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November 9th, 2021
Many view Rolex as the number one Swiss watch brand. Fundamentally, there are two groups of Rolex customer groups. One who knows a lot about the watch brand’s fine craftsmanship and high quality and only knows that Rolex is the best! For them, the very name Rolex is enough to go and splurge. Why?
The basis for the immense popularity of Rolex is its high product quality and extensive precision when it comes to watchmaking. The Swiss brand has consistently maintained its quality and omits all unusual complications to improve the details. One thing that makes Rolex stand out from the crowd is the bracelet designs.
Rolex makes some of the most iconic bracelet designs of all time. Even though the bezel, dial, and case draw a lot of attention, a Rolex watch is incomplete without its easily recognisable bracelet. The luxury watches manufacturer take its bracelets and straps very seriously.
Over the years, the Rolex bracelet design has evolved, but it is a brand that aims to make essential improvements with each new release. Not just in terms of quality but also reliability and design.
Talking about the various Rolex bracelet types, the watch pioneer has released several iconic bracelet designs, and many have become the standard of bracelets for other watches. There is always a purpose behind a particular Rolex bracelet design, and this is why Rolex bracelets are so comfortable and durable.
Let’s take a look at the different Rolex Bracelet types and how they have changed over the years.
Unlike today’s metal-made Rolex bracelets, earlier Rolex made leather bracelets that were comfortable and complemented the look of the watch’s design. However, from the 1920s, Rolex started fitting the watches with metal bracelets. Instead of manufacturing the bracelets by themselves, they relied upon someone else.
They ordered the bracelets from the Swiss Company Gay Freres. It was a company that specialised in making watch bracelets. The company manufactured bracelets for other Swiss watch brands as well. This is the reason why most of the Rolex bracelets from that time look similar.
Perhaps this is the reason why Rolex created its bracelet design in the late 1930s. After all, it is a watch brand that wants no comparison with others. It instead sees itself as an industry leader.
So, Gay Freres produced the first-ever Rolex Oyster Bracelet. But due to the costly addition, people did not prioritise it at that moment. The oyster bracelet cost about half the price of the Rolex watches.
Rolex acquired Gay Freres in 1998 to support the brand’s mission of making the production process seamless and getting better control over its manufacturing process. As the production of Rolex watches increased, it only made sense to acquire the company.
Coming to today’s date, people now have the option of choosing the various Rolex straps for a selected model. Rolex bracelets are robust and come in multiple shapes and styles.
Launched: Late 1930s
The Rolex Oyster Bracelet is the first-ever bracelet to be designed by the watch brand, and it continues to remain the most popular one. The bracelet design comes with three flat links, with the centre link wider than the side ones. This makes it durable and keeps it secure from frictional wear.
The Oyster bracelet is the sportiest out of all. It equips on the entire Professional range of the watch, including the Rolex Submariner, Rolex Explorer, Rolex Air-King, Rolex Sea-Dweller, and others. The versatile Oyster bracelet fits all. From the smaller Lady-Datejust watches to the larger GMT-Master pilot and the jumbo Deepsea dive timepieces!
The Rolex Oyster design remained the same for many years until 1952, when the Oyster bracelet got a new patent number 303,005. This means the introduction of Rolex’s popular end links.
The bracelet pairs with different Rolex clasp types like Oysterclasp, Oysterlock, Glidelock and Crownclasp.
A quick summary of Rolex Clasp Types
The Rolex Jubilee bracelet suits the Rolex Datejust model. The Rolex Datejust came in 1945, just in time for Rolex’s jubilee anniversary. It was the world’s first chronometer to feature a date window on the dial, and hence, Rolex decided to present it with a special bracelet!
The jubilee bracelet features five links with three rows of small central links and two rows of large links. The Jubilee is a fancier bracelet option that pairs either with the Oysterclasp or Crownclasp.
