Rolex Oyster Perpetual Review – a budget watch, or a watch for a budget?
Since 1926, Rolex has been crafting and creating beautiful and stunning pieces of art, represented in the form of a wrist watch. Their first watch, the ‘Oyster’, was designed to feature a hermitically sealed case which provided protection for the movement and was the first waterproof watch ever created. By 1931, Rolex had created the ‘Perpetual’ movement, the worlds first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. These two details in Rolex’s long history, bring me to the watch I will be reviewing within this article; the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, specifically in its 39mm variant (although it is also available in 26mm, 31mm and 34mm).
If you were to quickly glance at the rest of the collection offered by Rolex, you would be forgiven in thinking the Oyster Perpetual could fly subtly under the radar, but I’m here to tell you why it shouldn’t. The Oyster Perpetual is a watch that likes to float between the two main categories many collectors like to use to categorise every watch in existence; The dress watch, or the sports watch. The great thing about this particular watch though, is it embodies neither of these, not separately anyway. It’s the type of watch you can wear whilst taking the kids to football practice and whilst lounging around, as well as being able to sit beautifully underneath your suit cuff when at the office during the week.
Now, a watch this versatile could be described as boring or bland by some people, mainly those into collecting, which is why in 2015 Rolex decided to add new dials to the range, including 3 colourful dials which add character and spark to an otherwise simple cog in the large Rolex collection.
The 39mm, which is pictured above, comes in dark rhodium, blue and red grape. Each of these dials features contrasting pips at each hour marker; light blue on the dark rhodium; green on the blue model; and red on the red grape. Another attempt by Rolex to increase this models appeal. In many polls and reviews I’ve read online, everyone seems to prefer the understated dark rhodium dial the most, with my personal preference swaying towards the deep purple of the red grape, based on the fact it’s something new for Rolex and brings a new take on how they design watches, with possible influences from other competitors such as Omega, or even their own child company, Tudor.
Colours aside, this model features 18k white gold hour batons, the classic oyster case (obviously), that’s water proof up to 100 metres, which is made using 904L stainless steel, as is the bracelet. The lugs are brushed, slim and sleek, and the bezel is high polished and domed, giving it a distinct difference in appearance to it’s cousin, the Explorer 1, Ref. 214270. Speaking of the Explorer 1, the Oyster Perpetual also features the same movement inside. Beating away at the heart of this great watch, is the Calibre 3132. Now I’m not saying this movement is something new and brings with it some innovation, but what it is, is that tried and tested word used by many far and wide; a work horse. You can be assured if you buy this watch, which I really suggest you should, that the movement will go through life with you without batting an eye at what that brings.
The 3132 features a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers which gives it a better ability to handle shocks and other extreme conditions as well as being COSC certified, just like any other Rolex. It’s also got a 48-hour power reserve too, which is handy if you have a few other watches in your collection, not that you’d need to owning this particular one. What this all means is, you’re getting a watch that can handle drops, explorations, sports or a dressy evening out, and better yet, for a price of £3750, take that, Explorer fans.
Regarding the price, this brings me onto the general perception of this watch by some within the watch industry and collectors alike. At £3750, many describe this watch as a budget Rolex, or a ‘cost of entry’ into the Rolex brand. Being a university student myself, I can sort of see where they’re coming from, but I also think this notion is wrong, and not just with this particular watch. £3750 is still a lot for anyone to spend on a watch, and when I chose this model myself, it wasn’t because of the fact is was the cheapest. I chose this watch because it was simply gorgeous. The red grape dial really brought me in and seduced me, especially when caught in the sunlight. There was also the fact that for me, at 23 years old, the red pips really brought something quirky to an otherwise sort of bland offering from watches in the higher price bracket. I felt like Rolex were in some way, starting to recognise their younger audience and really being bold and making new design choices, not to say this watch isn’t for people older too, which it definitely is. I also chose this watch purely for its versatility. I can wear this watch to a lecture whilst in a hoodie and jeans, or to a job interview for a graduate job. It’s a win win. I’ve basically got every watch you could ever need, all in one sleek, sexy package.
On the wrist, which is probably the most important part of any watch, it’s only more positives here. The bracelet is one of the comfiest bracelets I have ever worn, period. At 39mm, it also fits perfectly on my 6.5” wrist, with the lugs sitting so elegantly and not overflowing in any way. Often, I can’t even tell I’m wearing it with the way it feels, even though when it’s off it has enough substance and weight to feel truly expensive.
The clasp opens and closes effortlessly, and the click it gives on closing still makes me feel great every time I put it on, a reminder of the bond I have between me and this amazing time piece.
To summarise, with this watch you’re getting a really beautiful dial; a robust, tested movement; the same amazing Rolex bracelet as well as something new and exciting, a splash of colour where Rolex would usually not dare to go. Will this colour and charm continue into the future and other products in their range? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know, is that I sure as hell want to find out.
I hope you enjoyed this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Review!
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