As you can imagine we receive quite a few Rolex-related Questions... and often the same questions are asked over and over again. Therefore, we have posted some of the Frequently Asked Questions here in order to save some time.
I would encourage you to review this page, and if your question is not answered here please feel free to email us.
While we try to answer emails promptly, responses can sometimes be delayed, as we are occassionally out of town at watch shows and giving lectures.
What is the difference between the Rolex Date and Datejust models?
Actually, the difference is very small -- 2mm to be exact. The case of the Date model is 34mm, which is 2mm smaller than the case of the Datejust at 36mm. That, and the fact that the Datejust is available with the Jubilee or Oyster bracelet, while the Date is only available with the Oyster bracelet.
What all languages are available on the "day wheel" of the Day-Date "President"?
The "day wheel" on the Day-Date is available in the following 26 languages: English, German, Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Ethiopian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Moroccan, Norwegian, Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish and Turkish.
What is the difference between a 'Chronometer' and a 'Chronograph'?
This is a very common question since people often confuse the two. While their names may sound similar, these terms have very little in common.
Chronometer is the term used to describe a highly-precise timepiece which, after rigorous testing, has received an official timing certificate from the official Swiss timing bureau Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres (COSC). Thus, it is a rating or accolade given for the watch's accuracy.
A chronograph on the other hand is a timepiece that, in addition to the normal time telling functions, also performs a seperate time measuring function such as a stop watch -- with a seperate seconds hand which can be started, stopped and reset to zero, via push-buttons on the side of the case. Please do not confuse 'chronographs' with 'complications' (which are described below). While all chronographs can be considered complications, not all complications are in fact chronographs.
What do 'complications' mean when referring to a wristwatch?
A complication is described as any additional function the wristwatch performs beyond basic time telling (i.e. hour, minute and second). A common example of wristwatch complications are calendar models which display the day/date. Additional complications include chronograph models, whereas the watch performs like a basic "stop watch" (as described above). Other complications worth mentioning are: second time zone, moonphase and alarms.
What can I do if my Rolex is stolen?
In addition to notifying the local authorities, you should contact Rolex who will place the Case Reference Number & Serial Number in their database. Thus, if the watch is ever returned for service you will be notified. With that being said, this website offers a service, whereby you can post (free of charge) information on any stolen Horological items. For more information on this free service click here.
What does the "T" designation at the bottom of the dial mean?
This refers to the chemical used on the hands and hour markers, which causes them to illuminate. Around 1950, watchmakers started using Tritium as their luminous material, and began indicating the amount of that radioactive material with a designation at the bottom of the dial (i.e. T SWISS T or SWISS T < 25). Around 1998, watchmakers changed the designation to read SWISS or SWISS MADE, when they replaced the Tritium with LumiNova (an organic, non-radioactive chemical), as their source of luminescence.
T SWISS MADE T indicates that the radioactive material Tritium is present on the wristwatch. The amount of radioactive material emitted is limited to a maximum of 25 milliCurie.
SWISS T < 25 more specifically indicates that the wristwatch emits an amount of Tritium that is less than the 25 milliCurie limit.
SWISS T 25 indicates that the wristwatch emits the maximum allowable amount of Tritium (i.e. a full 25 milliCurie).
SWISS (or) SWISS MADE on wristwatches produced after (around) 1998, indicates the presence of LumiNova as the luminous material. (Please Note: "SWISS" or "SWISS MADE" was also the indication on wristwatches produced prior to the 1950s, when Radium was used as the luminous material. However, at that time "SWISS" or "SWISS MADE" simply indicated that the watch was, in fact, made in Switzerland.
How many watches does Rolex manufacture each year?
Rolex doesn't release exact numbers, however, according to industry estimates and considering the number of Chronometer certificates issued to Rolex over the past few years, it's safe to assume that Rolex produces somewhere between 700,000 to 800,000 watches annually. On the other hand, it is believed that counterfeiters produce over ten times that number!
Where is the Serial Number located on my Rolex, and how can I tell how old my watch is?
On early Rolex watches they stamped the Serial Number on the outside of the case back. Then, around the mid-1940s they moved the serial number to the side of the case (between the lugs) at the 6 o'clock position. It is worth mentioning that the Case Reference Number (i.e. the Model Number) is located on the opposite side of the case at the 12 o'clock position -- the bracelet now must be removed to access these numbers. For more info on Serial Numbers, and how to use them to identify the approximate age of your watch, click here.
What is a Watch Winder, and why do I need one?
An Automatic Watch Winder is a sophisticated electronic device that keeps watches wound when you're not wearing them. Non-battery operated watches need to be wound on a regular basis. Automatic watches were designed to remain fully wound while being worn on your wrist for a certain period of time each day.
