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Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

Paul Altieri

If you follow along closely with Rolex releases, you will have no doubt noticed that in recent years, the company has released new models equipped with a whole new generation of movements. One of these movements is Caliber 3235, which is Rolex’s principal time and date automatic movement used in cornerstone collections like the Rolex Datejust and Submariner. With every new time/date Rolex watch release, Caliber 3235 is slowly replacing its predecessor Caliber 3135. But what exactly are the differences between these two movements? Let’s take a closer look at the Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235 to find out.

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

History and Evolution: Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

It may come as a surprise to some, but Rolex’s famed Caliber 3135 made its debut in 1988. That is over three decades ago, yet Rolex continues to use this automatic movement in some of its current production watches. Speak to any watchmaker and they’ll tell you that the Rolex Caliber 3135 is not only one of the easiest automatic movements to service, but also one of the most robust that can withstand daily wear. 

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

Caliber 3135 operates at 28,800 beats per hour, measures 28.50mm in diameter, and offers a power reserve of 48 hours. It also features hacking seconds (the seconds hand comes to a complete stop when the winding crown is pulled out) and a quickset function (the date can be changed without disturbing the timekeeping hands). Caliber 3135 has powered some of Rolex’s most famous icons including the Datejust 36, Date 34, Submariner Date, Sea-Dweller, Deepsea, and Yacht-Master 40.

In 2015, Rolex introduced Caliber 3235 in the then-new Pearlmaster 39 watch collection. Caliber 3235 is the all new generation of Rolex’s standard time and date movement, which will eventually take over Caliber 3135’s spot throughout the rest of the standard sized, self-winding watches in the company’s catalog.

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

According to Rolex, over 90% of Caliber 3235’s parts are new and it is protected by 14 patents. Some of the most notable changes that Caliber 3235 brought to the table include the new and more efficient Chronergy Escapement, a longer mainspring housed inside a barrel with thinner walls, and a new monobloc self-winding module. These modifications made way for Caliber 3235’s improved power reserve of 70 hours, despite retaining the same size as the preceding Caliber 3135. 

As expected, Rolex has rolled out the new-generation movement to other watch models since its debut inside the Pearlmaster 39. Along with the Pearlmaster 39, at the present time, Rolex uses Caliber 3235 to power the Datejust 41, Datejust 36, Sea-Dweller 43, Deepsea, Yacht-Master 40, and Yacht-Master 42. The only models that currently still run on Caliber 3135 are Date 34 and Submariner Date watches. While Rolex never discloses their future plans, it’s clear that they will replace Caliber 3135 with Caliber 3235 entirely in the very near future. 

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235


Quick Specs: Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

Although they perform the same functions and will ultimately be fitted to the same collections of Rolex watches, there are significant differences between the Caliber 3135 and the Caliber 3235, both in terms of structure and performance.

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

Caliber 3135

  • Debut Year: 1988
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours
  • Frequency: 28,800bph
  • Diameter: 28.50mm
  • Hairspring: Blue Parachrom
  • Escapement: Swiss Lever Escapement
  • Balance Staff: Riveted
  • Shock Absorber: KIF
  • Perpetual Rotor: Axle; Riveted two-piece
  • Barrel: Thicker barrel walls with shorter mainspring

Caliber 3235

  • Debut Year: 2015
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours
  • Frequency: 28,800bph
  • Diameter: 28.50mm
  • Hairspring: Blue Parachrom
  • Escapement: Chronergy Escapement with thinner pallet stones and double escape wheel teeth. 15% increased efficiency
  • Balance Staff: Friction-fit
  • Shock Absorbers: Paraflex
  • Perpetual Rotor: Ball-Bearing; Monobloc
  • Barrel: Thinner barrel walls with longer mainspring

Rolex Caliber 3135 vs. Caliber 3235

Paul Altieri

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

  1. Thanks for this. Nice to see what’s going on inside my 3135 Datejust. Never have taken the back off of it.

    • Some of the very early examples have well-documented issues with the lubrication of certain components, however these issues appeared earlier on in the history of the 32xx series movements and Rolex remedied any affected watches under warranty.
      Other than those early instances of certain watches with lubrication issues, the 32xx series has proven itself to be both accurate and reliable – and Rolex certainly seems to be confident in the Cal. 32xx series too, as it now forms the basis of the majority of the brand’s current-production movements.

  2. I see the two movements are same diameter? Are they swappable and mount similar? Did Rolex keep the size the same into the 3235? Hand sizing?

    • While the two movements are the same diameter, this was done so because Rolex was not drastically altering the case size of its watches. For example, the classic Datejust has a 36mm case diameter and this did not change when the brand introduced the new Cal. 3235, so there is no reason to significantly alter the size of the movement. With that in mind, despite their similar sizes, the Cal. 3135 and Cal. 3235 are very different and components are not interchangeable.

        • The balance wheels are not cross-compatible on these two movements. While The Caliber 3235 is often said to be the evolution of the Caliber 3135, they are significantly different movements at their core, rather than one just being an updated version of the other.

  3. Does anyone know what the TPD and direction recommendations are for calibre 3235 for a watch winder? thanks

    • The Rolex Caliber 3235 features a bidirectional automatic winding system, so you will want to select the direction setting that rotates your watch both ways. As far as a TPD setting, the Caliber 3235 will require a similar number of rotations as the previous generation to stay fully wound, so you will want to select one in the neighborhood of 650 TPD on your winder.

  4. Can you do a direct swap between a 3135 and 3235? (same everything else, just swap the movements)

    • Unfortunately, the Rolex Caliber 3235 is a significantly different movement than the Caliber 3135 and represents an entirely new generation of movement, rather than just a refinement or update to the Caliber 3135.

        • No, the Rolex Caliber 3235 is a significantly different movement than the Caliber 3135, as it was designed from the ground up to be a new generation of movement, rather than just an updated version of the Cal. 3135. If you need an entire new movement for your 41mm Rolex, your best option would be to reach out to your nearest authorized Rolex service center, who will be able to properly service your watch and reaplace and worn/damaged components with the correct ones that are supposed to be in your watch.