Some consider the Rolex Oyster Perpetual as the "starter" Rolex watch to own but the reality is that it is the elemental collection that traces its history back to the wristwatch on which Rolex has built its reputation on nearly a hundred years ago.
A Brief History
It was in 1926 when the "Rolex Oyster" came to exist as the first waterproof wristwatch in the world. This feat was achieved by developing a new case construction with the case back and winding crown all screwed down into the middle case to create a sealed case.
It was dubbed "Oyster" because it was hermetically sealed like an oyster shell and could survive under water. In addition, a new patented self-winding (automatic) Perpetual rotor mechanism meant the wearer no longer needed to unscrew the winding crown every day, ensuring the waterproofness of the Rolex timepiece, and incidentally henceforth giving rise to the "Oyster Perpetual" official name across different Rolex collections.
The first waterproof watch in the world, the Rolex Oyster from 1926
This was then followed by the launch of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner in 1953 — Rolex's first professional diver's watch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres.
Since then, all current collections from Rolex, with the exception of Cellini, are direct descendants of the Oyster Perpetual. These include the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky- Dweller, to name a few.
As such, the modern offerings from Rolex that contain "Oyster Perpetual" in their names boast the features of the Oyster Perpetual collection (which is why we consider it "elemental") - excellent chronometric precision, a waterproof Oyster case, and self-winding of the movement via a Perpetual rotor.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Collection
Displaying hours, minutes and seconds, made exclusively of Oystersteel and featuring a sophisticated finish, the Oyster Perpetual embodies timeless form and function, firmly rooted in the pioneering origins of Rolex. It exudes in the elegance and the simplicity of THE original. It is THE quintessential Oyster.
In 2020, Rolex has rolled out some changes to the collection.
The Oyster Perpetual collection welcomes a new 41 mm model. On the first, a silver, sunray-finish dial,the hour markers and hands are in 18 ct yellow gold. On the second, a bright black, sunday finish-dial, the hour markers and hands are in 18 ct white gold. A third version in bright blue, sunray-finish dial is also on offer.
The Oyster Perpetual 36 is unveiled in eye-catching lacquer dials in five original colours: candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, coral red and green - no doubt giving this classic timepiece a more vibrant visage. The Oyster Perpetual 41 also has this option, with the exception of candy pink.
The Oyster Perpetual 31 is available in the lacquer dials introduced above, as well as options in sunray-finish dial in bright black, silver, bright blue or pink.
The Oyster Perpetual 28 comes with the choices of a sunray-finish dial in bright black, silver, bright blue or pink dial.
Key Additions & Differences for the Oyster Perpetual Collection in 2020
- New 28 mm and 41 mm sizes have been added, deprecating the 26 mm and 39 mm versions.
- New dial colours, with lacquer versions in five original colours: candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, coral red and green.
- Anti-reflective coating applied to the back of the sapphire crystal on the new generation Oyster Perpetual ensures optimal legibility of the dial.
- Calibre 2232 for the 28 mm, 31 mm and 34 mm, introduced in 2020, developed and manufactured by Rolex, provides a power reserve of approximately 56 hours.
- Calibre 3230 for the 36 mm and 41 mm, incorporates the Chronergy escapement, provides a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The new movement launched this year provides fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. It also incorporates the Chronergy escapement which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability, and is insensitive to magnetic fields.
- Chromalight display for optimal legibility in dark conditions. The hands and hour markers are coated or filled with a luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in dark conditions.
- Folding Oysterclasp and the Easylink comfort extension link facilitates effortless wear, allowing the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm. It is the first time that this extension system has been used on a bracelet for the Oyster Perpetual range.