This is accomplished by utilizing a tiny rotor inside the watch that winds the mainspring when the wearer moves his/her wrist in day to day activity. However, the "power reserve" for most automatic watches is not more than around 44 hours. Automatic Watch Winders mimis the movement of your wrist by turning the watch and thus keeps the watch fully wound. For more info on Automatic Watch Winders click here.
How often should I have my Rolex serviced?
It is recommended to have your watch overhauled every 5 years. By having your watch serviced regularly you will reduce the chances of needing any serious (and costly) repairs.
Can U.S. Customs seize my Rolex at the border when entering the country?
According to the U.S. Customs Service, as of January 2003: The Rolex trademark recordation with Customs indicates "Import of Goods Bearing Genuine Trademarks or Trade Names Restricted." This means that genuine Rolex products can only be imported with the permission of the trademark owner, Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. A private individual can hand carry one Rolex watch from a trip overseas without obtaining permission. Bring in more than one, and they will be seized as a trademark violation. Purchasing a Rolex from overseas by mail is also a trademark violation. http://www.customs.gov/
Why is the Day-Date sometimes called a "President"?
Actually, Rolex has never referred to the Day-Date watch as a "President". However, the BRACELET we are used to seeing on the Day-Date is known as a President, since one was fitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower's watch during a service overhaul in 1956 -- the same year the Day-Date was first introduced.
And as a little known trivia fact, President Eisenhower's watch wasn't even a Day-Date... it was an 18kt Datejust given to him by Rolex in 1946 to celebrate the WWII victory -- and Winston Churchill was also given one at the same time.
What kind of Stainless Steel does Rolex use in their watch cases?
While most high-end watch companies utilize 1.4435 (or 316L) Stainless Steel, Rolex uses 1.4439 (or 904L) Stainless Steel. While they both have the same grade of hardness, 904L has a slighytly higher nickel discharge, and thus a slightly higher resistance to corrosion. 904L is mainly used in industry applications handling chlorides, sulfer dioxide gas or other toxic materials. While this may sound like overkill for use with wristwatches, it's just another exaple of over'engineering on the part of Rolex where only the best will do.
What is Rolesor?
This is a Rolex term to indicate the case/bracelet configuration of Stainless Steel and Gold.
What is Rolesium?
This is a Rolex term to indicate the case/bracelet configuration of Stainless Steel and Platinum.
Is there anything I can do to make my watch run a few seconds fast/slow each day?
If your watch is off a few seconds per day (fast or slow) you can regulate it depending on the position you leave the watch at night when you're not wearing it, as follows:
By leaving the watch's dial (or face) up can cause it to gain (or run fast) upto a few seconds per day. On the other hand, by leaving the watch's dial (or face) down can cause it to lose (or run slow) upto a few seconds per day.
What is an SEL?
Solid End Links (or SEL) refers to the final link on select modern Rolex bracelets. On these SEL bracelets, the final link is made from a solid piece of metal where the bracelet attaches to the watch's case (or head). This new design makes for a stronger bracelet and a cleaner look. On older bracelets, they utilized a hollow end piece to attach the bracelet to the watch's case.
My watch came with a Plastic Crystal... can I switch it so a Sapphire Crystal?
No, Plastic and Sapphire Crystals cannot be interchanged. The cases are different for each and thus they cannot accomodate a different crystal type.
Do genuine Rolex watches "tick"?
This has been a big misconception regarding Rolex watches, "sweeping" versus "ticking". And in the past people used this as a method of identifying counterfeit Rolex watches.
The truth is, genuine Rolex watches do, in fact, "tick". However, they tick at around 5 to 6 times per second, so it gives the illusion of "sweeping" or "floating" around the dial. If you watch the second hand with a loupe you can see it.
In the past, cheap counterfeits would utilize quartz movements, and thus would "tick" once per second. However, these days counterfeits use mechanical movements that appear to "float", but only at around 3 to 4 times per second. This gives what we call a "choppy step", and can also be spotted with a loupe.
With that being said, Rolex also made quartz watches, since the 1970s, but were discontinued a few years ago. However, these models were only made in very small quantity, and represented only around 2% of their total watch production. Another Rolex model, the Tru-beat, featured a mechanical movement that was designed to "tick" only once per second. This "dead beat" seconds feature wasn't very popular and the watch was discontinued shortly after it was introduced, in 1954.
Is it illegal to sell "Replica" Rolex watches?
In a word -- YES! Replica watches are, in fact, counterfeit and therefore are ILLEGAL. Any product that includes copyrigtht and/or trademark names or logos (without the copyright and/or trademark owner's permission) is considered to be counterfeit.
On January 17, 2001, the U.S. District Court in Columbia, SC, charged two individuals with selling allegedly counterfeit versions of Rolex watches. Their website claimed the watches to be "replicas". Mark Dipadova was later sentenced to 24 months in prison and was ordered to pay $138,264 in restitution for "trafficking counterfeited trademarks", while Rufus Todd James was sentenced to 36 months in prison, and was ordered to pay $116,779 in restitution on a similar charge.
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