Rolex Terminology and Definitions

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Common Rolex Terminology and Definitions:

Need to catch up on all of the Rolex Terminology and Definitions? Here’s a guide made just for you:

904L Stainless Steel: The type of stainless steel Rolex uses in making its watches. In 1985, Rolex was the first watchmaking brand to use 904L steel because it’s a highly corrosion-resistant alloy that acquires an exceptional sheen when polished.

Acrylic crystal: previous generation material used on Rolex crystals comprised of acrylic, a plastic like material. The advantage is that it can be polished.

Aftermarket: any parts not made by Rolex – dials, crystals, bezels, ect.

Anodized Aluminum: material that made the bezel inserts of Submariners and GMT’s before the current Cerachrome.

Arabic: type of dial markers representing the hours (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4), as opposed to Roman Numerals i.e. I, II, Ill, I\l)

Arrowhead: hand and hour markers found on vintage pieces that are shaped in the form of arrow heads

Automatic: Automatic watches are wound by the movement of the wearer. This movement causes a weight inside the watch to rotate backwards and forwards. The weight is connected by a gear train to the barrel arbor, which is hooked to the mainspring, thus winding it and keeping it in constant tension.

Bark Finish: finish found on presidential bracelets where the center links are etched to look like tree bark.

Baton: hands that look like long rectangles with no points and can be luminous or not

Bevel: the angled corner on some older style professional mode cases, often obliterated by multiple polishes, desirable on collectors market.

Bezel: The ring around the crystal on the top portion of a watch. Often, the bezel is made from varying materials (i.e. stainless steel or gold) within a watch line.

Bezel insert: On some professional models the bezel uses a removable insert to indicate different functions I.E. time elapses, 24 hour etc.

Black: Color used to describe a dial or some bezel inserts.

Blades/Wings: the middle 2 parts of the fold over clasp

Blue: Color used to describe a dial or some bezel inserts.

Blueberry: nickname for all blue bezel inserts for GMT and GMT II models, very rare.

Bombay lugs: type of lug on vintage Datejust typified by the lug rising to a point in the center.

Box & Papers: referring to the original presentation box and the original warranty papers or card given to the original owner when originally purchased from the Rolex Jeweler – Collectors like to have the “box and papers” to make their watch a complete set.

Bracelet: a metal band.

Bubble Back: term referring to the case back on early automatic models, it bubbles/domes out as opposed to the thinner flat back of the modern cases.

Cellinidress line of watches, not water proof, not automatic, manual or quartz.

Cerachrome: ceramic material used to make the bezel inserts of modern, GMT, Submariner, Daytona and Yatchmaster II.  It is virtually impervious to scratches, and its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Ceramic (Cerachrom): See Cerachrome

Coke: nickname for red/black bezel insert for GMT and GMT II models.

Crown Guard: the two metal protrusions on the watch case that flank the crown and protect it from damage, usually a feature found on a professional watch.

Rolex Explorer with each part labeled

Crystal: The glass or plastic that protects the watch dial from accidental damage.

Cyclops: Glass bubble positioned over the date aperture for the purpose of magnifying the date to be more easily read.

Date: Feature common to most Rolex models, it indicates the day of the month in numerical fashion at the 3 o’clock position.

DatejustThe “stereotypical” Rolex watch. This is the model most people think of when they hear the word Rolex. It displays the day of the month.

Daytona Cosmograph: term used for Daytonas with a self-winding, mechanical chronograph, manufactured since 1963.

Deep Seawatch in their professional line and their current deep diving watch it can submerge MUCH deeper than a Submariner.

Dial: This is the face of the watch, on which the hour markers (or indices) and hands are attached. On date and day-date models, an aperture is cut in the dial to allow the number wheels to be read.

Diamond Bezel: term referring to any bezel that has diamonds.

Diamond Dial: term referring to any dial that has diamond hour markers instead of index or other type of standard markers.

Face: See Dial

Florentine finish: looks like a cross hatch pattern. It’s found on president bracelets and is very rare.

Genuine: directly manufactured by Rolex.

Gilt: A gilt dial is when the lettering on the dial is golden rather than white. This is found on the older 5513 and 1675 (as well as others). This is very rare.

Glossy: a coating on the dial that gives it a high reflective shine.

GMTThe Rolex GMT-Master wristwatch was originally designed in collaboration with Pan American Airways and issued by the airline to their crews on long-haul flights. (“GMT” in the name stands for Greenwich Mean Time also known as Coordinated Universal Time).

Gold through clasp: the gold stripe from the band is continued into the buckle, this feature was introduced as early as 1999 in the 16613.

