Magazin sayfalarımızı seçtiğini dilde görüntülemeniz ne yazık ki mümkün değildir.
03/18/2021
 6 minutes

Chrono24’s ABCs of Rolex Part II: All About Bands and Clasps

By René Herold
Chrono24’s ABCs of Rolex Part II: All About Bands and Clasps

Chrono24’s ABCs of Rolex Part II: All About Bands and Clasps

Rolex outfits their watches with several different bands and clasps. So, what’s the difference between an Oyster and an Oysterflex bracelet? What sets the Oysterclasp and Oysterlock clasp apart from the Crownclasp? And what’s the story with the Fliplock, Glidelock, and Easylink extension systems? Read on to find out.

Rolex Watch Bands

Rolex currently has six different types of watch bands on offer. The most well-known and frequently used are the Oyster, Jubilee, and President bracelets. You will find these three bracelets in almost all of the Genevan manufacturer’s collections. The Oysterflex and Pearlmaster bracelets, on the other hand, are far less common. The former is paired with some sports models, while the latter is primarily reserved for the Pearlmaster women’s watch collection. The sixth type of band is, of course, leather straps, which Rolex has been using in the Cellini collection for many years.

The Oyster Bracelet

Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet
Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet

The Oyster is Rolex’s oldest metal bracelet. It debuted in the late 1930s, though the company wouldn’t file an official patent until 1947. Since then, the bracelet’s main features have remained consistent. It features three rows of flat, wide links with middle links that are slightly larger than the outer links. Thanks to its decidedly sporty look, Rolex most often pairs it with sports watches like the Submariner and Explorer. The stainless steel editions have satin-brushed links, while solid gold and two-tone bracelets typically feature brushed outer links and polished middle links. You’ll also find Oyster bracelets on more classic models like the Datejust and Sky-Dweller, which almost always feature polished middle links.

The original Oyster bracelet featured straight end links. In the 1950s, however, these were replaced by hollow, curved end links that nestle perfectly against the case, creating a seamless transition from watch to bracelet. Around the turn of the millennium, Rolex introduced the solid, curved end links we know today.

Interestingly enough, the original Oyster bracelet design so closely associated with Rolex doesn’t actually stem from the Genevan luxury watch brand itself. The true creator was Gay Frères, the then-premier metal bracelet maker. Rolex wasn’t the only company to utilize this manufacturer’s services. Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Heuer, Breitling, and many others used Gay Frères bracelets. The manufacturer officially became part of the Rolex family in 1998.

The Jubilee Bracelet

Datejust with a Jubilee bracelet
Datejust with a Jubilee bracelet

Rolex introduced the Jubilee bracelet alongside the Datejust in 1945. The bracelet was specially designed in honor of the company’s 40th anniversary, hence its name. The Jubilee is a five-piece link bracelet, as opposed to the Oyster’s three. Each link is much smaller and rounder. As is the case with most watches in the Classic collection, the middle links have a polished finish. This gives the bracelet a slightly more refined look. There’s a reason why many consider the Jubilee bracelet one of the most comfortable from Rolex.

While the bracelet initially exclusively appears on the Datejust, it has since found its way into other collections; for instance, Rolex pairs some versions of the GMT-Master II with a Jubilee bracelet.

The President Bracelet

Day-Date with a gold President bracelet
Day-Date with a gold President bracelet

The President bracelet made its debut in 1956 at the same time as the Rolex Day-Date. As the name implies, the watch and bracelet have long enjoyed popularity among heads of state.

Although the President bracelet was traditionally paired with watches in the Day-Date collection, in recent years, Rolex has also used it for several versions of the Datejust. In contrast to the Oyster and Jubilee bracelets, which are both available in stainless steel and precious metals, the President is exclusively made of gold or platinum, making it popular among Rolex fans who enjoy the finer things in life.

The bracelet’s design is a blend of the Oyster and Jubilee. It features three rows like the Oyster but has smaller, rounder links like the Jubilee. Moreover, the President also has polished middle links like the Jubilee bracelet.

The Oysterflex Bracelet

Yacht-Master with an Oysterflex bracelet
Yacht-Master with an Oysterflex bracelet

The Oysterflex is the newest bracelet in Rolex’s portfolio. It premiered on the Yacht-Master in 2015 and is very different than any other Rolex band. It features a superelastic metal blade core surrounded by black elastomer, thus combining the look and feel of a rubber strap with the durability of a metal bracelet.

You can also find this sporty bracelet on the Daytona and Sky-Dweller.

The Pearlmaster Bracelet

Rolex introduced the Pearlmaster collection and the eponymous bracelet in 1992. The bracelet perfectly complements the watch, which is an elegant and more feminine version of the Datejust. The five-piece link bracelet features wider middle links and slimmer outer links. The rounded shape gives it a soft, fluid appearance. The Pearlmaster bracelet is exclusively available in white, yellow, or rose gold, and some versions feature diamonds and other precious gemstones.

Rolex uses the Pearlmaster bracelet in the Pearlmaster collection, as well as on some special-edition Datejust and Day-Date watches.

