Rolex Metals 101 – From Steel to Platinum

Since creating its own state-of-the-art foundry in 2005, Rolex has developed its own metals, beginning with 18-carat gold. All part of the brand’s pursuit of perfection, this step allows Rolex to ensure that only the finest of materials go into their pieces. It also helps them to stay ahead of the curve and increase the quality of their offerings.

While many watch companies still outsource materials from external manufacturers, Rolex offers a wide range of metals that they produce in-house, further proving its capabilities as an experienced watchmaker. Each of these provides its own unique brand of luxury and aesthetics.

Here is a guide to the different metals used in Rolex watches:

 

Rolex White Gold Sports Watches

 

Oystersteel

Stainless steel is a go-to for many watchmakers. Aside from being less expensive than gold, it is also lighter and more robust, making it ideal for tool watches and daily wearers.

As early as 2003, Rolex has been producing their steel watches using only 904L steel, which is more durable compared to 316L. 904L contains more chromium, molybdenum, and nickel and is highly resistant to corrosion, thanks to its copper, manganese, and silicon components. Due to this quality, the metal is mostly used in the aerospace and chemical industries.

 

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Steel Watches

 

In 2018, Rolex began using the name “Oystersteel” to signal the use of their own blend of 904L steel, which they manufacture directly from their foundry at Plan-les-Ouates, Switzerland.

Practical and hardwearing, Oystersteel also gives off an exceptional sheen when polished – helping maintain its beauty even when exposed to extreme conditions.

 


 

18K Yellow Gold

A yellow gold Rolex is undoutedly a symbol of success. While the brand has been producing watches in this precious metal for decades, they simply did not compromise.

As part of their pursuit to control the whole manufacturing process, Rolex began perfecting their own 18K gold alloy in the 2000s. From the extraction of gold from the ground to melting and turning it in to small beads, the brand makes massive efforts to produce quality 18K gold.

 

Rolex Yellow Gold Watches

 

Today, Rolex exclusively uses 18K gold in their products – a regal alloy composed of 750‰ (thousandths) of pure gold, mixed with guarded levels of silver and copper to unleash an extraordinary sheen.

 


 

18K White Gold

Many watch collectors love the premium feel of solid gold on their wrists but do not necessarily want to wear an ostentatious yellow gold piece every day. For these situations, 18k white gold makes an excellent alternative. The understated looks and fine luster of this metal make for an excellent “stealth wealth” piece.

 

Rolex President Day-Date White Gold Diamond Dial Bezel 118399

 

Rolex’s 18k white gold is often referred to as “Grey Gold” due to its darker appearance compared to most white gold alloys. With a formula jealously guarded, Rolex’s 18k white gold is only used in certain Day-Date, Pearlmaster, Submariner, Daytona, and Yacht-Master models; as well as in Datejust fluted bezels.

 


 

18K Everose Gold

Everose is Rolex’s patented rose gold alloy, introduced to the market in 2005. While rose gold has been used in the brand’s catalog in the past, Everose was produced in-house by Rolex.

Watch connoisseurs know that standard rose gold is crafted by mixing gold with copper, which gives it its reddish hue. However, exposure to harsh environments can make it lose its color eventually.

 

Rolex Sky-Dweller Chocolate Brown Everose Gold 326135

 

What sets the Everose apart is its platinum component of slightly more than 2%. This metal holds the copper in, ensuring that the rose gold keeps its original hue and luster for decades to come. In recent decades, this precious metal has been used as a modern alternative to yellow gold, whose warm hue offers an opulent aesthetic.

 


 

Rolesor

Rolesor itself is not a metal but the brand’s term for pieces that combine stainless steel with gold. They are commonly known as “two-tone” watches, but Rolex calls this style the “Rolesor.” The brand patented the term in 1933, combining Rolex with the French word “or” meaning “gold”.

 

Rolex Submariner Yellow Rolesor Blue Dial Watches

 

The cool tone of steel and white gold, and the warm tones of yellow and rose gold, when combined, make it easier for the wearer to match it with other jewelry. Moreover, Rolesor makes for a subdued look, which is perfect for those who want just a hint of gold.

Rolesor models usually utilize 18K gold on the bezel and center links, while the rest of the watch is made of steel. Rolex uses the terms Yellow Rolesor, White Rolesor, and Everose Rolesor for corresponding pairings of steel and yellow gold, white gold, or Everose gold.

 

Rolex Datejust Everose Rolesor Watches

 


 

Platinum

Considered the noblest of all metals, platinum offers a striking combination of vibrant shine and a silvery-white tone. Rolex uses 950 platinum, an alloy consisting of 950 thousandths of platinum, painstakingly crafted at its own foundry.

At Rolex, platinum is often used in the most prestigious watches in the Oyster collection – the Day-Date and Pearlmaster. Moreover, solid platinum Rolex watches are paired exclusively with ice blue dials – the variants of which can be recognized in the Day-Date and Daytona.

 

Rolex President Day-Date II Ice Blue Dial Platinum 218206

 

Platinum is also used for the graduated bezel and dial of the steel Yacht-Master and for the bezel of the 18-carat white gold Yacht-Master II. A combination of stainless steel and platinum called Rolesium also exists within the Yacht-Master line, which offers a cheaper alternative to the all-platinum timepiece.

 


 

Each of these metals offers functionality and an exceptional look. You just have to determine whichever you think offers the most aesthetic value and fits your lifestyle best. Explore our collection of Rolex steel, gold, two-tone, and platinum timepieces at SwissWatchExpo.com.

 

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