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Rolex has quietly debuted two new dial colours in the Oyster Perpetual collection this year. Although white and black dials aren’t normally something to shout about, here they are the perfect complement to this understated timepiece. Simple but elegant, robust and well proportioned. The Oyster Perpetual is an ideal choice for a single-piece-collection or as a gift to mark a special occassion.
The classic three-hander
The Oyster Perpetual is the entry-level option into the Rolex family. A minimalist three-hander with a clean dial, it bears the legacy of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf’s earliest achievements. The versatility of this casual luxury watch has been appreciated by many for years. It works well with a suit, a pair of jeans or even at the beach. Plus, you can be confident knowing that you are getting Rolex quality in terms of case, dial, movement and bracelet.
Sizes and case material
The Oyster Perpetual collection was reinvigorated by Rolex in 2015. Five case sizes are offered: 39, 36, 34, 31, and 26mm. This roughly translates to a modern men’s, two unisex, and two ladies’ sizes. (Although the 36 and 34mm as men’s wristwatches are much truer to the original dimensions of early Oyster Perpetuals.) Regardless of size, each Oyster Perpetual employs the coveted Oyster case. Patented in 1926 as the first waterproof wristwatch, it has been continually improved upon ever since. The current Oyster Perpetuals are water resistant down to 100m/ 10 bar/ 330ft.
The Oyster Perpetual uses Oystersteel for both the case and three-piece link Oyster bracelet. The 904L stainless steel is a superalloy. It provides maximum resistance to corrosion and harsh environments. Brushed and polished surfaces are applied to both case and bracelet to convey unity. A highly polished domed bezel encircles the distinctive Rolex dial (in its most basic form). Until now luxe tones such as dark rhodium or red grape have characterised the Oyster Perpetual collection. The new colours make the OP accessible to a wider audience and more suitable in a broader array of settings.
Black, of course, works with about anything. This quintessential Rolex dial colour receives its own unique finish. Neither a gloss nor full-matte but a semi-matte with subtle sunray pattern. In the right light, hints of grey meld with the steel case metal. Hands and hour markers are fashioned from 18k white gold. All five size options with black dials receive baton-style indexes. Punctuated on the outer by the minute track painted in white.
White dials are more of a rarity for Rolex, which makes this Oyster Perpetual quite special. Of particular note is the ‘organic’ effect of the matte and slightly textured finish (as opposed to a sunray dial). It’s definitely a winner as a subtle, understated timepiece with class and is possibly even more versatile than the black version. The three larger options again feature baton indexes but the two ladies’ sizes offer their own stylised dials. The 31mm marks the hours in Roman numerals, several of which are blued in colour. While the petite 26mm has oversized Arabic numbers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock in combination with the standard batons.
The Oyster Perpetual range uses in-house calibres from the 3100 and 2200 families. All are self-winding mechanical movements (hence the ‘Perpetual’ moniker). They are entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex and COSC-certified as Swiss chronometers before undergoing further testing in-house after casing. The 3132 and 3130 movements used in the three larger versions are both fitted with a Parachrom hairspring. (A provision for greater resistance to shocks and temperature variations.)
In black and white
The Oyster Perpetual new monochromatic dial colours make for stylish, versatile and reliable watches. If you’re looking for one timepiece to serve all your needs, then look no further. From 39mm down, the sizing options also serve as comfortable fits for all wrist types. Come in and try one on at our Norwich boutique. You may be surprised at the sense of satisfaction you derive from this classic three-hander.
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