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Bob's Watches - The Pre-Owned Rolex Exchange
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15176 Goldenwest St Huntington Beach, CA 92683 (800) 494-3708
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Rolex Reference (Definitions, Terminology & Glossary)

Read a word or a term on our website or elsewhere that you're unfamiliar with?  Learn the meaning or defintion of each word or phrase in our vocabulary index below.  Use this page as your Rolex reference guide for all things (definition, terminology,  or otherwise) Rolex-related. Other useful guides: Rolex Production Dates by Serial Number, Rolex Price Guide.  To learn more about Rolex, the Company, its history and founding, please visit our dedicated Rolex page.

  • 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.
  • Submariner or Sub: The 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.
  • Daytona Cosmograph: A term used for Daytonas with a self-widning, mechanical chronograph, manuafactured since 1963.
  • Bezel: The metal ring outside of the crystal.
  • Bezel insert: On some professional models the bezel uses a removeable insert to indicate different functions I.E. time elapses, 24 hour etc.
  • Stainless Steel: Physically – the 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.
  • Diamond Dial: Generic term referring to any dial that has diamond hour markers instead of index or other type of standard markers.
  • Diamond Bezel: Generic term referring to any bezel that has diamonds.
  • Oyster: large center link bracelet – found on sport models
  • Jubilee: more elegant link – 3 small center pieces
  • President ( or Presidential, or Day Date ): high end watch bracelet – shorter middle section than oyster – only solid gold
  • Datejust: The “stereotypical” Rolex watch. This is the model most people think of when they hear the word Rolex. It displays the day of the month.
  • Vintage Rolex: Generic term for any Rolex that is 30+ years or older.
  • Ceramic (Cerachrom): Refers to the ceramic composite material used in the modern bezels on GMT, Submariner and Daytona models.
  • Pepsi Dial: slang term for blue and red bezel inserts for GMT and GMT II models.
  • Coke Dial: slang term for red/black bezel insert for GMT and GMT II models.
  • Green: The color Rolex uses to “celebrate” an event. Examples include Green bezel for the 50th anniversary submariner, green crystal on the milgauss, etc.
  • Black: Color used to describe a dial or some bezel inserts.
  • Yellow: Color often used as a slang term to describe a watch that is entirely 18k yellow gold. I.E. a “yellow” watch.
  • 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.
  • Pink or Rose: Color – 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.
  • Blue: Color used to describe a dial or some bezel inserts.
  • Date: Feature common to most Rolex models, it indicates the day of the month in numerical fashion at the 3 o’clock position.
  • 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.
  • New or Unworn: Condition description – indicates a watch that has box and papers, original plastic stickers and has never been worn but was sold at some point by Rolex.
  • Mint: Condition description – refers to a watch that is as close to factory as can be made. Usually a service and polish has been performed.
  • Gold through clasp: A term that refers to submariner model 16613 when it transitioned from the all stainless steel buckle to the “gold through the clasp” version. The new, upgraded buckle has 18k gold running down the center portion of the flip lock clasp.
  • Masterpiece: Different term for the Pearlmaster watches. Usually Day-dates and solid gold DateJust, these models are usually heavily gemstone encrusted.
  • Tapestry Dial: Vertical ridge design covering the entire dial.
  • Bark Finish: Specially applied finish on some president bracelets and bezels– the gold is “etched” to look like tree bark – not currently in use by Rolex
  • Quartz: Watch movement based on electrical rather than mechanical properties. They all require batteries. The discontinued oyster-quartz and most ladies Cellini’s are all quartz movements – Much more accurate than mechanical movements.
  • Deep Sea: Rolex watch in their professional line and their current deep diving watch – can submerge MUCH deeper than a Submariner.
  • 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.
  • Paul Newman: 6239 – manual wind Daytona with exotic dial – white dial with black sub dials – in the movie “winning”.
  • 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.
  • Dial: Correct horological term for the “face” of the watch where you tell the time.
  • Face: See "Dial"
  • 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.
  • Cyclops: Term for the “bubble” that is over the date window on most models. The Cyclops magnifies the date 2.5 times.
  • 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.
  • Crystal: The glass or plastic that protects the watch dial from accidental damage.
  • Box & Papers: Term 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.
  • MOP or Mother of Pearl: Natural material from the shell of Tahitian Abalone. Because it is a naturally occurring pattern, no two are alike.
  • Meteorite: Dial made from a then wafer of an actual Namibian meteorit the fell from space. Because it is a naturally occurring patten, no two are alike.

