Some of the best things about Rolex are sometimes just the simplest and the Rolex Oyster falls clearly in that category. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual was the world’s first waterproof wristwatch introduced back in 1926(!) but despite its age, Rolex keeps the Oyster Perpetual current with the latest technological developments found in its higher priced watches. This year Rolex continues to update the watch by offering a new sizes, dials, and movement improvements.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is available exclusively in Rolex’s 904L stainless steel and in five sizes, -39mm, 36mm, 34mm, 31mm,  and 26mm case sizes.  The 39mm is larger than the traditional 36mm model, and the 26mm is larger than the 24mm model -a nod to the world’s changing tastes towards slightly larger wristwatches.  One fabulous aspect of the Rolex Oyster is that it utilizes the same Oyster case and Twinloc winding crown technology making it waterproof to 100feet/300meters. The case is milled from a solid block of 904L steel, and utilizes the same sapphire crystal found on other higher priced Rolex models.

The solid linked Oyster bracelet keeps the Rolex Oyster Perpetual securely on one’s wrist.  The Oyster bracelet is made from the same 904L stainless steel used on the Oyster case making the bracelet a perfect match for the case.  Unlike the Rolex DateJust, SkyDweller, GMT’s and Yacht-Masters, the Oyster Perpetual has a brushed bracelet finish giving it a sporty look found on the Rolex Submariner, DeepSea, SeaDweller, Explorer I & IIs, and Air Kings.  Many Rolex wearers (myself included) prefer a brushed bracelet to keep the watch more understated.

Another amazing aspect to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is what’s inside the Oyster case.  Rolex has kept the Rolex movement powering the watch current as well. Although the Oyster Perpetual is considered a simple three-handed wristwatch, Rolex utilizes two different movements determined by the size of the watch.  The larger 34, 36, and 39mm Oyster Perpetuals utilize updated calibres 3132 and 3130 movement utilizing a Rolex’s patented Parachrom Blu hairspring, making the watch COSC certified being accurate to -4/+6 seconds a day.  Additionally, Rolex keeps the balance protected found in the 39mm model by using Rolex’s new Paraflex shock absorbers introduced in the Rolex President and Rolex Explorer watch series.  The smaller 26mm and 31mm Oyster Perpetuals utilize Rolex’s calibre 2231 with all the movements providing at least 48 hours of power reserve.  

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is the assortment of dial colors.  The Oyster Perpetual dials use white gold baton markers, white gold hands, both filled with Chromalight luminescence for easy reading at night.  The watch dials combined with the smooth 904L stainless bezel gives the watch a prominent appearance without being over the top.

– Sheldon Smith