The Rolex Caliber 2130/2135
Rolex’s second generation of their in-house 2000 series calibers first appeared in 1983. As scaled down versions of some of their most trusted and widely-used movements, specially engineered to power their range of women’s watches, the Cal. 2130 and 2135 replaced the initial Cal. 2030/35 that had found success inside the Ladies Oyster Perpetual, as well as the ladies and midsize Datejust.
During the 13-year run of the initial series of calibers, Rolex had been busy making their typically relentless incremental advances to not only the functionality of their movements, but also to their accuracy. When the updated range was released, the level of precision Rolex had achieved set a new benchmark for mechanical watches. The Cal. 2130 and 2135, the no date and date versions respectively, have the highest first time pass rate of any movement tested by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. To gain the distinction, every mechanism is subjected to a grueling 15-day certification schedule, with tolerances of just -4/+6 seconds a day, measured against two atomic clocks. Each is tested in five different positions and across a range of temperatures, from 46.4ºF to 100.4ºF.
The feat was made even more impressive by the extremely small size of the components involved. At just 20mm in diameter and 5.83mm in height, the 29-jewel calibers still manage to provide a 42-hour power reserve. The automatic, self-winding movements beat at 28,800vph, the standard frequency of all modern Rolexes that provides the characteristic eight ticks a second smooth sweep of the seconds hand, as well as giving an increased shock protection.
Similarly to their predecessors, both the 2130 and 2135 feature a Glucydur balance wheel, an alloy of copper and beryllium that is non-magnetic and particularly resistant to variations in different temperatures. Their Nivarox hairsprings utilize a Breguet Overcoil, where the last spiral turn is bent back over the top of the spring to provide a more consistent tension over a broader range, further increasing the watch’s accuracy.
Both calibers are also protected by the Kif shock absorption system, which allows slight lateral and vertical movement of the watch’s balance staff to prevent it from snapping, using a spring-mounted jewel setting.
One real and very welcome difference between the two generations of the 2000 series is found on the 2135. It became the first of the ladies’ movements to include a Quickset date function, allowing wearers to adjust the calendar complication by simply pulling the crown out to the second position and winding through the days of the month. Previously, changing the date had required the tedious process of spinning the hands through 24 hours.
The 2130/2135 at Work
The new convenience of the Quickset function, sometimes known as the rapid calendar advance, made the Cal. 2135 the ideal engine for both the ladies and the midsize Datejust. In all, the movement was used in nearly a dozen different versions of Rolex’s long-running and hugely popular dress watch, starting in 1983 with the 29mm ref. 68240 and culminating at the end of the caliber’s production run in 1999 in the 31mm ref. 68273.
A Watch for the Open Seas
In 1992, Rolex introduced their first all-new model since the Daytona had been released nearly 30 years before. The Yacht-Master, very much a luxurious version of the venerable Submariner, turned out to be a success in its own right—so much so that, two years later, it became the first of the brand’s sports watches to be made available in three different sizes.
The 35mm and 29mm edition of the Yacht-Master were launched in 1994 to sit alongside the full-size 40mm model, and the Cal. 2135 proved the perfect fit for these smaller nautically-themed timepieces.
For the simpler Cal. 2130, it took the place of the 2030 inside the elegant shell of the Ladies Oyster Perpetual range, surely the most uncomplicated yet tastefully sophisticated of the women’s collection. Powering a total of seven of the OP series, it provided a wholly accurate and reliable movement for both 26mm and 31mm sizes.
There have only been three generations of the 2000 series of smaller calibers for Rolex’s catalog of women’s watches. The 2130/35, the middle child of the range, are the subject of the brand’s incessant striving for the ultimate in precision and dependability. The most consistently reliable movements tested by the COSC, they are testament to Rolex’s perfectionism.