Entry-Level is an interesting term when it comes to luxury goods. For example, an “entry-level” car like a Honda, Toyota, or Nissan is much different from an “entry-level” Porsche. Both hold similar titles but are worlds apart. So, when discussing the “entry-level” Rolex Oyster Perpetual, I feel the terminology works psychologically against the watch. What is an entry-level Rolex at the end of the day? A Rolex. The most widely known luxury watchmaker in the world. In my time with the watch, I tried to completely wipe that “base-model” moniker from my mind. This is a Rolex.
Outside of the watch enthusiast world, most people forget that Rolex built a reputation for its tool watches early on. Models like the Datejust are certainly important to their history. However, over the last 70 years, Rolex has been the watch of choice for divers, adventurers, and automotive enthusiasts accomplishing great feats. It wasn’t until the solid gold Yacht-Master came out in the 1990s that Rolex made an intentional transition into the manufacture of status symbols. I think this Oyster Perpetual 39mm is a great modern interpretation of those tool watch roots.
This watch is the boiled-down essence of what makes a Rolex so great. A crisp beautifully fitted Oyster bracelet attached to a robust yet refined steel case. This watch features a stunning rhodium dial that creates a sunburst effect in the right light. Around the edges of the dial are light blue markers that add a joyful pop of color. This watch is a three-hander. With only a second-hand complication, it’s the rawest watch Rolex currently makes. A smooth polished bezel frames the dial, adding an additional layer of texture and depth to the case.
Rolex offers the Oyster Perpetual in 26mm, 31mm, 34mm, 36mm, and 39mm. This gives a more than ample range to fit anyone’s wrist. Rolex describes the watch as “The Oyster in its purest form,” which couldn’t be more accurate. Featuring a few different movements, the one I wore utilized the Rolex Calibre 3132 self-winding mechanical movement. It contains 31 jewels and has an approximate 48-hour power reserve.
How to Wear:
The Oyster Perpetual falls in an interesting category. Because it’s so distilled, it offers even more versatility than watches like the Submariner or Datejust. With a case size of 39mm and thickness of only 11mm, it wears far more elegant than a no-date Sub because of the lack of dive bezel. I’d say it does wear small compared 40mm watches, but just ever so slightly. This watch really shines in environments that are more casual. It helps dress up a casual t-shirt and jeans. I equate it to the perfect pair of white sneakers but for your wrist.
The polished accents of this case can also easily lend the watch to pairing with your favorite “finance-bro” Patagonia vest and a crisp white button-down. I think the reduced size makes the Oyster Perpetual a little more under-the-radar – not speaking too loudly but simply completing.
I could say I don’t care about brands. However, this is an awesome way to say, “Yeah, it’s a Rolex” for less than $7,000. The Oyster Perpetual is enough of a Rolex to reward yourself while not making your boss question your salary. It’s similar to a Porsche Boxster. There are many options, such as a vintage Datejust, for less money. Still, the Oyster Perpetual is really the best way to get a modern offering from the brand. Apples to Apples, I find this dial more interesting than the Explorer’s dial (a blasphemous statement, I know). There’s just something so light-hearted about the use of color. It shows the Swiss still know how to have a little fun. If you’re looking for the modern reliability of a Rolex paired with a more conservative design language, look no further than this “entry-level” watch.