Ignored Rolex Balance Adjustment System

Every change in movement technology is an exploration of the cutting-edge concepts of mechanical watchmaking, or it will become famous or fleeting. In any case, the infinite between square inches may always be the most attractive to watch lovers. Heartstrings. Rolex, a well-known watchmaking company headquartered in Geneva, is well-known in the watch industry. It has no super complicated functions, no delicate and beautiful movements, and no limit. It is now a world-renowned watch legend.

Rolex Watch Factory
From Cal.3235

Above: Date-type with caliber 3235. Below: Day-of-the-week model with caliber 3255.

    Since the middle of the last century, Rolex’s major series of appearance designs have been subtly evolving, but they have never betrayed their ancestors. The continuous breakthrough and development of movement technology have rarely exposed the surface of the mountains. Ask, you can’t be sure how this watch and movement are different from the past. Last year (2015), Rolex released two new movements: Cal.3235 and Cal.3255. Most people know Cal.3255, but few people know Cal.3235. Historically, Rolex journal-type movements and day-of-the-week movements, if there are important technical innovations, are often launched together, just like Cal in 1977 When .3035 was launched, Cal.3055 also appeared. When Cal.3135 replaced Cal.3035 in 1988, Cal.3055 was also replaced by Cal.3155.
Every change of number is an important technological innovation

Rolex’s important 3-series movement evolution

    From the original Cal.3035 to today’s Cal.3235, after 40 years, there have been too many technical changes, large and small, and each change in the number is an important technical innovation, of course, there are also important points . Cal.3035 to Cal.3135, and Cal.3135 to Cal.3235, basically the layout design of the movement has been adjusted very much. The differences between these numbers are obvious. And Cal.3135 to Cal.3136, mainly the shock absorber KIF replaced by Rolex patent Paraflex. The change in the number at the beginning of the movement number is directly a complete change in the function and type of the movement, indicating two completely different movements.
Rolex special structure-fine adjustment screw for balance wheel clearance

Improved wheel train for Rolex 3255

   Therefore, the new Cal.3255 released in 2015 is fundamentally different from the previous Cal.3155, but it has not exceeded the scope of the movement type. They are the exclusive movements of the day-of-the-day watch (DD). So what’s the difference? I think most of the differences were already known at the beginning of the year. For example, the barrel wall was 50% thinner, the new paramagnetic Chronergy escapement system (15% efficiency) was used, and the pallet fork was thinner than the previous generation. 50%, dynamic storage increased to 70 hours, more than 90% of the parts of the movement are redesigned or changed, the accuracy of the original observatory is doubled, 14 patents and so on. However, there is a relatively detailed change that is little known. This change is not small, but it is very conspicuous. In fact, it should not be ignored. It is the fine adjustment screw on the swing bridge.

Two trimmer screws in Rolex Cal. 3130 movement

    Speaking of this fine-tuning screw, it is the first time it appears in the 3XXX basic movement, but it is not only in 2015, so it is not a new technology, but for Cal.3235 or Cal.3255, it is a No small change. Before talking about this fine-tuning screw, the first thing we have to say is the fine-tuning screw hidden under it. In Cal.3235 / Cal.3255, the balance wheel bridge board has made very obvious changes compared to the previous generation, except for the original Except that the clips fixed above the bridge plate with screws disappeared, there were originally two fine-tuning screws under the bridge plate, and now there is only one. The function of this screw is to finely adjust the balance of the balance wheel by adjusting the position of the swing bridge. During the installation process, the position deviation of the bridge will directly affect the position of the swing and thus the travel time. These two fine-tuning screws have been available since Rolex’s transition from the single bridge of 30XX to the 31XX series movement, which also shows that although the double-arm bridge is more stable and reliable than the original single-arm bridge The position accuracy is also better, but it is not perfect. Once the position deviation occurs, there is no room for fine-tuning.

