3186 Movement & Parachrom - GMT 16710's
Parachrom - Submariners
...and more Rolex anomalies

Paracrom Blu Rolex Hairspring Balance The Parachrom Blu hairspring has been one of the many advancements Rolex has incorporated into their movements. With the exception of the Daytona that incorporated the Parachrom Blu back in 2003, none of the traditional movements had this hairspring, nor any of the latest Rolex advancements. It had been found that the late Z series and M series 16710's had the new 3186 movement, as well as M series Explorer II's. After month's of this urban myth being bantered about, Tahoeblue, on Timezone and Vintage Rolex Forum showed these images of opening four M series 16710 GMT's and looked inside. He found 3186 movements and the discovery was verified by Fourtane Jewelers, a Rolex AD located in Carmel, California. The original TimeZone and Vintage Rolex Forum posts I have captured in a 500kb .pdf file here.

Other forum readers have discovered or confirmed the existance of a 3186 movement in 16710's. Sleedawg on The Rolex Forum also saw a stick font GMTII at the San Francisco Certififed Rolex Service Center in March 2008. The Rolex Forum member, Scarface, in this post, shares that he confirmed with a Rolex representative at Basel 2008 that the dials with the stick II is not a misprint, but intentional to designate which 16710's have the 3186 movement. Kai on The Rolex Forums took his M serial M305xxx GMTII 16710 pepsi with stick dial to an RSC, and they confirmed it to have a 3186 movement. He noted that the interesting part was that they would not open the case because there is nothing wrong, but in the service report they wrote 3186!

The 3186 movement includes the Parachrom Blu hairspring (videos), and according to James Dowling in a TimeZone post, the wheels of the drive train are closer together removing some of the gear play felt in the 3185 when the hour hand was being set as well as the Parachrom Blu hairspring. Anyone new to Rolex would not notice, but when comparing a 3185 next to a 3186 side-by-side, there is a discernable hand-slop when setting the hour hand of the 3185 movement than on the 3186 movement. The crown on a 16710 with a 3186 movement is said to be more stable. Now known as the "wiggle test," this is one of the very noticable methods to distinguish between a 3185 and a 3186 movement without removing the caseback. More on the Wiggle Test as well as the Crown Method is shown below.

The Card

Rolex Watch Warranty CardThere is no information as to why Rolex produced these watches. Some have speculated that they were a test prior to the new 116710 GMT IIC, but this would certainly not seem correct given the late production. Some have also speculated that Rolex had more 16710 cases than older 3185 movements to match, but people also doubt Rolex has run short on the 3185. The warranty card on the left indicates an N for Noir (Black bezel). The Red/Black bezels have an "A" designation and Red/Blue has a "B" designation on the card (image at bottom of the page) (click for larger image)

The Case

Rolex Watch GMTII 3186This is certainly a rare anomaly in Rolex production. All four are M serials two came with black bezel and two with Pepsi bezel. There is no notation on the paperwork or otherwise to indicate they have the 3186—-the only way to determine the type of movement is to open the watch to confirm. Another possible example in Finland (with Z serial) has been mentioned in a previous post on the watch forums. You will also notice that the pictured watch has an unusual dial—-the "II" of "GMT-Master II" is in "non-roman," or "stick" font. The stick II on GMT's have been bantered about regarding the GMT's collectability and possible dial printing error/anomaly. There are many GMTII's with the same dial, presumably without the 3186. Interestingly all four of the noted 3186 GMT II’s have the stick dial variant. More images of the stick font II are listed below.

(click for larger image)

Caseback Removed

Rolex Watch 3186There was thought that one reason Rolex increased the case thickness for the new 116710 was to accommodate an increased height of the 3186 calibre. But as as the photos show, the 3186 fits nicely in the traditional 16710 case.

(click for larger image)






Rolex Watch 3186This picture from another source shows the Parachrome hairspring, but look closely, the baseplate appears to show 3185.

(click for larger image)

It's definitely a 3186

Rolex Watch 3186

The 3186 on the movement definitely insures the movement number.

(click for larger image)

... And another 3186

Rolex Watch 3186

Charles Newgass on Timezone purchased a late series M3XXXXXX Coke bezeled 16710. He indicated that when unscrewing the crown and changed the 24 hour hand, none of the hands wiggled, a tell-tale sign between a 3185 and 3186 movement as the wheel train is closer together on a 3186.

Charles had the back removed and found a 3186 movment.

(click for larger image; photo used with permission)

-Pictures and text re-posted with permission from Tahoeblue.

3186 Movement in 16710Z Series

Found in Hong Kong

16710 Z Series with 3186 FaceAndy, known on many Rolex boards as RolexLover, uncovered a Z series 16710 in Hong Kong. Andy bought this watch from one of the Rolex's AD in Hong Kong around summer 2007.  It was checked and verified by the Hong Kong RSC in March 2008.