Rolex Clasps

All watch bands require clasps to stay securely on the wrist, and Rolex currently offers three main options: the Crownclasp, the Oysterclasp, and the Oysterlock clasp. Let’s take a closer look at what sets each of these apart.

The Crownclasp

If you are looking for a particularly elegant finish, the Crownclasp is the right choice for you. When closed, this clasp is barely visible. Its fold-over mechanism’s two wings disappear completely beneath the bracelet links. The only thing that remains is a small Rolex crown that serves as a lever to open it up.

Barely visible: The Crownclasp on a President bracelet
Barely visible: The Crownclasp on a President bracelet

Due to its elegant appearance, Rolex tends to use the Crownclasp primarily with Jubilee and President bracelets, though it also appears on some Pearlmaster bracelets. In the past, Rolex occasionally paired it with leather straps.

The Oysterclasp and Oysterlock Clasp

Oysterclasp fold-over deployant buckle
Oysterclasp fold-over deployant buckle

In contrast to the Crownclasp, the Oysterclasp is immediately recognizable as a fold-over deployant buckle. The two wings are hidden beneath a cover that ensures a secure fit with a single click. It is the oldest fold-over buckle in Rolex’s catalog.

At first glance, the more modern Oysterlock clasp seems nearly identical to the Oysterclasp. However, upon close inspection, you’ll see an additional security lock near the end of its cover. You can tell the two clasps apart by the location of the Rolex crown. It sits centrally on the Oysterclasp’s cover and on the security lock of the Oysterlock clasp.

Oysterlock clasp with a Rolex crown on the security lock
Oysterlock clasp with a Rolex crown on the security lock

Rolex typically pairs both of these clasps with the Oyster bracelet; however, they sometimes combine them with Jubilee and Oysterflex bracelets. The Oysterclasp is most common on timepieces in the Classic line, e.g., the Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, and Sky-Dweller. The Oysterlock clasp, on the other hand, is reserved for watches in the Professional line, e.g., the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master, and Daytona.

Glidelock, Fliplock, and Easylink Extension Systems

Rolex has continuously improved their bracelets and clasps over the years, including adding many new features. One such innovation is the so-called Easylink extension system. This mechanism enables the wearer to adjust the bracelet’s length by approximately 5 mm in one simple step – no tools required. All you need to do is manipulate a special end link located at the clasp’s 12 o’clock position. If the bracelet is too snug, simply open the Easylink to loosen it. On the other hand, you can tighten the bracelet by folding the Easylink into its shortened position.

The Fliplock extension system uses a similar mechanism. While it also features a special folding extension link, it extends the bracelet by a full 22 mm in one simple step. This is particularly useful if you want to wear your watch over a wetsuit during a dive, for instance. This feature suits a niche audience, which is why Rolex tends to only use it on professional diving watches like the Sea-Dweller and Deepsea.

The third, and by far the most flexible, system is called the Glidelock. Its mechanism allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet up to 20 mm in 2 mm increments – again, with no need for any special tools. The standard version, which you’ll find on the Submariner, Explorer, and Yacht-Master, is operated using a small lever on the inside of the clasp. The bracelet can simply be adjusted to the desired length and then clicked into place. Rolex redesigned the Glidelock system for the Deepsea so that you don’t have to remove the watch to adjust its length. In this version, the clasp’s upper side serves as a lever to operate the mechanism.

So, that concludes the second installment of our Rolex guide. We hope we’ve shed some light on the weird and wonderful world of Rolex bands and clasps. If you want to know more about Rolex cases, dials, and materials, check out part one of Chrono24’s ABCs of Rolex. Next time, we’ll be focusing on the inner workings of these famous Swiss timepieces. Stay tuned!

Read more


About the Author

René Herold

My name is René Herold, and I first discovered Chrono24 in a job listing. Admittedly, I didn't really care about watches before coming to Chrono24. However, after a few …

Read more

Featured

ETA-Republish-Magazin-2-1
Watches and Technology
 6 minutes

ETA Movements: Reliable workhorses or soulless mass-produced calibers?

By Robert-Jan Broer
Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi 126710BLRO, Image: Bert Buijsrogge
Watch Guides
 6 minutes

Are watches really a good investment?

By Jorg Weppelink
Seiko Prospex
Watch Models
 5 minutes

A New Addition to the Prospex Family: The All-New Seiko Prospex LX Series

By Jorg Weppelink
ETA-Republish-Magazin-2-1
Watches and Technology
 6 minutes

ETA Movements: Reliable workhorses or soulless mass-produced calibers?

By Robert-Jan Broer
Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi 126710BLRO, Image: Bert Buijsrogge
Watch Guides
 6 minutes

Are watches really a good investment?

By Jorg Weppelink

Latest Articles

Tims-Lieblingsuhrwerk-2-1
01/25/2022
Watches and Technology
 7 minutes

NOMOS Glashütte Calibers: An Evolution

By Tim Breining
04-Breitling-v01-Magazin-2-1
01/24/2022
Brands
 2 minutes

Breitling: A Bit of Background

By Thomas Hendricks
CAM-2092-Speedmaster.vs.Daytona-2-1_B
01/21/2022
Watch Models
 5 minutes

Rolex Daytona vs. Omega Speedmaster Professional

By Donato Andrioli