Rolex Vintage Oysterquartz Models

Rolex is known for its precise and dependable mechanical movements, yet they were also a part of the quartz fever.

Throughout the well-documented 'quartz crisis' of the 1970s, the Swiss wristwatch industry was threatened by expensive but relatively more accurate wristwatches from The United States and Japan.

Despite their reservations, Rolex joined other watchmakers in introducing their quartz timepieces, hence the Rolex Oysterquartz.

Even though the Rolex Oysterquartz has been discontinued for a long time, it symbolizes an important period in watchmaking history.


The basic Oysterquartz was available in three different models: stainless steel, stainless steel with yellow gold, and white gold, all with plain baton dials.

For those who prefer the exotic, Rolex created caliber 5055, the Day-Date version, which was encased in valuable cases with stone-setting and stunning dials to meet the most extravagant preferences.

An annual calendar movement of the 5335 prototype was also created, but it was never put into production.

First Oysterquartz

In 1970, Rolex introduced their first quartz watch, but instead of developing an in-house quartz movement to complement their in-house conventional movements, the company adopted the Beta 21 quartz movement.

Rolex did not utilize a Japanese quartz movement; instead, about 20 Swiss watchmakers, including Piaget, Omega, and Patek Philippe, used this mechanism.

The Centre Electronic Horloger (CEH) was founded by these houses to develop Swiss quartz movements that would outperform other quartz movements.

In-House Movements

Rolex took five years to plan, develop, design, and manufacture its in-house quartz movements, which began in 1972.

The 5035 quartz movement and the 5055 quartz calibers were released in 1977. There were 11 jewels in the Rolex Oysterquartz movements, as well as a 32 kHz regulator.

When they were first introduced, these in-house quartz calibers were regarded as technological marvels, offering excellent precision to any of Rolex's mechanical elements at the time. In addition, both calibers had hacking seconds and quickset calendar features.


The Oysterquartz didn't only replace the mechanical components in all previous Rolex watches; it created its own line.

As a result, the term "Oysterquartz" is used to describe both the quartz movement and the watches themselves.

While the mechanism was still being created, the brand had indeed decided on a new case type in which to house it and had even manufactured some timepieces in this style to test the waters.

The Oysterquartz incorporated well-known Rolex features into a casing style that was considered cutting-edge at the time.


Oysterquartz versions were produced for 25 years (1977-2001) at a rate of roughly 1,000 pieces per year, for a maximum of around 25,000 items.

They were inaccurately viewed as low-end and dull models by European collectors due to their lack of sales while being incredibly successful in the Asian and American markets.

Finally, we hope you've gotten all of the useful information you're looking for. While most Rolex watches now use mechanical movements that are powered by kinetic energy instead of batteries, the Oysterquartz model remains an intriguing part of Rolex's legacy.