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Some history regarding the 1560 caliber and the demise of the butterfly-rotor design.

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Published on 11-16-2010 02:42 PM

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The first point regarding the 1560 calibers, was that they all came with a butterfly-rotor right from the factory.

It was not untill the new 1570 caliber ushered in the era of a faster beat balance, different type of pose regulation regulator and the simpler rotor yet stronger design. This new rotor was redesigned to add more meat to the base, as well as keep the engraving cost down, and resulted by eliminating the extra step of engraving the Rolex crown onto the new rotor hat.

One notion one should keep in mind, was that any 1560 caliber with a conventional rotor had resulted in a service change somewhere in the calibers timeline. Watchmakers would change these older rotors for a conventional one because of severe axle rotor wear due to hat deformation or to aesthetically make the caliber more modern looking. Rolex service centers would automatically change the rotor to the new design as a service part replacement to strengthen the axle base.

I have found that the materials used to produce the butterfly rotor hats tarnished more quickly then the caliber itself. Even by ultrasonic cleaning the butterfly rotor always looked old and tired.

Now what is interesting in regards to the small hairspring protection bar found on early to mid 1960's 1560 calibers, was that later in that era Rolex stopped adding the actual hairspring protection bar on the 1560 caliber. They found that this bar really did not do much as a protection unit. It was designed to stop the hairspring from hitting the pose regulator when a vertical shock occurred. But watchmakers found out that the hair spring coil was to short to hit the pose regulator.

I have worked a few 1560 calibers that had not have the protection bar installed by Rolex. It was a deleted option.

It was explained to me by a Rolex NYC technician that the butterfly rotor base towards the middle of the axle rotor has less material for defection then the newer rotor. Look at the pictures for comparison. That was the big reason for the design change, to create a beefier top hat portion for coping with the rotational forces.


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Some history regarding the 1560 caliber and the demise of the butterfly-rotor design.
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