Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual: Classic, Simple & Timeless
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is elegant, simple and stands the test of time. It has been an inherent part of the brand's luxury watch range since 1923, its truly timeless design ensuring it has remained modern and contemporary for the past century.
The perfect choice for anyone looking for a classic, understated watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual has the power to impress. It is one of the more affordable watches from the Rolex range, yet still has the same prestige as its more expensive counterparts.
The vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetuals came without the date, diamonds or any other adornments. Its early popularity was largely dependent on its functionality. Its different case sizes over the years, ranging from 26 mm to 41 mm, have made it equally desirable among men and women.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual History
One of the first watches waterproof to 100 metres, it became world-famous when British professional swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wore a Rolex Oyster when she successfully swam the Channel in 1927. It pioneered today's modern diving watches, thanks to its state-of-the-art features, including a screw-down crown and precision-milled crystal.
As Gleitze emerged from the icy-cold water unscathed, so did her Rolex Oyster. The brand achieved global fame thanks to the publicity generated by her amazing swimming feat.
In 1931, Rolex patented its self-winding watch movement, one of the first movements that was wound via a rotor "weight". The weight moved when the wearer moved their wrist and arm, continually winding the mechanism. This was why the name Perpetual was so apt, as the watch was perpetually wound.
A number of calibres were used in vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches, such as the 645 and 1030. The latter was also used for the early Submariner
and Explorer collections.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a favourite among Formula One drivers, as it is the epitome of sporting elegance. It is as renowned for its classic design as it is for its precision and reliability, even in extreme conditions.
Early Oyster Perpetual Launches
Looking back, most of the early launches of the Oyster Perpetual have all become their own collections.
1953 - When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay ascended Mount Everest for the first time, Rolex provided the team with Rolex Oyster Perpetuals. The success of their feat led to the launch of the Rolex Perpetual Explorer
a year later.
1959 - the Rolex Oyster Perpetual No Date was launched, featuring automatic movements, a screw-down crown and back, 36 mm diameter case and a 26 jewel movement. All the models from Ref 1003 to Ref 1038 were available with either milled or fluted bezels.
Rolex introduced a choice of bracelets in stainless steel, or steel and gold. There was also a choice of white, yellow or rose gold bezels. In addition, the whole watch was available in solid rose or yellow gold.
This generation of Oyster Perpetuals had two different calibres: the 1560 and the 1570. The production of these models ended in the 1980s.
Modern Oyster Perpetual Models
The early models were in much smaller sizes than you see in modern Oyster Perpetuals. Up until 2015, the largest model was 36mm. Then Rolex launched its larger sizes:
2015 - The Oyster Perpetual with 39mm case was released in 2015 and bear the reference 114300. The main stand out feature on this model was its coloured dials. It was released in three colours - dark rhodium, which is the most subtle tone, red grape and blue. Enhancing each one are colourful hour dots .
2020 - Five years later the Oyster Perpetual watch with 41mm case was released; reference 124300. Building on the size and its variety of coloured dials, this model was launched in colours including black, blue, turquoise, green, yellow, silver and red.
The reference with the blue and green dials are the most highly sought after in the collection at the moment, with its calibre 3230 movement, manufactured in-house, an Oyster bracelet fashioned in flat three-piece links and its COSC superlative chronometer certification, the Oyster Perpetual 41 green and blue are demanding between 14k and 21k on the preowned market, having appreciated in value significantly. If you are looking to pay a bit less than this, keep an eye out for the same watch with black dial.
In the same year Rolex released the same watch in the same colours in a 36mm dial, the reference 126000, with one additional colour; candy pink, which is particularly highly sought after.
If you’re looking for a smaller dial, search for the reference 277200, which is a 31mm dial available in all colours; blue, green, turquoise, red, black, silver, yellow, pink.
Even smaller is the 28mm Oyster Perpetual ref. 276200 in black, silver or blue, and the 34mm in blue, black, silver or rose dial.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Prices
The price of a Rolex Oyster Perpetual can vary significantly, taking into account the model, age, condition and whether it has its box and papers. Currently, the latest models released in 2022 can be bought for around £6,000 for the Ref 276200 to £12,000 for the Ref 126000, making it one of the brand's more affordable collections.
Pre-Owned Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches dating from the first decade of the 21st century can also be picked up for a reasonable price. For example, the Rolex 176200 Ladies' Oyster Perpetual pink dial stainless steel model, with a 26 mm case and bracelet, manufactured in 2010, can be picked up for £3,300.
The 2020 models mentioned above with various coloured dials are particularly popular and with demand comes an increase in worth. For example, a 41mm reference 124300 in Tiffany blue has appreciated in value over 200% and is now worth approximately £28,000. The candy pink 36mm dial reference 126000 has appreciated to a similar level and can be picked up for around £12,000.
If you’re happy with a more subtle colour, such as the black and silver version, you can expect to pay much less than the £28k the blue dial demands. Between £8k and £15k would be a good estimate, depending on condition.
In 2017, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual model that once belonged to Dr Rajendra Prasad, the former president of India and an independence activist, lawyer and scholar, was valued at £330,000. It was listed at the time as one of the top ten most expensive Rolex watches in the world.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual as an Investment
It's a fact that Rolex watches are a good investment that never depreciate in value. For example, Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches have all appreciated over recent years, some models by over 200%. However, unless you're an avid collector with a clear understanding of the market, it can be difficult to know what your Rolex watch is worth.
If you're looking to sell your Rolex Oyster Perpetual, you need to make sure you get the best price possible. But how can you be sure you're receiving your luxury watch's true value?
As a pre-owned watch specialist, Watch Centre of Bond Street is a safe and trusted option if you're looking to buy or sell a luxury watch. All of our pre-owned Rolex watches are carefully examined for authenticity and quality by our experts.
If you're looking for a safe, convenient and fair place to sell your watch, or to buy a watch for a loved one or as an investment, our knowledge and expertise in pre-owned watches is second to none. Contact us today for more information on our extensive range of pre-owned, vintage and unworn watches.