(click for larger image)

Andy has searched in the Internet and has found at least five more in US, one in Finland, one in Germany, one in Taiwan and two in Japan.  It appears that these GMT 16710's have serial numbers ranging from Z9xxxxx to M2xxxxx and have the tell-tale stick-figured II in the GMT Master II label on the watch face and the " - " between the "GMT" and "Master" is a little off-center.  Most of the late Z and M series 16710's have appeared to be shipped to Europe and US, with very very limited to Asia and Hong Kong. A 500k .pdf of the listing is posted here.   

Below are more images of Andy's Watch. Click on an image for a larger picture.
Rolex Documentation
Rolex 16710 Caseback
3186 Revealed
16710 Profile

-Pictures and text re-posted with permission from RolexLover

More 16710 Anomalies

Another Dial Face Discovered

wchiang on TimeZone had the opportunity to handle multiple M-serial 16710 with calibre 3186 and discovered another type of dial face. The infamous "stick II" font on the dial (as opposed to the traditional "roman II ") has already been documented, but there is also a 3rd type of font that looks more like a rectangle.

The rectangular II dial is very interesting; it is not either "old" or "new". It is very random. While it was found on a M23XXXX with 3186, it was also found on a Z77XXXX with 3185.

wchiang discovered the following:

Commonly seen on older 16710 - Roman II
Z77XXXX - 3185 Rectangular II
Z8XXXXX - 3186 Rectangular II (reported separately)
Z96XXXX - 3186 Stick II
M23XXXX - 3186 Stick II
M23XXXX - 3186 Rectangular II
M30XXXX - 3186 Stick II
M30XXXX - 3186 Stick II
M36XXXX - 3186 Stick II
MXXXXXX - 3186 Stick II reported by Tahoeblue (above)

There is no real pattern for the rectangular II to show up and apparently very random on which calibres, 3185 or 3186. Besides the difference in numeral "II" wchiang also observed the following several differences on the two different dials:

1. All other fonts are slightly different.
2. "-" is shifted to one side on Rectangular II.
3. "Oyster Perpetual Date" has larger spacing in between on Rectangular II.
4. "Swiss Made" is smaller on Rectangular II.
5. The rim on hour markers are thicker on Stick II.

While the 16710 + 3186 is rare, Rolex threw the rectangular II into the mix to make this whole thing more interesting.

Below are pictures of various 16170 anomalies. Click on an image for a larger picture.

GMTII Images

You can see the "-" has shifted

GMT Master II

Difference in spacing and line weight

Swiss Made

Swiss Made is smaller on the II dial

Rolex Hour Markers

Thicker hour markers on the II dial

Oyster Perpetual Date

Oyster Perpetual Date spacing is wider

Pictures and text re-posted with permission from wchiang

3186Z Roman 3186 GMTII Z
James send me these images of a Z8xxx series 16710. Notice the rare rectangular Roman numeral II on the dial.


16710A and 16710B

More Dial Face Anomalies

ChamptheKid on Timezone posted more images of 16710 with known 3186 movements.

Below are pictures of various 16170 anomalies. Click on an image for a larger picture.
GMTII Images
The 16710B is Pepsi; 16710A is Coke

GMT Master II

The differences are circled; click for larger

Swiss Made

Black-Red 16710A

Rolex Hour Markers

Blue-Red (Pepsi) 16710B

Oyster Perpetual Date

A great picture of a 3186 inside a 16710 case

-Pictures and text re-posted with permission from champthekid

Another great graphic by SpaceDweller on TimeKeeper Forums shows the differences between the stick II dial (right) and the Roman style. Rolex GMT Anomoly
Champthkid email me better images of his 3186 movement below.
3186 Inside 3186 Inside
3186 Inside 3186 Inside


3186 Movement in Explorer II

16710 Z Series with 3186 Face 16710 Z Series with 3186 Face

Fr. John Shinall sent me images of his M153### series Explorer II that he and a friend purchased. It is becoming obvious that the late series Explorer II's are fitted with the 3186 movement. One good sign is whether the Rolex-Rolex-Rolex engraved rehaut, or commonly referred to as the RBR or "Rolex Branded Rehaut" is visable on the watch face. The rehaut is frequently mistaken for the chapter ring, but this is incorrect. The difference between the chapter ring and the Rehaut is described here.

(click for larger images)


My 16710A w/3186

Rolex 16710A

After passively looking for a blue-black 16710 with a 3186 movement, I found a 16710A M-series at Fourtane Jewelers, a Rolex AD located in Carmel, California and the same AD whose images are at the top of the page. I worked with Joshua Bonifas who is well versed in everything Rolex, including vintage. His store has quite a collection of classic vintage Rolex, including double-red Submariners and SeaDwellers.

