The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is seen as everything that the founder wanted to achieve. I usually think that this watch is the entry point to the Rolex world. There are several terminologies that form the informed history of Rolex and Oyster is one of them. Oyster is the name that the brand’s founder Hans Wilsdorf gave to the first waterproof watches in the early 1920s. This version name has over time remained an essential metaphor for the brand.
Rolex Oyster perpetual is the entry point to the world of classic waterproof watches. It is more than $1,000 cheaper than the GMT and the submarine and at the same time almost the half price of Daytona. Today, a lot of luxury watch manufacturers are also designing affordable ones. You can look at these models on SpotTheWatch and read James Hampton-Smith’s take on each of them.
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A brief history
The two words are actually the description of the history of rolex oyster perpetual. The first part of this version refers to waterproof. It also refers to the first dustproof wristwatch. This watch was launched in 1926 by the Rolex founder. This name comes up when the founder was in a dinner when he said Mollusc. The founder said that the new case design was very hard similar to the shell of his hand.
The second part of the name (perpetual) was in reference to the self-winding movement that comes to existence in 1931. The watch was given this name because it was being powered by the perpetual motion of the wrist.
What this means is that the actual name come in due to the watch’s self winding capabilities and water-dust resistance. The watch was designed specifically for cave and polar explorers. These are the people who want to know whether its day or night.
Traditionally, the Oyster Perpetual was specifically for women. The main reason, in this case, was the sizing. However, there were some Rolex enthusiasts that loved 34 and 36 mm especially for vintage proportions but for men, this was regarded too small. In 2018, Rolex went on to add a black and white dial across all the above sizes.
The movement and the build quality
As a matter of fact, there are three movements that were used across this family. These movements are self-winding which gave it the name in 1931, the COSC-certified and eventually in-house. After that, the next thing that hasn’t seen many changes over the decades is the case construction. This has remained slightly changed over this time. It is regarded as solid, reliable watchmaking from a solid manufacturer.
The original case construction comprised of three parts, the central case, a metal ring and eventually the bezel and the case back. The central case includes the lugs and a separate case which are screw-on. The external case, on the other hand, had external screwed threads which hold the movement, dial, and hands. Lastly, the bezel and the case are screwed into place.
That was the old case construction. There were some few changes and the modern cases feature a middle case that is made of a solid block of steel, platinum or gold. After that, there’s a screwed-down fluted case and eventually friction sapphire crystal and bezel. The company has also built its own patented winding crown which is known as the triblock or the twinlock. The main reason for this was to ensure optimum water and dust resistance. This is denoted by two dots or a dash underneath the Rolex Logo. It is also known to be water resistant up to 100m. There is another gasket that is found inside the watch with the sole purpose of keeping water and dust from getting into the movement even when the crown is loosely screwed.
Lastly, there are some visible changes in the strap. One of the most visible change is the obvious move from leather to a bracelet. However, some of the changes introduced early are still part of it. One of them is the flat three piece link construction that was introduced in the 30s.
One thing is sure about is that there are very few luxury watches around the world that matches the classic look and the functionality of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. For this reason, the version’s style has been pushed into the mainstream. As a matter of fact, even the first releases in 1931 still look a little bit different from what Rolex is producing today. If this is looked side by side with the modern styles, it looks almost evolutionally modern.
As a matter of fact, the details that were there by the time of the first attempt are still there. This is what puts this masterpiece at the front line in terms of design, look, and history.
How to wear this watch
One good thing about this masterpiece is that it stands somewhere between a dress watch and a sports watch. This is the main reason why most of the people are calling it a casual watch. What this means is that this masterpiece can be worn in the weekend, during some special occasions and during the week. It can simply match your weekend pair of sneakers or even your black suit as you rock out to job.
Additionally, the watch has a casual feel that makes it lean more on the weekend partner rather than an official masterpiece. The main reason for this is the steel case. On the other hand, there are over 30 iterations of the Oyster Perpetual watches but chances are you may not be interested with 26mm purple dial. But now I can give you some of the most classic options that any modern man should look for.
You can opt for Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 116000, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 114300 (Dark Rhodium) or Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 114300 (white dial),
Rolex through its classically designed and high quality watch versions have made the way as the world’s leading luxury watchmaker. They have over the time made some of the most popular and renowned masterpieces that set the world ablaze. I now hope you have enjoyed this primer on Rolex Oyster Perpetual and got some basics about this luxury watch.