Audemars Piguet 3120 movement with two-arm swing bridge
    In all Rolex modern movements, as long as the balance wheel structure of the double-arm bridge plate, there is a fine-tuning structure under the splint. This measure ensures that even if the position of the pendulum or the splint is shifted even after years of use, There are ways to make adjustments without replacing parts, which provides greater convenience for later maintenance. As the advantages of dual-arm bridges become more and more well known, many brands are also using dual-arm bridges, such as the new generation of coaxial movements such as Omega’s 85xx series and 9xxx series, as well as Audemars Piguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Count, Piaget, etc., but without exception, except for Rolex’s use of fine-tuning screws under the pendulum bridge, other brands have no similar fine-tuning structure (patent impact? I wonder if a watchmate knows).

Rolex 3255 movement substrate

    In Rolex’s 31XX series movements, there are two fine-tuning screws under the splint, and some of their edges are exposed outside, and a certain gap is left on the substrate next to it, which is convenient for tools to fine-tune these two screws. After the 32XX series movement in 2015, all this changed, the fine adjustment screw on one side of the bridge board was cancelled, the fine adjustment screw on the other side was still there, but a fine adjustment screw with a scale appeared out of thin air. In the official Rolex presentation, this structure is ignored because it is not new technology and has been ‘used’ for 16 years.

Rolex 3255 trimmer structure
    In fact, this fine-tuning screw is geared below and meshes with the original fine-tuning screw at the bottom. The benefits of having a scale are obvious. It is very easy to fine-tune after quantification. The amount that each scale can be fine-tuned should be recorded in the official internal information. Cancelling a fine-tuning screw may be considered that unilateral fine-tuning is sufficient, and fine-tuning on both sides is necessarily more troublesome than unilateral fine-tuning, and accuracy is also more difficult to grasp.
The 16 years of fine adjustment screw of balance wheel clearance

Rolex 2235 movement

    As mentioned earlier, this technology is not a new technology. Looking at all the modern movements of Rolex, this structure has taken shape since the launch of 2230 (2235) in 1999. At that time, this additional fine-tuning screw had no scale. Nor is it integrated with the balance bridge.

Fine-tuned structure of Rolex 4130 movement

    In 2000, with a series of changes in the structure and components of the movement, the Cal. 4130 chronograph movement using this structure replaced the 4030 type movement that has been used for eleven years since 1989. It is semi-integrated into the pendulum bridge plate (in 2235, the trim screw is not fixed by the entire splint, and in 4130, it shares the pendulum bridge plate with the trim screw).

Rolex 9001 movement

    In 2012, Rolex Sky-Dweller came out and launched the new Cal.9001 automatic movement equipped with Rolex. Instead of making the pendulum bridge trimming structure more streamlined, it became more complicated. In addition to the two fine-tuning screws of the 31XX series, There is also a trim screw next to each trim screw, and the trim screw at the bottom is ‘hidden’.

Fine-tuning structure of 3255 movement with scale

    In the 32XX series movement in 2015, the fine adjustment structure of the pendulum bridge plate of the original 41XX series movement was completely integrated into the pendulum bridge plate, and the scale was also made. Therefore, this is not a new technology, but it has been evolving for the first time in the 3XXX series.

Summary: Rolex movements have always been known for their precision and durability. In addition to this, in addition to having many Rolex patented special materials and structures, the more important point is that most of the parts in Rolex movements can be maintained at a later stage. It is adjusted again, instead of having to replace parts, so even Rolex watches decades ago can still be accurately moved after maintenance. The silicon hairspring, which has been very popular in the past few years, has gradually faded in recent years. The important reason is that the silicon material is too brittle and only parts can be replaced after damage. These watches may face the dilemma of no replacement parts and can only be scrapped. Therefore, in addition to the good watch now, whether it is easy to be rescued for decades or even hundreds of years is equally important. No doubt, the durability of Rolex is also reflected in this.

Updated: 20. January 2021 — 9:07
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