The bracelet was initially available in solid gold, but now it comes in Rolesor styles, steel, Oystersteel, and three shades of gold. The Jubilee bracelet's overall look has remained the same since its production, but some changes are notable at the links. There are D-shaped links, folded links and solid links.
The Jubilee bracelet fits a seamless folding Crownclasp with a Rolex lever that opens the bracelet to reveal different folding blades. The covering of the clasp allows the intricate design of the Jubilee links to run smoothly around the wrist.
Apart from a few exceptions, the Rolex Jubilee bracelet is most fitted for the various Datejust models. This is because of its dressier outlook. But things changed when Rolex introduced the Oysterclasp for some of the Jubilee bracelets, making the bracelet look robust and sportier.
The Rolex President bracelet is the most prestigious bracelet design of the Rolex brand. It came in for their flagship watch, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, launched in 1956.
The Rolex President bracelet features wide links in the centre, three pieces of semi-circular domed links, and two smaller links in the outer rows. It fits finely with the seamlessly covered Crownclasp, which adds to the classic look.
To date, the President bracelet equips mainly to the Day-Date model (Day-Date 36, Day-Date II, and Day-Date 40) and a few other Lady Datejust models and Datejust 31 models. The President bracelet comes exclusively in yellow gold, white gold, Everose, or platinum.
Similar to the Jubilee bracelet, the President Bracelet fastens with a concealed Crownclasp folding. This allows the beautiful curvy bracelet link to run around one’s wrist seamlessly from a larger clasp.
In 1992, the Rolex Pearlmaster bracelet came in for the Rolex Pearlmaster line. It is the brand’s most luxurious watch, with models made in platinum or gold. There are gems and diamonds on the bezel, dial, lugs, and bracelet.
The diamond version ranges from a pair of diamond-set links to full diamond pave styles.
The bracelet features five round-edged rectangular links that serve as the perfect canvas for gems and diamonds. While the Pearlmaster bracelet features on the Ladies Pearlmaster, Rolex had released a special edition in the early 2000s named Day-Date Masterpiece featuring the Pearlmaster bracelets.
The Pearlmaster is available in white old, yellow gold, Everose or platinum and fits the Crownclasp.
The Rolex Oysterflex bracelet is the latest bracelet design that first appeared on the 2015 Yacht-Master Everose model.
While many may think the rubber strap to be too casual for a brand like Rolex, it is no ordinary rubber strap. At the core is gold Oysterlock safety clasp for maximum safety, and at the centre of the patent, the bracelet is a titanium-nickel metal alloy blade.
To add to the brand exclusivity, it has fins underneath the bracelet which provides extra space between the wrist and the bracelet, allowing for more comfort. All these features give the Oysterflex bracelet the reliability of a metal bracelet with the convenience of a rubber/ leather strap.
The bracelet has been available on the Rolex Daytona since 2018 and also on the Rolex Sky-Dweller 2020. It is now available in yellow gold, white gold and Everose gold Daytona models. Rolex currently pairs the Oysterflex bracelet with the gold versions of the Daytona and Yacht-Master.
Even though Rolex is most common in steel bracelets, but leather straps are equally appealing. The earlier models of Rolex came with leather straps, including the Rolex vintage Oyster watches. All the new Cellini watches come with leather straps equipped with tang buckles.
During the early 2000s, Rolex had dropped unique white gold Daytona models with colourful dials and even more colourful leather straps. The vibrant chronographs from the Daytona Beach collection flaunt green, turquoise, pink, and exotic yellow leather straps.
However, Rolex has recently replaced all the leather Daytona watches with the new Oysterflex bracelet style.
Rolex styles bracelet for both men and women. Rolex women bracelets are notably smaller in size but otherwise they are same as the men’s Rolex bracelets. It shares the same construction design and style as them.
No matter which Rolex model or Rolex bracelet you put on, all Rolex bracelet designs come with a specific purpose and place. Over the years, the Swiss watch brand has strived to refine the bracelets to enhance the overall feel of the Rolex watches, which directly contributes to the Rolex Bracelet prices.
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