combination of two metals on one timepiece: gold and steel. For models featuring 18 ct yellow or Everose gold, the bezel, winding crown, and the bracelet center links are cast in gold; the case and outer bracelet links in 904L steel. Rolesor models with white gold only feature the 18 ct alloy on the bezel and the rest of the Rolex in 904L stainless steel.



2005 marked the year of the Cerachrom bezel, made of extremely hard ceramic material to continue Rolex’s promise to durability to models like the Submariner and GMT-Master II. The material is nearly immune to scratches and the color is fade-proof, unaffected by sunlight and chlorinated or sea water. Given a diamond polish, the cerachrom bezel shines.

A watch designed for function, Rolex needed to fashion the bezel with excellent legibility to ensure that the wearer could easily read the numeral and graduation engravings. They are initially engraved into the ceramic and later coated with a layer of gold or platinum. This is done using a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) process in a vacuum chamber. The making of a single cerachrom bezel takes a total of 40 hours.


Mother of Pearl

The mother-of-pearl used by Rolex is no exception when it comes to skill and the selection process employed to ensure premium quality. Like a snowflake, each piece of mother-of-pearl is unique in color and texture depending on the part of the the shell from which it is taken. It can be white, pink, black, or yellow; never artificially colored.



There are those that wonder why a Rolex can be expensive, but it is clear that even down to the materials used, there is no expense spared in manufacturing standards that Rolex holds itself up to. These are built to endure what age throws at them for as long as possible, but Rolex always continues to be innovative and make stunning timepieces even better than the last.

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