Don’t Know What Oyster Perpetual Is? You’re Not Alone

It’s sort of peculiar to call a chronograph “timeless” but, if any watch out there could qualify for such a high status, it would have to be the Oyster Perpetual—a timepiece confidently set apart as a symbol of classic and universal style, superior function, etc.

Simply put, the Oyster Perpetual embodies timeless function, aesthetics, class, distinction, design and value. In fact, this model is steeped in Rolex’s rich Swiss watchmaking lore, long interesting history and pioneering spirit.

If you didn’t know what the Oyster Perpetual was, in spite of your being familiar with Rolex and luxury watches in general, then this is only a testament to the range and depth of the Rolex line—no matter how much you think you know about Rolex, there is always something else to delve into, nooks and crannies of surprises and mechanical wonderments for both the young and the old.

But knowing what the Oyster Perpetual is isn’t enough—you’ve got to also know why this special timepiece “shines.”

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–The Perpetual’s casement is waterproof to an astounding depth of 330 feet (100 meters). An integral component of this capacity is a winding crown outfitted with a “Twin-Lock” double waterproofing system securely screwed down against the case. Rolex was the second company to have achieved such a difficult, high-pressure-withstanding accomplishment.

–The middle case is made from a solid piece of 904L steel known for its corrosion resistance. This “super-alloy” looks diamond-quality glitzy even in harsh environments—which is why it’s a favorite in the aerospace, chemical and high-tech industries.

–To prevent unauthorized tampering, the case is hermetically-tightened using a unique tool exclusively available to Rolex aficionados, merchants, and manufacturers. This provides superlative protection from water, dust, corrosion, condensation, shock and pressure.

–This watch’s self-winding mechanics is comprised of a half-moon-design, pivoting-freely-on-the-central-axle-in-only-one-direction oscillating weight; the other responds to your wrist’s natural movements. All this involves an amazing natural-energy-transmission process; mechanically put, the weight’s oscillations build up energy that is subsequently stored in the mainspring. In fact, although the autonomous buildup of energy of a Rolex averages about 50 hours, the Oyster’s Perpetual rotor system is recognized by 2 reversing wheels allowing movement rewinding irrespective of the direction of rotation of the oscillating weights!

–This watch comes with an “Official Superlative Chronometer” certification that can only be earned as a result of passing an intensive 15-day set of tests exclusively administered by the SOCT Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization. In fact, Rolex is the largest producer of Swiss-made “certified” timepieces; as of 2005, more than half of all SOCT Institute certified watches were Rolexes.

–The Oyster’s bracelet, first seen in the 1930s, is uncannily stylish and comfortable for a flat, broad, 3-piece-links metal design.

–The Oyster Perpetual is the culmination of many accolades and “firsts” awarded over the years:

  • The 1st wristwatch to be labeled as “waterproof”
  • The 1st wristwatch with a waterproof case capable of withstanding an astounding 330 feet (100 meters) of water depth pressure (the “Oyster Perpetual Submariner”)
  • The 1st watchmaker (i.e., Rolex) to be bestowed with “chronometer certification” for a wristwatch in 1910

–This watch is the result of years of designing trendsetting the main goal of which was the creation of timepieces that could survive the harsh environments encountered during mountain climbing, deep-sea diving, cave exploration, aviation and polar exploration. In fact, the Oyster Perpetual enjoys technology developed for such masterpieces as the “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea Dweller,” the “Explorers” and the “Rolex Submariner.” In other words, this watch was built for the pioneer, the Old West cowboy/girl, and thrill-seeking, death-defying explorer in the gutsiest people among us; and, yet, it is equally fitting for the high-style-loving, yet-happy-to-run-the-world-from-the-comfort-of-a-desk entrepreneurs and other professionals among us.

–The Oyster Perpetual, together with the “Cellini” and the “Professional,” is one three lines of Rolexes referred to as “dress” watches—i.e., the type of watch that you could wear to the Queen’s Jubilee or the Inauguration of the President of the United States. By the same token, it’s tough enough for contact sports and harsh-environment activities—as well as informal enough for a company picnic or a family reunion. In other words, it offers a high level of versatility.



The history of the Oyster Perpetual—indeed, the history of Rolex in general—is inextricably embedded in the visionary and way-ahead-of-his-time spirit and bigger-than-life persona of Hans Wilsdorf, the now-well-known founder. This highly-entrepreneurial young watchmaker and inventor fell into the Swiss watchmaking business during a time when pocket watches were the timepieces of choice and what people in high places donned.

Wristwatches were merely an idea back then but it wasn’t just a question of coming up with something that had class and style but was also as reliable and accurate as any other timepiece. To bring such accuracy and reliability down from a wall-clock to something you wore on your wrist might have been simpler had nanotechnology existed back then. Actually, Wilsdorf and his contemporaries (as well as, of course, their predecessors), you might say, were the first nanotechnologists, even though they didn’t have the technological gadgets and know-how that is available today.

The point is that Hans and other Swiss watchmaking geniuses from back then did accomplish their goals, thus creating a line of timepieces which, to this day, surpass the quality and reliability one would have expected to be possible at that time.

The Oyster Perpetual is, simply put, the culmination of all that fine history, of the impossible goals of a perfectionist, and the inevitable quality, style and performance that has become the trademark of Swiss watchmaking.


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