The Rolex Oysterquartz
The Rolex Oysterquartz is a special watch in the line of Rolex wristwatches because it features a quartz movement unlike the mechanical movements found in the rest of Rolex watches. This watch is indeed a unique feature of the Rolex profile as the company was never interested in making quartz watches. However, the increasing demand for these watches made Rolex participate in the making of reliable quartz movements. In spite of their numerous efforts, Rolex Oysterquartz has failed to create a substantial market for itself. Currently, it comprises only 2 % of the overall production of Rolex watches.
Current Models of Rolex Oysterquartz
The Rolex Oysterquartz is currently available in Datejust and Day Date models. Some of the varieties between the models that you may look for include the following:
Oysterquartz Datejust: With a case size of 36mm, these are available in stainless steel and two-tone (steel and gold). The common features that you will find in all such models are the 11-jewel chronometer movement, synthetic sapphire crystal, and integral bracelet. You have the option to choose polished bezel or yellow gold/white gold fluted bezel. 10 round cut diamonds set in the dial look quite impressive.
Oysterquartz Day Date: The maximum number of options are available in Oysterquartz Day Date models in terms of bracelets, dials, and bezels. Available in a standard case size of 36mm, these models too have some common features such as synthetic sapphire crystal and 11-jewel chronometer movement. The different styles available in bezels include the following:
- yellow gold/white gold fluted bezel
- Pyramid bezel
- Pyramid bezel with 12 round cut diamonds
- Bezel set with 44 round cut diamonds
There are numerous options available in dials. Some of them are:
- Dial set with diamond string and 10 round cut diamonds/sapphires/emeralds
- gold "Pave" sapphires/rubies and round cut diamonds dial
- gold "Pave Extra Large" diamond dial
- gold "Pave" diamond dial with 2 rows of rubies and ruby markers
- Dial set with 8 round cut diamonds and 2 baguette diamonds
- African mahogany or walnut dial, and many more
In bracelets also, you have the choice to choose any one of the following styles:
- Integral bracelet with concealed clasp
- "Pyramid" integral bracelet with concealed clasp
- "Karat" integral bracelet set with 308 round cut diamonds and concealed clasp
A Quick Overview of the Evolution of Rolex Oysterquartz
In 1960, Rolex became the member of the Centre Electronic Horologer (C.E.H) founded in the same year. Many other prestigious watch-making companies were also recruited to developing a quartz wristwatch movement. Ten years later, in 1970, C.E.H launched the first quartz movement "Beta 21" at the Basel Fair. However, Rolex was not satisfied with this movement and wanted to come up with an even better version. As a result, it did not participate in the launching of the Beta 21 movement. Instead, it decided to come up with its own quartz movement, completely designed by itself. After a few months, it released its own quartz watch named the "Rolex Quartz Date" at the Basel Fair. It followed a rigorous testing process to pass the quartz movement. The angular shaped case of this new Rolex model made it an instant hit in the market. Besides the quartz movement, two things that set this model apart from other Rolex models of that time were the following:
- This model did not feature any Oyster case unlike all other Rolex wristwatches
- It was the first Rolex model to sport the synthetic sapphire crystal, which was subsequently added to the rest of the line
The success of the Rolex Quartz Date was short lived and finally, in the year 1972, Rolex had to wrap up its production. However, it did not stop its research in developing quartz movement. This ultimately led to the introduction of a new Rolex model "Oysterquartz" in 1977. Available even today in Datejust and Day Date versions, this new model has the following features, making it an improved version of the earlier-launched Rolex Quartz Date:
- Caliber 5055, 11-jewel chronometer movement
- Oyster case with a new slimmer look
- Movement oscillating at a frequency of 32,768 Hz
With these new versions of Quartz watch, Rolex expected to establish itself even in this category of watches. However, it soon realized that Oysterquartz watches failed to create an impact. There were mainly two reasons for this:
- The increasing use of quartz watches for promotional purposes led to an image of "cheap watches" in the minds of the general public. Many of them found it quite difficult to relate Rolex with these watches. These new Rolex quartz watches without a sweeping second hand (a recognizable factor of Rolex watches) also created doubts in the minds of customers
- A large number of counterfeit Rolex Quartz watches flooded the market.
This low demand for the Rolex Oysterquartz wristwatches restricted their production to a limited number. But this may not be the end of Quartz movement in Rolex watches; Rolex has been trying its hand in developing electro-mechanical time-keeping. So in near future, don't be surprised if you find a new Rolex Quartz model featuring some mechanical aspects as well.