The Rolex GlideLock Clasp

Frozen Glidelock

With the advent of the redesigned Rolex Submariner and the Deepsea dive watches was also the introduction of the GlideLock clasp. The Glidelock clasp should be standard on the Explorer II, but unfortunately the only way to pimp this watch was to source the GlideLock clasp separately.

Click any image for a larger picture

Rolex Explorer II Explorer II with GlideLock

The new Explorer II model 216570 debuted at the Basel 2011 show, but the watch was missing one item to make it the perfect watch, and that piece was the GlideLock clasp normally outfitted on the Rolex Submariners.
Glidelock Clasp


The great thing about the GlideLock Extension System is that it enables easy adjustments in 2mm increments and offers a total extension of up to 20mm, long enough to fit over a 3mm wetsuit, or long sleeve shirt or thin jacket.

The Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink is standard on the Rolex Explorer II and GMT watches but only provides 2.5mm of adjustment, and the Easylink only flips open and closed. There is an additional 6mm of adjustment inside the clasp by moving a springbar inside among three seats, but this requires a springbar tool and is hard to adjust on the fly.
Rolex Explorer II Clasp
Rolex Clasp Comparison Rolex Clasp Comparison

Because of the GlideLock's increased adjustment, people assume that the clasp is longer, taller, and generally bigger. In reality, the clasp is the same size as the Explorer II's and GMT's Oysterlock clasp, with the only discernable difference being that the clasp cover is longer.

These comparison picts also show the half-link that is outfitted with the Submariner.

Rolex Glidelock Clasp Cover

The increased length of the Glidelock clasp cover provides extra adjustability. The adjustments work by pulling on the bracelet link, detaching the lock from the detents on the underside of the clasp, and allowing the link to slide in grooves machined into the clasp sides.

The Submariner and SeaDweller bracelets are outfitted with a detachable half-link. The half-link allows the wearer to fit the clasp on center of the wearer's wrist. Rolex Oyster Half-Link Comparison

What was already a great watch is now better with the addition of the Submariner's GlideLock clasp. Adjusting in 2mm increments without tools, and with the 20mm of total extension such that the watch can be worn outside of sleeves, makes the GlideLock clasp a welcomed addition to the Explorer II.

Like the Rolex tool watches of 40 years ago when one can choose the type of bracelet to purchase, this watch should have the option of purchasing with a GlideLock clasp. With the GlideLock clasp, the watch is now perfect.

Rolex Explorer II


More on Glidelock

Duey on the Rolex Forums showed images of the updated Glidelock clasp (reposted with permission).

Notice in the updated version, the link that activates the lock is now integrated with the connecting half-link. In the original version, the half-link is rotates on the locking mechanism.

Rolex Glidelock
In this image, one can see that there is a solid link Rolex Glidelock

Perhaps this is the reason why for the update. with a solid link, there is no cantilevering off the end of the hinge.

In my experience with two original Gildelock clasps, I have never had any issues with them which leads me to question whether the modification was made because of a design fault, or for a production improvement, - time will tell.

UPDATE: This updated type of link is also found on Subsequent SeaDweller 4000s and the SeaDweller 43.

Rolex Glidelock


How Glidelock Works

Below are schematics of the Glidelock clasp from Rolex repair manuals found in the Internet. Shown images are 500px; click on each image for original size.
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock
Rolex Glidelock


Frozen Glidelock - aka use LocTite

I found that my Glidelock clasp had frozen and could not adjust. After consulting the schematics above, I thought certain that it was the spring mechanism inside the clasp as the clasp would not budge at all. Frozen Rolex Glidelock

After wresteling with the Glidelock, I finally disassembled it.

See where the problem is? It was not the spring mechanism, but rather the bracelet screw backed out.

Also shown is half of the springbar that snaps into the pieces that slide inside the clasp (shown below)

Frozen Rolex Glidelock

Left and right are the sliding pieces that allow the Glidelock to adjust to different length. These sliding pieces run along a groove on the underside of the clasp.

The bracelet screw backed out into the grove inside the clasp and effectively locked the clasp in one adjusting position.

Frozen Rolex Glidelock
These are the sliding pieces that run along the respective grooves under the clasp. Frozen Rolex Glidelock
Be sure to LocTite those bracelet screws with LocTite 222. The DIY is posted here. A simple screw-check on my part would have saved much frustration and a few four-letter adjectives.

Note: This is LocTite 222 that is in a red bottle, with blue/purple fluid. The image does not capture the blue-ish fluid


Little Loc Tite

Patent Documents on New Clasp

These patent documents were released in October 3, 2013 revealing what looks like a butterfly style Oysterlock clasp. The original patent document is posted here.
New Rolex Clasp New Rolex Clasp
New Rolex Clasp New Rolex Clasp
New Rolex Clasp