Green: The color Rolex uses to “celebrate” an event. Examples include Green bezel for the 50th anniversary submariner, green crystal on the Milgauss, etc.

Hack: Introduced around 1972, this feature causes the second hand to ‘stop dead’ when the winding crown is pulled out fully to set the time, thus allowing for more easily synchronizing of one or more watches.

Head: everything excluding the bracelet or strap

Helium escape valve: A one-way valve used in the Sea-Dweller, by which the helium particles are allowed to escape from the watch’s case during decompression.

High Polish: polish style to bracelets, cases and bezels, aka mirror finish

Holes Case: same as pierced lugs

Index: type of dial hour markers – aka “sticks” or “hash” – the standard dial for Rolex.

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Rolex Terminology and Definitions

James Bond: Submariner Oyster Perpetual – used as a “knuckle duster” weapon in the original books, also seen (models changed) in several early 007 movies and worn by Ian Flemming.

Jewels: synthetic jewels (rubies, diamond, and sapphire) used inside a watch to reduce friction on pivots of the gears and extend the life of the movement.

Jubilee: This refined, exclusive metal bracelet with semi-circular three-piece links was created in 1956 for the launch of the prestigious Oyster Perpetual Day-Date.

L.N.I.B.: acronym for “like new in box”

Loc Tite: liquid applied to screw threads to hold them in place

Lollipop: when the markers touch the 5-minute tick marks. Ex: 1979 Submariner 5513

Luminova: non-radioactive luminous material for hands and hour markers – on all dials after 1998.

Manual: a watch movement that required manual winding every day. Men’s Cellini.

Masterpiece: Different term for the Pearlmaster watches. Usually Day-dates and solid gold DateJust, these models are usually heavily gemstone encrusted.

Maxi Dial: modern term that has come to mean a dial that has oversized hour dots, primarily used to describe submariners and GMT models.

Meteorite: Dial made from a thin layer of an actual Gibeon meteorite that fell from space. Because it is a naturally occurring pattern, no two are alike.

Mint: Describes the condition. Refers to a watch that is as close to factory as can be made. Usually a service and polish has been performed.

Mk 1, MK 2, etc.: collector’s term to differentiate the changes in dials as time passes. Generally limited to professional models. Changes include font differences, font sizes, gilt/non gilt, etc.

MOP or Mother of Pearl: Dial made from the shell of Tahitian Abalone. Because it is a naturally occurring pattern, no two are alike.

Morellis finish: looks like a cross hatch pattern, found on president bracelets. Very Rare.

Movement: the insides of the watch. The part that makes the watch run

N.O.S.: acronym for parts never sold but are not the newest model – “new, old stock”.

New or Unworn: Describes condition. Indicates a watch that has box and papers, original plastic stickers and has never been worn but was sold at some point by Rolex.

No Date (non-date)Indicates the absence of the date feature on specific models – this is not an official Rolex term. If a model does not have a date feature, Rolex refers to it just as an Oyster Perpetual, I.E. the Oyster Perpetual Submariner as opposed to the Submariner Date.

NO Holes Case: a case that does not have pierced lugs.

Overhaul: to completely service the movement, disassembly, ultrasonic cleaning, re assembly, oiling, timing and regulating.

Oyster band: large center link bracelet found on sport models.

Panda: Collectors term referring to the color of a dial. Usually reserved for Rolex Daytona, the bulk of the dial is white while the sub dials are all black.

Patina: when something changes color with age. This is usually desirable and not considered damage. Dials and hands are primarily the items that patina on watches.

Paul Newman: Manual wind Daytona 6239 with exotic dial, white dial with black sub dials. It was in the movie “winning”.

PCG: acronym for pointed crown guards. They are found on some vintage sport models. The crown guards rise to a noticeable point as opposed to the rounded style of the modern cases.

Pepsi Dialnickname for the blue and red bezel inserts for GMT and GMT II models.

Pierced lugs: The holes in the side of the case allowing access to the spring bars of the bracelet, mostly stopped by 2000.

Pink or Rose: used to describe dial color or a slang term to describe a watch that is entirely 18k pink gold, I.E. a “pink/rose” watch.

President ( or Presidential, or Day Date): This nickname is often used to describe the Rolex Day-Date models, since one was given to then President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, to celebrate his re-election and nearly every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt has worn one. However, the name ‘President’ is officially only used to describe the bracelet style featured on the Day-Date model.

Rolex Terminology and Definitions

Quartz: Quartz watches use a tiny energy cell (or battery) to replace the mainspring as the power source. The oscillating mass is replaced by a tiny piece of shaped quartz crystal, which is tuned to a frequency of 32,768 Hz (cycles per second)—this is often called the piezoelectric effect and is similar to that of a tuning fork. A system of integrated circuits then divides the frequency into one-second pulses to drive a tiny rotor, which drives the hands.

