Rolex Rolesor vs. Rolesium

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The longer you are around the watch industry, the more terms you will come to understand and see more often. If you have been shopping for a Rolex you have likely come across the term Rolesor or Rolesium, but what exactly do they mean?
In this quick guide, we will be looking at Rolex Rolesor and Rolex Rolesium, highlighting each type of watch and the differences between them.
Although the terms Rolesor and Rolesium may sound quite similar, a Rolesor is a combination of two metals on a watch, often known as two-tone. Rolesium on the other hand is a specific blend of metals that has been popularized by the Rolex Yacht-Master.

Rolex Rolesor

What is a Rolex Rolesor?

Rolex defines the term as ‘the meeting of two metals on a single watch’. The actual term is a union between the words ‘Rolex’ and ‘Or’ the French word for gold.
Typically the two metals are in a contrasting style and often with gold and steel, many people refer to this as two-tone. Contrary to what people think,  this is not an alloy but rather two metals used separately.
The center of the watch bracelet, bezel, and winding crown is made of Everose gold or 17ct yellow gold, while the outer links and case are made from Oystersteel, thus giving the Rolesor watches their unique look.
The Rolesor term was patented in 1933 and first used on the Oyster Perpetual Datejust in 1948.
The term two-tone is often linked to these watches and is often what other watch manufacturers and brands call this style of watchmaking. A lot of other timepieces have adopted this style, but Rolex was one of the first to popularize the style.
Another feature that is prevalent on the Rolesor is the Cyclops lens that has become synonymous with a lot of Rolex’s signature models. Coming from the one-eyed giant, this is referring to the magnification area around the watch’s date on the glass face.

History of Rolesor

Rolex has used this term since the early 30s, but the first major use of this design was used in the late 40s on the Rolex Datejust. This was one of the bigger steps towards becoming a luxury watchmaker and being instantly recognizable around the globe.
The fluted design of the bezel was originally created with a functional purpose and made the watch waterproof by being tightened. This later evolved into a feature that was primarily there for the look and no longer for waterproofing.
On the more recent models, the fluted bezel is always gold and pays homage to the original design. The Rolesor watches are still very popular and the design is still being used and refined into new models.

Examples of Rolex Rolesors

There are a lot of timepieces in Rolex’s repertoire that fall under the term Rolesor and while some are much more prominent in their ‘two-tone’ style, some are much more subtle.
For example, this Datejust model is quite obviously silver against gold with a very dramatic color variation –

Rolex DateJust 41 Red 126303 Two Tone Oyster
Rolex Datejust 41 Red 126303 Two-Tone Oyster (Image: Bob’s Watches)

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On the other hand, some of the models will have a much less overt use of the style, the term Rolesor is about the metals used, not specifically the design being so obviously ‘two-tone’.

Rolex DateJust II 116334 Dial
Rolex Datejust II 116334 Dial (Image: Bob’s Watches)

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Rolex Rolesium

What is a Rolex Rolesium?

Although there are a lot of Rolexes that come under the Rolesor umbrella, the term Rolesium is created specifically for the Yacht-Master watches.
The bracelet and case of these Yacht-Master Rolexes are 904L stainless steel with the bezel being made of 950 platinum, which gives these Rolesium watches their unique and luxurious look.
Defined by Rolex as a ‘Legendary Combination’ that is synonymous with the Yacht-Master line. This watch was designed for a newer demographic of watch wearers who were on the market for more elegant and larger timepieces.
As the name suggests, this watch was designed with a nautical theme in mind, and with the addition of the Triplock triple waterproof system and 100m of water resistance, it met the standard for Rolex’s watches.

History of Rolesium

Despite what people think, the Yacht-Master watch has only been around since the late 90s. The design and trademark of the term ‘Rolesium’ were done in 1999, to be exact.
It is strange to think that this is one of the more modern Rolex designs and yet is still massively recognized and sought after among the brand and watch connoisseurs.
It was seen as the natural successor to the Submariner style and would appeal to a wider demographic of watch enthusiasts.
The Yacht-Master was designed to be a more affordable timepiece, while still boasting luxury materials and craftsmanship. This by no means makes it a cheap watch, but compared to other Rolex watches, it was and is more affordable.
Since the 90s this watch has been the only Rolex to be given the Rolesium title and remains a unique style that has been trademarked for the Yacht-Master’s sole use.

Rolex Yacht-Master – The Rolesium Watch

As we have alluded to above, this is what the term Rolesium was created for. The Yacht-Master is a blend of a luxurious and elegant watch with a sportier style, that serves as a middle ground between the two major styles Rolex likes to veer between.
The bidirectional bezel gives this timepiece the look that most watch wearers and fans associate with the Rolex brand, alongside the waterproofing, the Yacht-Master is a versatile and popular watch.

Rolex Yacht Master 126622 Blue Dial
Rolex Yacht-Master 126622 Blue Dial (Image: Bob’s Watches)

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Rolex Rolesor vs. Rolesium – Summary

As you can see, these two types of Rolex watches can be easy to differentiate if you know what you are looking for.
Rolex is one of the most recognizable watch brands around the planet, but there’s a much more finite group of people who know the nuances between the models.
Hopefully, this quick comparison has given you a better understanding of these two timepieces and helps further your watch knowledge.
The short version is if you are looking for a Rolesium watch, then the Yacht-Master is the only model under this category, whereas the Rolesor has been used for different styles.
Regardless of which style you pick you can be safe in the knowledge that you will be getting a high-quality timeless watch that will be revered by watch enthusiasts and casual fans alike. If you’d like to learn more about the intricacies of Rolex watches, check out The Watch Book: Rolex by Gisbert L Brunner which is on our list of best books about watches.

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