 

General:

 

904L – Special steel alloy that Rolex uses for its watches. It is very dense and tough. Rolex is the ONLY watch company to use this special steel

 

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

 

Aftermarket – any parts added to a watch by a non-Rolex company – crystals, bezels, dials, etc

 

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

 

Arabic – type of dial hour markers – look like standard numbers – “2”, “3”, “4” etc. considered an upgraded type of dial

 

Arrowhead – type of hands and hour markers – found only on vintage pieces – shaped in the form of an arrow head.

 

Automatic – watch movement that has a special module included that winds the watch automatically with the movement of the owner’s wrist. All Rolex models that include the word “perpetual” are automatic watches.

 

Bark finish – on president bracelets – the center link is “etched” to look like tree bark

 

Baton – type of 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 metal ring outside of the crystal

 

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

 

Blueberry – slang term for all blue bezel inserts for GMT and GMT II models – very rare

 

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

 

Bracelet – the metal band

 

Bubble back – collectors 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.

 

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

 

Cellini – Rolex dress line of watches, not water proof, not automatic, manual or quartz

 

Cerachrome – ceramic composite material that makes the modern bezel inserts on GMT, submariner and Daytona models

 

Coke – slang term for red/black bezel insert for GMT and GMT II models

 

Crystal – the glass or plastic that protects the watch dial

 

Dial – the “face” of the watch where you tell the time, it has the hour markers

 

Florentine finish - on president bracelets – looks like a cross hatch pattern – very rare

 

Genuine – directly manufactured by Rolex

 

Gilt – refers to the printing on the dial. Done in a gold or very off white color

 

Glossy – dial coating leaving the dial with a high reflective shine

 

GMT – Greenwich Mean Time

 

Hack – the movement completely stops when the crown is pulled out

 

Head – everything excluding the bracelet or strap

 

Helium escape valve –the valve on SeaDwellers and DeepSeas that opens automatically when ascending from deep depths, without this valve the watch crystal will explode.

 

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

 

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

 

L.N.I.B. – slang term for condition – “like new in box”

 

LocTite – liquid applied to screw threads to hold them in place

 

Lollypop – ex sub 6204 –slang term for second hand where the luminous dot is at the very tip.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Morellis finish – on president bracelets – looks like a cross hatch pattern – very rare

 

Movement – the guts of the watch. The part that makes the watch run

 

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

 

Nicknames Hulk – 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”

 

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

 

Patina – collectors term for something changing color with age. This is usually desirable and not considered damage. Dials and hands primarily items that patina on watches

 

PCG – pointed crown guards – on some vintage sport models. The crown guards rise to a noticeable point as opposed to the rounded style of the modern cases

 

Pepsi – slang term for 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

 

Quartz – watch movement based on electrical properties rather than traditional mechanical properties. They all require batteries. The discontinued oyster-quartz and most ladies Cellini’s are all quartz movements

 

Radium – radioactive luminous material for hands and hour markers – used in vintage watches previous to 1950’s

 

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

 

Rolesium –  patented Rolex term meaning stainless steel and Platinum on the same watch (yachtmaster)

 

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

 

Root beer – Slang term for brown and yellow bezel 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. – 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

 

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

 

Super-Luminova - non radioactive luminous material for hands and hour markers – on all dials after 1998 – technically same as Luminova.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dials:

 

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 or silver and steel. 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

 

 

 

Bezel:

 

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 that is 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.

 

 

 

Bracelets:

 

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

 

Hecho in Mexico – for a period of time, some president bracelets were made in Mexico 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

 

 

 

Links:

 

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 that has been 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 that has a cap on the side that is 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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