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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm: A New Timeless Classic

Le 3 February 2016

Timeless, trustworthy, robust and an exemplary finish, just a few of the many superlatives which the crowned brand is known for, proven performance and immediately recognizable through their simplicity. The inventor of the oyster case and watch band is evolving the classic Rolex Oyster Perpetual… and the new edition is just as classic. Let’s dive into the subject, shall we?

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm

Rolex watches are renowned across watchmaking history as having accompanied those who have gone higher, farther, deeper, always pushing the limit. Exploits which have been engraved in our memories and act as proof of exceptional reliability for these functional pieces with uncomprimising quality.

Because yes indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the luxurious and unfortunately highly connotated image that Rolex watches have in France, these timepieces remain above all true Tool-watches that are crafted to last, which to this day still challenge the statistics and technical aspects of the watchmaking world.

This new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 is far from an exception to the rule, and that’s why we love it…

The case and watch band :

The renowned waterproof oyster case, inaugurated in 1927 by the British swimmer Mercedes Glietze, thickens to a more modern and present 39mm, a perfect size in my eyes that connects presence, legibility and discretion. No need to present once again the 904L steel which composes the case and watch band, as its durable quality and esthetic beauty, once polished or brushed, is already well-known. We never grow tired of it, though.

The oyster watch band, most likely the only steel watch band that I’ll ever praise (and which won’t end up back in the box the day after the purchase, to be replaced by a beautiful nato or leather band), brings together sturdyness, lightness and comfort. Completely brushed for a functional and effective look, the slightly curved links hug the wrist just right and get progressively smaller up to the buckle. Yes, that changes everything. It’s a body made to last, a perfect alliance between form and function and the polar opposite of any old esthetic vanity.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm

This watch not only looks great with a Birdseye suit on a rainy day, but also shines just as much on a snowy summit in the Alps (its ancestors have been to Everest) or on a Bahia beach (its brothers have explored the depths of the oceans). Performance and versatility at the highest level.

The watch face :

Here’s where the new twist comes in: three hands, synonym for simplicity, the quintessence of function. Hours, minutes and seconds hand occupy this deep rhodium blue watch face, with the hour index’s made of 18 carat white gold. Small bight green squares bring visual practicality at the tips of the minute index’s, marking the 5-minute intervals. This last detail adds a nice athletic touch to this reference, without overdoing it.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm

The Rolex crown placed at noon and the highly finessed and precise typography finish off an overall harmonious esthetic with great functional legibility.

The movement :

The 3132 Rolex automatic winding mechanical calibre has the same architecture as the all the other oyster movements, synonym for reliability and precisión. Certified COSC chronometer of course, which by the way we explained the significance of this to you a few days ago in another article.

Thoughts and impressions :

I’m sure you got the gist of my impressions of this watch, as it was hard for me to dissimulate my enthusiasm and infatuation of this watch. Far from the (illegitimate) image of class distinction unfortunately still too present in France, Rolex shows us once again a beautiful example of its savoir-faire and extreme requirements regarding the conception, construction and finish of its watches.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm

I was able to witness this first-hand when I visited their Parisian workshops, completely by chance and no earlier than this morning, where all their watches are revised and serviced. Towards the end of the process real conditioning tests are performed, like waterproofness for example, a true watchmaking obstacle course. Just imagine all that those watches go through before they even leave the production workshops…

A functional and versatile watch, sturdy and elegant and which I would have certainly brought with me to the Annapurna summit to prove to you all the validity of my statements… sometime soon perhaps. 


“If you could only own one watch for the rest of your life, it could very well be this one…”