Radium: Radioactive luminous material first used on the hands of watches around 1913. This material was subsequently replaced by Tritium around 1950.

Rehaut: Alternate term for the inner reflector ring just above the dial on all modern models. This area is now engraved with the watches serial # and the word Rolex repeated around the ring.

Rolesium: patented Rolex term meaning stainless steel and Platinum on the same watch. Ex. Yachtmaster.

Rolesor: patented Rolex term meaning stainless steel and yellow gold on the same watch.

Roman: type of dial hour markers. They look like roman numerals – “I”, “V”, “XI” etc. it is considered an upgraded type of dial.

Root beernickname for the brown and yellow bezels inserts for GMT and GMT II models.

Sapphire Crystal: modern material for all Rolex watch crystals, it is a synthetically grown crystal, cut at a 45 degree angle to make it 8 times stronger than competitors mineral glass crystals. The disadvantage is that it cannot be polished.

Satin: polish style to bracelets and cases.

Spider Dial: collector’s term referring specifically to glossy black dial, usually submariners, the dial cracks and splits leaving a spider web pattern in the lacquer.

Stainless Steel: a non-precious metal material used to make the case and bracelet of Rolex watches. Generally the term used to indicate that a watch contains no gold in it.

Stick: type of hour marker – slang term for index.

Sub-Dials: the smaller, usually sunken, area on a dial that indicated additional information. Mostly seen on the Daytona but some Cellini’s have sub-dials for their second hand.

Submariner or SubThe Submariner is one of the most popular watch models made by Rolex.  It was first launched in 1954 as a divers watch for its ability to withstand moisture and water. It is featured in their professional line and is the “iconic” Rolex sport watch.

Super-luminova: non-radioactive luminous material for hands and hour markers that’s on all dials after 1998. It’s technically same as Luminova.

Tapestry Dial: Vertical ridge design covering the entire dial.

Tritium: radioactive luminous material used from 50’s until mid 90’s. TswissT and Swiss<25 dials.

Tropical Dial: term referring to a specific dial patina usually on matte, black, professional models with the color turning a dark brown.

Two-tone (or steel & gold, 18k & gold, Tu Tone or 2-Tone): This common Rolex phrase is used to describe a watch made of two different metals, most typically stainless steel and yellow gold.

Unpolished: term denoting a watch that has not been polished ever in its life, very desirable to preserve the bevel on sports models.

Vintage RolexGeneric term for any Rolex that is 30+ years or older.

White: Color used to describe dial color or a slang term to describe a watch that is entirely 18k white gold, I.E. a “white” watch.

White Gold Surround: the “container” that holds the luminescent material on modern Rolex dials. Appears to be a silver (white gold) ring around the hour marker.

Yellow: Color often used as a slang term to describe a watch that is entirely 18k yellow gold. I.E. a “yellow” watch.

Rolex Terminology and Definitions


Types of Buckles

Ardillon – traditional buckle and tang

Deployant (deployment) – butterfly type closing buckle

Fold over – standard professional and datejust

Hidden – “clasp less” style on modern jubilee and president bracelets


Common Nicknames Used for Different WatchesHulk – 116610 – SS green dial and green ceramic bezel submariner

Papa Smurf – 116618 – white gold submariner with the powder blue dial and bezel

Batman – 116710 – GMT II with the black and blue bi-color ceramic bezel

Kermit – 16610lv –original green bezel 50th anniversary submariner

Fat lady– 16760 – GMT master in red and black bezel only – nicknamed because the case is 1mm larger than its counterparts

Pussy galore – 6542 – GMT named for the bond girl who wore this watch during the 007 movie “Goldfinger”

James Bond – submariner oyster perpetual – used as a “knuckle duster” weapon in the original books – seen (models changed) in several early 007 movies and worn by Ian Flemming

Paul Newman – 6239 – manual wind Daytona with exotic dial – white dial with black sub dials – in the movie “winning”

Thunderbird – original turn-o-graph bezel – named for the Air Force Acrobatic Team

Steve Mcqueen – explorer II with the orange gmt hand (original style) seen on actors wrist in the movie “Le Mans”11`

Rolex Terminology and Definitions


Types of Dials Made By Rolex

Bordeaux – colored dial that starts red in the center and changes to black as it moves closer to the edge

Concentric circles – starting from the center and radiating out to the edge, 3 dimensional circles grow from small to large.

