The world of luxury watches can be confusing. There are hundreds of watch specific terms that confuse even the most seasoned of veterans. If you every come across a word or phrase that you are unfamiliar with, this page can be a resource for you. Learn the meaning or definition of each word or phrase in our Rolex vocabulary index below. Use this page as your reference guide for all things (definition, terminology, or otherwise) related to Rolex watches. Other useful guides include our 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.
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 Dial: type of dial hour markers that look like standard numbers, i.e - “2”, “3”, “4” - are 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.
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.
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.
Bubble back: collectors term referring to the case back on early automatic Rolex models, it bubbles/domes out as opposed to the thinner flat back of the modern cases.
Buckles: Ardillon – traditional buckle and tang
Deployant: butterfly type closing buckle
Fold over: standard professional and datejust
Hidden: This “clasp-less” style on modern jubilee and president bracelets hides the typically obtrusive nature of a clasp
Cellini: Rolex dress line of watches, not water proof, not automatic, manual or quartz
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 Rolex Sea-Dwellers and DeepSeas that opens automatically when ascending from deep depths, without this valve the watch crystal will explode from excess pressure that can build up while diving.
High polish: polish style to bracelets, cases and bezels, aka mirror finish
Holes case: same as pierced lugs, these holes make it easier to change out your watches bracelet or strap
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 and is short for “like new in box”
LocTite: liquid applied to screw threads to hold them in place
Lollypop: slang term for second hand where the luminous dot is at the very tip. This is commonly found on the Tudor Submariner ref. 6204
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 Fnish: on president bracelets – looks like a cross hatch pattern – very rare
Movement: This feature is responsible for keeping the watch in constant motion - the part that makes the watch run. Movements in Rolex watches are incredibly complex and feature jeweled construction, ensuring they fit perfectly and keep perfect time.
N.O.S.: slang term for parts never sold but are not the newest model – “new, old stock”
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
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 - this is commonly found on their Yachtmaster model
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
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 “pah-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
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: comes in both stainless steel and gold, this current style is high polished and is very similar to older polished models
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: comes in both stainless steel and gold, this older style bezel is highly polished with no design on it and is 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.
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
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