Beginner’s Guide to Clone Movements in Rolex Replica Watches

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Beginner’s Guide to Clone Movements in Rolex Replica Watches

“When purchasing a high-end replica watch, it’s crucial to evaluate both its exterior and interior aspects. Chinese factories have made substantial investments, totaling millions of dollars, in producing precise duplicates of Swiss watch movements from ETA, as well as in-house movements from esteemed brands like Rolex, AP, Patek Philippe, and Richard Mille. The accuracy and reliability of these replicated movements can vary. In this guide, I aim to provide you with a fundamental understanding of which mechanical movements are of high quality, which ones are passable, and which ones to steer clear of. Furthermore, I’ll shed light on how to distinguish between these various movements, as the information provided on Trusted Dealer websites in their descriptions may not always be entirely accurate.”


Rolex replica watches are equipped with clone movements, which are essentially reproductions of the genuine Rolex movement. These movements are typically crafted in countries like China, where skilled artisans invest significant effort and resources into replicating the intricate mechanics of original Rolex movements. This is where you’ll find an array of options, ranging from basic, functional clones to more advanced imitations. The key is to distinguish between them and make an informed choice.

Different Grades of Clone Movements

  1. Basic Movements: These are the entry-level clone movements. While they are cost-effective, their performance and accuracy might leave much to be desired. Basic movements are often less reliable and may not offer the smoothest timekeeping.
  2. Mid-Grade Movements: Mid-grade clone movements represent a significant improvement over basic versions. They offer better accuracy and reliability. This category is where you’ll find movements that come closer to mimicking the original Rolex movements.
  3. High-End Movements: High-end clone movements are the cream of the crop. They are painstakingly crafted to closely replicate the original Rolex movements in terms of both appearance and performance. These movements are often indistinguishable to the untrained eye.

Genuine Rolex Caliber 3135

For reference here’s the genuine Rolex caliber 3135. Note how there is only one arm on the balance bridge of the genuine movement. This is because the genuine movement has a “free sprung” balance. That means on the genuine movement the speed of the movement is regulated by adjusting the moment of inertia of the balance wheel via tiny weighted screws on the rim of the wheel. On all replica movements, regulation is done via a regulation arm that can be adjusted to lengthen or shorten the effective length of the hairspring. That’s why you see only one arm on the genuine movement, but two arms on the replica movements.

The Rolex 3135 generation movement is an automatic mechanical movement launched by Rolex in 1988. It is widely used in famous Rolex watch series such as Rolex Submariner, Sea-Dweller and Datejust. The 3135 movement is Rolex’s own movement, which represents its excellent engineering technology and watchmaking tradition.

  • VR3135:Good quality part finishing and engraving. Hairspring mounted clockwise. This is the second best clone of the 3135 movement. Note, there is a no-date version of the VR3135 called the VR3130. The VR3130 is a good quality no-date movement, second only to the VS3130.
  • SH3135:Very low quality finishing, hairpsing mounted counter clockwise. Avoid this movement if possible. There is also a no-date version of this movement called the SH3130 (or sometimes the AR3130) which is of similarly poor quality. Avoid both the SH3135 and SH3130 (AR3130).
  • SA3135:Reasonable quality of part finishing, poor quality engraving. Hairspring mounted counter clockwise. Go with the VR or VS movement if you have the choice or budget. There is a no-date version of this movement called the SA3130, which is of similar quality to the SA3135; as such a better choice for a no-date 40mm submariner is the VS3130 or VR3130.
  • A2824:This isn’t a clone of a Rolex movement, rather it is a clone of an ETA 2824 movement. This movement is reliable and easy to service and get replacement parts for. However, it doesn’t even remotely resemble what you’d find inside a Rolex. If you don’t care about what movement powers your rep, this isn’t a bad option.
  • A2836:Another clone of an ETA movement that is never found inside a real Rolex. This movement is also reliable and easy to service. Some people prefer these movements since they are easy to fix or replace and “nobody can see inside my rep submariner”… the functions at the cro
  • VS3135:Excellent quality part finishing and engraving. Hairspring mounted clockwise. This is the best super clone movement of the 3135. Note, there is a VS3130 version of this movement which is used on the no-date 40mm VSF subs (ref number 114060). The VS3130 is of equal quality to the VS3135, it is the best option for a no-date 40mm sub.

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