Diamond – generic term referring to any dial that has diamond hour markers instead of index or other type of standard markers

Houndstooth – 3 colored checker pattern resembling the cloth pattern of the same name

Jubilee – entire dial covered by the word “Rolex” repeated over and over

Lapis lazuli – natural mineral stone dial – blue color with ribbons and dots of other material in the stone

Linen – finish type to some Rolex dials – looks like linen paper, small fiber-like particles on dial

Meteorite – dial made from a thin wafer of an actual Namibian meteorite that fell from space.

Mother of pearl – natural material from the shell of Tahitian abalone. Because it is a natural pattern, no 2 are alike.

Onyx – natural mineral stone dial – solid black

Pave – pronounced “paw-vay” – jewelry term referring to the setting of diamonds completely covering an entire surface. In Rolex terms it usually refers to an entire dial but can also describe an entire watch I.E. the GMT ice.

Pie pan – discontinued style of dial. The outer edge of the dial angles downward resembling a pie pan upside down.

Pyramid – dial segmented into a grid pattern with each square containing 3-D pyramids pointing toward the crystal

Quadrant – style of dial in which the dial is divided into 4 quarters. Sometimes the quarters were painted in different colors or just 2 were painted

Serti – jewelry term meaning with diamonds, in Rolex terms it means a diamond dial, HOWEVER, usually it only refers to the submariner or gmt dials that had the diamond and sapphire or rubies.

Sigma – refers to the figures on the outside of the words SWISS or TSWISST. If present it indicates that the hour markers are made of white gold. Only used for a short time and not very common.

Stone dials – collection of dials from Rolex using natural materials. IE. Lapis lazuli, meteorite, jadeite, gossularite, onyx etc.

Tapestry – vertical stripes covering the entire dial

Tuxedo – dial style using 2 colors usually black and white, silver and steel or black and rose gold. The bulk of the dial is one color (usually the darker) and in an outside ring, the other color.

Vignette – colored dial that starts blue in the center and changes to black as it moves closer to the edge

Wood – discontinued style of dial that had a sliver of wood covering the dial surface. Types included: birch, burl wood, walnut, African mahogany

Rolex Terminology and Definitions


Types of Bezels Made by Rolex

12 point – Bezel with 12 diamonds. One at each hour marker

24 diamonds – smooth bezel with 12 big diamonds and 12 smaller off set diamonds

Cartouche – discontinued bezel – only 18k – “Rolex” printed at the 6 position

Domed – both ss and gold – current style, high polished, very similar to polished

Engine turned – currently only available in all ss – radiating lines out

Fluted – always 18k gold – bezel with sharp hills and valleys

Rotating – bezel able to turn to facilitate some sort of timing feature – found on GMT, Submariner, turn-o-graph, yachtmaster

Polished – both ss and gold – older style bezel, high polished with no design on it – no longer in production

Pyramid – 2 small pyramids then 2 diamonds repeated all around the bezel

Tachymeter – scale used to indicate “units per hour” on Daytona models

Turn-o-graph – rotatable, timing bezel on “thunderbird” model DateJust

Ring command – patented name given to the sky-dweller and yachtmaster II bezels. The bezel itself interacts with the watch movement programming or “commanding” its function.

Rolex Terminology and Definitions


Types of Bracelets Made by Rolex

Argentinian bracelet – for a period of time,  Argentina made some president bracelets with stylistic changes to the buckle

Hecho in Mexico – for a period of time, Mexico made some president bracelets and stamped as such.

Integral – discontinued, angular linked bracelet mainly found on the discontinued oyster quartz model

Jubilee – more elegant link – 3 small center pieces

Oyster – large center link bracelet – sport models

Pearlmaster – high end watches – technically a modified oyster bracelet with rounded edges – only solid gold

President – high end watch bracelet – shorter middle section than oyster – only solid gold

Strap – leather strap with traditional Ardillon buckles

Rolex Terminology and Definitions


Types of Links Made by Rolex

D link – slang term for the hollow jubilee link

Daimier – A high end link, solid gold only, somewhat similar to Jubilee links, usually reserved for Cellini watches.

Easy Link – The link extension system used on some of the new solid link Oyster bracelets. The link under the buckle can unfold, thus lengthening the bracelet buy a half of one link.

Expansion rivet – rivet link that also stretches to make wearing more comfortable.

Fold over – oyster links manufactured by folding the metal to make the link rather than casting.

Glide Lock – The link extension system on the new Submariners and Deepsea. The link under the buckle “unlocks” and can slide the entire length of the buckle to adjust the fit.

Hollow – links that are not one solid piece but hollow in the center

Oval – older style jubilee links that are oval and not the d-link shape

Rivet – oyster link with cap on the side riveted on to hide the hollow nature of the link

Solid – newer links that are one solid piece of metal and not hollow

Transitional fold over – next generation fold over link

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Rolex Terminology and Definitions

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