Rolex is by far the most imitated watch. Imitations ranging from obvious cheap copies to difficult to pick fakes that feature every minute detail. It is widely thought that if a watch that looks like a Rolex, has Rolex signed in all the right places and has a quartz movement (easily picked by the second hand jumping every second rather than sweeping) then, it’s a definite fake. This is because of the common perception that Rolex never made quartz watches. WRONG.
Rolex did make an in-house quartz that is considered by some to be the finest ever made.
It started in the early 70’s when Rolex, along with several other quality watchmakers, used a generic Swiss movement, the Beta 21, and produced only, and precisely 1,000 watches.
In 1977, Rolex released the Oysterquatz featuring their own in-house movement, caliber 5035 and 5055 .
The example I have here is a 1987 example but it could be any age during this model’s amazing 24 year production run…..because neither the style or the movement hardly changed during its entire existence.
The 11 jewel 5035 movement is finished to an even higher standard than the superb mechanical Rolexes. It is fair to say that no other quartz movement ever produced can compare to it from the standpoint of pure beauty.
Compared to its mechanical counterpart, this watch is at least 10 times more accurate, it requires less servicing (my example here has never been serviced in nearly 30 years!) and it cost less than the mechanical. Despite these obvious advantages, Rolex didn’t bother to promote it much and in 24 years, only 105,097 watches were produced.
In 2001, the Oysterquatz was discontinued.