Watchers who are familiar with Rolex know that Rolex has never produced complicated functions or special-shaped cases, and even often makes people feel that it is somewhat stubborn and paranoid in product design, which is also a point that many watch fans regret very much. But I personally think that Rolex’s failure to produce large and complex watches is not a research and development problem, nor does it mean that Rolex does not have complex function technology, it may just be that you don’t understand its “concept movement”. If you are interested in Rolex’s “concept movement”, let me know here.

As you all know, Rolex does not make complicated watches, and there are indeed no watches that are too complicated in the Rolex on sale. But it doesn’t mean that Rolex doesn’t have complication technology. Today, I want to tell you about Rolex’s concept technology, including the Rolex ELF 7230 movement. This is a Rolex’s complex movement that has never been mass-produced.

Rolex has many technical patents, but very few “physical objects” can be seen by everyone. The 7230 movement, codenamed ELF, is the prototype movement of the Rolex escapement concept technology. It is a very rare “experimental prototype movement” that is released by Rolex. At this time, some people will doubt whether Rolex has ever produced such a movement? In fact, there is no need to doubt it, because this movement was sold at auction in 2018.

The Rolex ELF 7230 movement is the prototype movement of the Rolex constant force escapement. In 1998, a total of 20 pieces were produced. We can see that there is an opening similar to “butterfly wings” at the position of the balance wheel below the movement. This is the “constant power” mechanism designed by Rolex. It can be seen that in the opening, there is a very thin “metal wire” that passes through the left and right “metal walls”. Do you know what this “wire” is? It is a “constant force spring”. At the same time, we can see that there are 3 shock absorbers on the movement, the upper two are escape wheel shock absorbers, and the ELF 7230 movement has two escape wheels.

The Rolex ELF 7230 movement was perfect in theory, but in practice, it was not feasible at the time. The reason is that the “wire” constant force spring at that time was made of Nivarox alloy material, and experiments proved that Nivarox alloy could not meet the movement requirements. It was eventually terminated by Rolex.