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About Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watches

Rolex introduced the Oyster-Perpetual in 1931 as a self-winding version of the famous Oyster watch. They released the original Oyster in 1926 when the screw-down bezel was introduced to the world. This sealed the watch, allowing it to be waterproof. This marked the birth of the first waterproof wristwatch, which was proved to the world in a legendary way: A young woman took a ten-hour swim across the English Channel, and the watch with which she was equipped emerged perfectly unscathed.

The Oyster-Perpetual was created to enhance Rolex’s waterproof nature. Because the crown had to be unscrewed to wind the mechanism, the waterproof element of the watch could potentially be compromised. As a result, the self-winding mechanism with a perpetual motor was born, making the timepiece’s functionality even greater. This particular mechanism is now at the center of all watches made today.

In 1956, Rolex released the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date, incorporating a Cyclops lens meant to magnify the date.

Influential individuals are known to have worn this particular timepiece, and through various stunts and excursions, the watch very quickly became known as a symbol of excellence. Sir Edmund Hillary, for example, wore an Oyster-Perpetual watch when he climbed Everest, which was was the first-ever summit of the mountain. Sir Malcolm Campbell, the King of Speed, also wore the watch while driving his car over 300 miles per hour.

Rolex released variations made for specific purposes, such as the Oyster Perpetual Submariner designed for diving, the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master made for pilots, and the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss made for scientists. All come with robust features designed to allow them to withstand exposure to extreme elements.

In 1945, Rolex gave life to the Datejust, which remains the pillar of the Oyster-Perpetual collection. This was the first watch ever created to indicate the date on the dial. With its Jubilee bracelet and fluted bezel, it is designed to be immediately recognizable as a Rolex. While initially made exclusively for men, there are now variations designed with women in mind.

In 1960, the model earned increased acclaim through yet another attention-grabbing journey proving the watch’s ability to withstand extreme conditions. The Oyster-Perpetual Deep Sea Special was attached to a bathyscape Trieste and brought to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The timepiece survived the depth and pressure, proving it could withstand the absolute most intense conditions to which professional divers could be exposed.

The model continuously evolved and expanded, with increasingly specific variations released. For example, Rolex released the Yacht-Master in 1992. In the early 2000s, Rolex manufactured the Parachrom hairspring, allowing for even greater shock resistance.

The Oyster-Perpetual name is more than a collection. The name alludes to specific elements for which Rolex has become known, and refers to the particular patent of these characteristics. The name Oyster is so-called because of the hermetically sealed case, and “perpetual” comes from the watch’s self-winding movement. The title of “Oyster Pertual” is not earned lightly. Rigorous tests have ensured its high quality, making the oyster case and the perpetual movement essential parts to Rolex’s most outstanding timepieces.