At Baselworld 2014 Rolex launched updated versions of its classic Oyster Perpetual model in 31mm and 36mm, and featuring new dials. With thanks to to The Hour Glass (Australia), I had the opportunity to see the new 36mm models during their launch tour of Australia.
Much of the modern public focus when it comes to Rolexes seems to concentrate on the sports watches; the Daytonas, the Submariners, GMT-Masters, Yacht-Master, Sea-Dweller etc. It is easy to almost forget or pass by the simplicity and longevity of the time-only Oyster Perpetual with its renowned waterproof Oyster case and the Rolex Perpetual movement, an officially certified chronometer known for its precision and reliability.
The Oyster Perpetual’s case is waterproof to a depth of 100m (330ft), with a middle crafted from a solid block of corrosion-resistant 904L steel and the fluted case back hermetically screwed down. The winding crown is a screw-down and fitted with the patented Twinlock double waterproofness system.
Inside the 36 mm Oyster Perpetual is the Calibre 3130, a 48-hour power reserve in-house automatic movement that is COSC certified. The oscillator has a blue Parachrom hairspring, an alloy of niobium and zirconium, patented and manufactured by Rolex. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring promises both greater stability when exposed to temperature variations and more precision if the watch has to withstand shocks.
As mentioned, the case is 904L stainless steel, as is the Oyster bracelet with its folding clasp. The new 36mm model comes in three dial colours – red grape, white grape and steel, each with a sunray finish. The indices and hands are 18ct white gold appliqué and the hands do have phospherescent material applied to them.
Of the three dials released this year my favourite is the very traditional steel, followed by the purple-coloured red grape, with its retro feel. The colours of the dial seem to change a little at different angles and in different lighting conditions, almost shimmering at times.
Sure, the Oyster Perpetual is neither sporty nor rugged, but that is part of its appeal to generations of owners; that it’s a clean utilitarian style, accurate, and does the job of timekeeping well. They are not watches for those who prefer something hefty and with a bold wrist presence, but they form an important part of the history of Rolex, and these new colours will appeal to many.