Rolex Oyster Perpetual
About Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is the most classic wristwatch in the entire Rolex catalog.
This model is considered Rolex entry-level, and the watches in this collection are the most affordable. It is designed as a watch to be used in any daily situation, sturdy enough to withstand the daily life hustle without any problems.
The Oyster Perpetual possesses a simple and elegant design with just three hands to tell the time. Moreover, the watch was designed without any specialized function or feature. Unlike other popular Rolex models, such as the Submariner or the Yacht-Master II, the Oyster Perpetual is meant to be used as an everyday watch.
History of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Oyster Perpetual is one of the most crucial watches in Rolex's history. The model was released to the public in 1931.
The model name indicates the two unique features it had when it was released: waterproof and perpetual movement through an automatic winding rotor. Although these features are currently employed in almost every Rolex watch, no other watch had been designed with those features before the Oyster Perpetual.
Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, believed that wrist watches could be as essential and reliable as traditional pocket watches. This ideal made him focus on enhancing the models to make them waterproof.
After working hard, Wilsdorf managed to create the first Oyster case in 1926. This was a specialized case with a screwed-down back that used the winding crown and the bezel to create a hermetic seal that would make it impossible for water to penetrate the watch.
The term Oyster case is a reference to the shell that protects the oysters in the sea.
Wilsdorf handed an Oyster case watch to the English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze to prove its efficiency. This famous swimmer wore the watch as she made history by becoming the first female to swim across the English Channel. Gleitze spent 15 hours swimming in cold water to accomplish her objective. Afterward, the watch was in perfect condition, and its efficiency had been proven.
However, the crown had to be constantly unscrewed to wind the watch. Therefore, the hermetic seal could be compromised due to wear. As a solution, a rotor-based self-winding mechanism was created in 1927.
This rotor would rotate inside the watch due to the wearer's movements, automatically winding the mechanism without needing to unscrew the crown. Therefore, making it perpetual as long as a person is wearing it.
The combination of the Oyster case with the perpetual mechanism gave birth to the first Rolex Oyster Perpetual model in 1931.
It is essential to understand that this technology has been used in almost every Rolex Watch created afterward. Therefore, the term Oyster Perpetual is inscribed in most of their watches. However, only those models with a simple design following the pattern of the original model belong to the Oyster Perpetual collection.
Popular Oyster Perpetual Models
Since this is one of the earliest Rolex models, several models have been released over the years. Some of the most iconic include:
Ref. 6634 (Golden Egg)
This Oyster Perpetual was nicknamed the Golden Egg due to its color. Also, it was made of gold and featured a 34 mm case. It was designed with two dial color alternatives: white or gold. The Golden Egg was powered by a caliber 1030, featuring both manual and automatic winding. This model was released in 1950.
Ref. 114300 (Oyster Perpetual 39)
The Perpetual 39 model was made of stainless steel and designed with a 39 mm case. Moreover, the dial color can be chosen between red grape, blue, or rhodium. The watch is powered by a caliber 3132.
This model is also made of stainless steel. However, the case features a 36 mm diameter, and the watch is powered by a caliber 3230.
Finally, this model was designed for women. It possesses a 31 mm stainless steel case. The dial came in 6 different color options. Furthermore, it was powered by a caliber 2231.
Rolex added new versions to the Oyster Perpetual collection in 2020. Some of these versions include:
Ref. 124300 (Oyster Perpetual 41)
The largest version in the entire Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection. It features a 41 mm case and multiple dial colors, including blue, red, black, green, yellow, silver, and turquoise. This version is powered by a modern caliber 3230 with a 70-hours power reserve.
Ref. 126000 (Oyster Perpetual 36)
Similar to the Ref. 124300. However, this version is slightly smaller, featuring a 36 mm case. Moreover, the dial colors available are candy pink, silver, yellow, turquoise, green, black, blue, and red.
Some of the references that make the list of Rolex Oyster Perpetual include:
- Ref. 276200: 28mm
- Ref. 277200: 31mm
- Ref. 124200: 34mm
- Ref. 126000: 36mm
- Ref. 124300: 41mm
- Ref. 176200: 26mm
- Ref. 177200: 31mm
- Ref. 114200: 34mm
- Ref. 116000: 36mm
- Ref. 114300: 39mm
Oyster Perpetual Features
Since the Rolex Oyster Perpetual was designed for any situation, the model comes with a wide variety of features and characteristics. Therefore, there is a model to match any kind of taste.
Vintage versions have been released in 18k yellow gold. The latest collection is designed with 904L stainless steel.
Case Size and Bracelet
The case has been designed in multiple sizes since its original release, such as:
- 24 mm
- 26 mm
- 28 mm
- 31 mm
- 34 mm
- 36 mm
- 39 mm
- 41 mm
However, only 5 sizes are currently being produced as the 24, 26, and 39 mm version has been discontinued. The 39 mm version was one of the most popular sizes, although it was only produced between 2015 - 2020
Regarding the bracelet, previous versions have been released in yellow Rolesor (Yellow Gold and stainless steel) and Jubilee. However, recent versions are only released with the traditional stainless steel Oyster bracelet featuring an Oysterclasp with an Easylink Extension System.
The Oyster Perpetual features an elegant fixed and smooth bezel. The simplicity of the design makes it look luxurious and pleasant.
The dial designs follow the classical watch design. It usually comes with baton markers. However, there are a few versions with roman or Arabic numbers.
One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Oyster Perpetual is the wide variety of dial colors, such as:
- Olive Green
- Coral Red
- Candy Pink
- Blue Azzurro
- Red grape
- White Grape
- Dark Rhodium
Furthermore, Blue, Turquoise, and Coral Red are among the most popular alternatives.