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Rolex Lugs

by Jordan Ficklin

Day in and day out I look at Rolexes. Some days I’m fixing them. On days like today I size bracelets to fit the customer. All those watches we sell before Christmas come back to get fit just right to the customer’s wrist. For the first time today I noticed the new Air King has a different lug treatment than previous editions.

It seems all new Rolex models are getting new lug treatment. If you like Rolexes I’m sure you know that the new Datejust case has polished lugs. The new GMT II with ceramic bezel has wider lugs, but did you notice the finish is different?

Prior to the recent wave of case updates nearly every Rolex case had a 45 degree brushed finish on the case lugs (a finish that was tangential to the crystal’s circumference as pictured on the Anniversary Sub to the left.) On new cases the finish runs parallel to the imaginary line running from 6 to 12 (see top 2 pics) unless the case has polished lugs. This includes the new Air King, O.P. GMT II Ceramic, All Gold Submariner, and Deep Sea

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  1. Rohan Smith
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    If this is in the wrong spot, please move it!

    Anyhow, have you read Walt Odet’s article on a Rolex Explorer at

    I am interested in buying a Rolex. Is this a typical finish on the movements?

    I’m not a watchmaker, but that article is a bit worrying.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  2. J.Peter
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Rohan, I had not read Walt’s article until today. I would not say that is characteristic of Rolex’s product. The finish ok Rolex watches is functional, not beautiful. I have not seen the kinds of machining errors that Walt points out. You need not wiry about a Rolex giving you problems. Lemons are extremely rare!

  3. chris
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    peter: I just bought a m series 2008 SS blk dial sub. I know the braclet and lugs are brushed finished and as you pointed out with the anniversary model the brush strokes on the lugs are a 45 degree angle. In different sunlight angles the lugs appear to be different in color, is that normal? Since the brush strokes on the braclet run up and down and the lugs run 45 degrees (or side by side) the color will different? Do you inderstand what I am asking? It looks like unless you are directly under a light that the braclet and lugs dont match. thank you!

  4. J.Peter
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take a look at the two side by side tomorrow, but I understand what you could be saying. The light reflects differently off of a brushed surface depending on the angle. Since the finish on the lugs is somewhat different than the bracelet they could appear not to match. Perhaps that is why they changed the finish direction on the lugs?

  5. chris
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    So you are saying the finish on the lugs is somewhat different than the bracelet? They are both 904L steel, right? I would agree the brush “strokes” are different directions. It seems like the lugs are brushed with a rougher finish, not as smooth as the bracelet? Also, the illuminate on the bezel; is that crystal or glass covering that. It seems it does not illuminate as clear or bright as it does around the dial. Are those illuminates all the same material or slightly different? I am very detailed so sorry for the picky questions. Thank you!

  6. J.Peter
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Chris, all of your observations seem to be correct. As for the luminous material on the bezel, it is incased in a plexi-glass capsule – to make it water resistant.

  7. chris
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I talked with someone at Rolex and they said the finish on the lugs are rougher and in the sunlight may appear to be different than the bracelet. So in short, they confirmed the finish on the lugs is rougher and not as finely brushed as the bracelet. Does the finish of your lugs seems to be rougher?

  8. J.Peter
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Chris, Yes that seems to be a good statement.

  9. chris
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink


    So I have a question regarding the movement on the second hand that sweeps. As I looked closely at the sweeping movement I notice that it is a ticking sweep movement (not like a quartz tick),but it is not a completely smooth sweep, is that correct? It looks as if it ticks 2 – 4 times (barely noticeable) in between each second mark, should I be concerned regarding the movement of my submariner? thank you.

  10. J.Peter
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Chris, no concerns there. Your sub should tick (depending on its age) either 5 or 8 times per second.

  11. chris
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It is a M series 2009. Bt you cannot actually see the 8 ticks per second with the naked eye right?

  12. chris
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    can you see the second hand tick 8 times? mine looks like 5, but the watch is a 2009

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