Rolex Oyster Perpetual - watch review

We, the lovers of watches, very often in our lively discussions know how to scatter ourselves with the attribute of a watch that is "wearable on all occasions".

Rolex Oyster Perpetual - watch review

Photo Credits: Rolex/Promo

We, the lovers of watches, very often in our lively discussions know how to scatter ourselves with the attribute of a watch that is "wearable on all occasions". We have often heard the term for the various pilot, diving, and even digital watches. "A watch that is wearable on all occasions"… when a few dice are arranged in the head, the choice is not easy because the watch as such should primarily be anti-trendy.

Yes, there are watches that are timeless, have a long history and almost unchanged design for decades, but you would always find some objection to it: Reverso only works on a leather strap (not ideal for sportswear), Speedmaster is anything but waterproof, Navitimer is excellent but for orientation by dial you need instructions of about thirty pages, while Royal Oak… is ideal, until we get to the price.

You’ve noticed for sure that I haven’t (so far) mentioned Rolex on this list. And no, it's not DateJust - a watch that's probably the first thing you think of when someone mentions that horological crown to you. I mean the Oyster Perpetual, perhaps a bit surprising but the cheapest Rolex model on offer.

Although considered by many to be an entry-level model, the Oyster Perpetual is actually the oldest line of watches in the Rolex manufactory and the only one left immune to trends of unnecessarily enlarging the case, adding complications or modern materials. Yes, Rolex likes to make up its models with various complications such as chronograph or GMT, endow the cases with precious materials and precious stones, and it is understandable that these watches also have their own fan list. Not Oyster Perpetual. If you want this model, it comes in as many as five sizes - 26, 31, 34, 36, and 39mm and exclusively in steel. And that's it!

If you want to know a little about the techniques, every watch Rolex produces other than the Cellini line is Oyster Perpetual. The name itself actually describes two innovations that in 1926 and 1931 virtually revolutionized the watch industry. Oyster refers to a waterproof case up to 100m with a  TwinLock rabbit, while  Perpetual is  Rolex's name for a self-winding mechanism. In the first half of the last century, these two concepts represented a new level of robustness and simplicity of mechanical watches, which was practically taken over by the entire watch industry as we know it today. For example, Submariner is actually Oyster Perpetual Submariner, Daytona - Oyster Perpetual Daytona, etc.

The Oyster Perpetual as a model is the basis on which the complete Rolex line of watches rests - a waterproof, mechanical watch with automatic winding that gives you only three key pieces of information. How many hours, how many minutes, and how many seconds.

Although long regarded as the starting price model in the world of Rolex, in its long history it has even been offered in various combinations of steel and 14k and 18k yellow gold. Today, it is available exclusively in Oystersteel, literally the fancy name for the 904L type of steel that Rolex has been using for many years.

Any watchmaking manufactory that produces more than one watch model offers a more affordable, entry-level model that almost certainly lacks more advanced features compared to the top model. This is, for example, very pronounced in the car industry where the basic model of a city car is extremely different from the top-end model with the most powerful engine, radar cruise control, and seats with a massage function.

For more than ten years of this hobby, I have witnessed everything and everything, from the cheapest Rolex models to Rainbow Dayton in white and rose gold. The thing that always impresses me about Rolex is that both the most expensive and the cheapest models are constructed with the same level of attention, the same level of workmanship, and identical quality control. Regardless of whether you receive an Oyster Perpetual or a GMT Master 'Rootbeer' in rose gold that costs almost seven times more, the tolerances between the links on both models will be imperceptible, the hole between the end link and the case is practically non-existent, the buckle is identical in construction and finish levels and a crown tube with a deep and wide thread notch practically prevents you from screwing the crown incorrectly.

The metal (904L steel) used for the Oyster Perpetual housing is identical to the metal used in the twice as expensive Daytona. Mechanism cal. The 3132 has identical high-end components as the GMT Master II such as the  Parachrom silicon turret and the  Paraflex anti-shock system. The hands, like the hour indicators, are made of identical 18k white gold and coated with  Chromalight illumination as with the Submariner model. In fact, the question arises, what exactly did Rolex save on, if we compare the Oyster Perpetual and the aforementioned more expensive models through the price aspect? The fact is that Rolex does not compromise. If it says Rolex on the dial, it must be Rolex to the end!

As of 2018, Rolex has included two additional versions, white and black, in addition to five sizes and several types of dials. In my opinion, the anthracite gray model is by far the most attractive of this group because it does not contain this black and white monotony but still gives a little color to the watch, which by default  "flies under the radar". The anthracite dial is finished in a sunburst finish that looks fantastic in direct sunlight, and if you take a closer look at the hour markers you can notice that next to each marker there is a turquoise blue indicator along the edge of the dial. Such a decent little thing that it almost gets lost at random and yet such a good detail that completes the complete look of the watch.

The glass made of artificial sapphire is very slightly raised above the mirror-polished lunette, and also reveals the biggest drawback of this model - the lack of anti-reflective coating. It’s really not clear to me why Rolex persistently refuses to put an anti-reflective coating on all its models, but in this case and this combination of dials and hands, it’s really needed because it used to happen that the watch was poorly readable. I literally had to read the time at an angle in some situations when there is a light background (sky or light wall) in the background.

The 39mm diameter case has practically revealed to me a new level of watch-wearing comfort. Of course, I can attribute this to its smaller dimensions and small diameter compared to the watches I wear (42mm +), but also its low center of gravity and extremely thin case. Remember, there are no complications, so there is no need for the mechanism to be unnecessarily high. With practically almost the entire brushed case, with the exception of the hips and lunettes that are polished to a mirror finish, the Oyster Perpetual does not fall into either the tool watch category or even the dress watch category. They would say, it's in the gray zone…

Two types of customers will be interested in Oyster Perpetual. Those who are looking for the easiest and cheapest way to experience the Rolex world and thus gradually build their collection and upgrade to a more expensive model over a period of time. The second type of customer is one who likes discretion but also loves quality. They want one ideal watch that can fit into a Sunday tracksuit when you need to watch a game with the team and an evening out Saturday with the better half.

They want a watch with which they do not want to be intrusive, which at first glance does not reveal the Jubilee bracelet, Fluted lunette and lens above the date and on the other hand they want to have luxury, quality and practically indestructible watch that will one day belong to a happy heir.