I fitted my 16710A with a sapphire caseback in order to watch the Parachrom Blu hairspring. Changing the 24hour hand was smooth, just like the 3186 movement in my Rolex 116710. These 3186'ed 16710 watches have a A and B designation. "A" is for a Red-Black bezel and "B" is for Blue-Red. More information on sapphire casebacks, and a DIY, is posted here.

The image above shows the watch face with the Arabic II in the watch face, and the bottom pictures show the Parachrom Blu hairspring and balance through the sapphire caseback.

This watch offers a classic, tool watch case, with forward thinking, modernized, movement. In my mind, this watch offers both classic and current Rolex style and technology.

(click for larger images)


The Wiggle Test

One method for discerning a 3185 with the 3186 movement is by the "Wiggle Test." Rolex moved the wheels in the gear train closer together in order to keep the hand movement to a minimum when setting the watch. On 3185 movements, all the hands rock when setting the hour hand, whereas on the 3186, the hands do not rock when turning the both the hour or minute hand. When a 3185 and 3186 movments are side-by-side, it is a discernable difference. If you are at and Authorized Dealer not sure whether there is a 3186 movement inside a traditional GMT case, try to find a 116710 (GMT-C) at an AD and perform a side-by-side comparison. Some have reported mixed results with this test; it does seem to take a trained hand to discern the difference.

wiggle image GMT Review
Click image for YouTube video on setting the hour hand on a known 3186 movement. Click image for a YouTube GMTII 3185 review. During the demonstration of setting the hour hand at the end of the video, it is very apparent the amount of the hands rocking.


The Crown Method

Another method for discerning a 3185 with the 3186 movement is through the the Crown Rotation Method. This method is another way to discern the type of movement without having to remove the caseback. Because the calendar and hour-hand setting mechanism was redesigned in the 3186 movement, the number of turns of the crown to turn the 12 hour hand is different on a 3186 than it is on a 3185.

To perform this test, unscrew the crown such that the crown is in the hand setting position. With the crown face-up, count how many hours the hour-hand travels with one full revolution of the winding crown.

  • 3185: one complete crown revolution makes the hour hand jumps 6 timezones/hours
  • 3186: one complete crown revolution equals 8-9 timezones/hours

This tip was provided to Minus4Plus6.com by Ed who discovered this method on a French watch forum.

The 14060M Submariner

In late Fall 2011, reports of the Paracrom balance spring in 14060M Submariners began showing up on the Internet forums. The 14060M is one of the last traditional cased Submariners in the Rolex line. Although the 14060M is now a COSC Officially Certified chronometer, changes to the flagship traditional Rolex submariner have been rare. This model does not have the solid end links on the bracelet and still possesses pierced lugs reminiscent of Rolex design prior to 2000. The 14060M possessing the Paracrom Blu balance spring shows that it might be indeed possible that all Rolex models can be fitted with Rolex's inhouse hairspring.

To verify, my favorite Rolex Authorized Dealer, Fourtane, opened up a randomized serial numbered 14060M, and this is what they found (click for larger images):

This is a bono fide 14060M
Rolex 14060M
Rolex 14060M Inside Here it is just opened.
Here it with a slightly closer look.
Rolex 14060M Inside
The movement is labled as a 3130, even though it has the new Paracrom Blu hairspring.
Rolex 14060M Inside
Rolex 14060M Inside Here is the inside of the caseback.
Rolex 14060M Inside Rolex 14060M Inside
Rolex 14060M Inside Rolex 14060M Inside
This 14060M was a randomized serial number version and looks beautiful.

Bo / SpaceDweller on the TimeKeeper Forums discovered two differences faces on the late model No Date Submariner - 14060M Sub Anomoly
Both are G series 14060M's with a Parachrom balance spring. The top photo shows heavier lettering and a heavier crown, whereas the one on the right has lighter lettering and crown. Sub Anomoly

More Rolex Anomalies

In the late 16750 Explorer II G series, before the rollout of the updated 116750, Rolex made a random modification on the dial around the hour dots by making the indicies thinner, thickto improve illumination so the speculation goes. Thanks to Mario Wolf for point this out. See RolexForums for the original postings.
Example of thick indicies at the hour dots; click image for original image. Rolex Explorer II
Another example of thick indicies Rolex Explorer II
Example of the newer think hour indicies Rolex Explorer II
Another example of think hour indicies. What makes this interesting that with the model consistency that Rolex has on all its models, there are still variations in some of their watches. Rolex Explorer II