The simple time-only Rolex is usually reserved to the Oyster Perpetual line, however, during this year’s Watches & Wonders Rolex decided it was time to introduce a more high-end time only timepiece and in doing so, resurrected a design from the archives. Rolex are well known amongst enthusiast of the brand for their very early bubble-back watches, a design inspiration for the new perpetual 1908 line. But what exactly is the new Perpetual 1908 model? It is a new model line that consists of 4 new watches, in either 18-carat yellow or white-gold, with an option of a black or silver dial. Furthermore, it is a new line that will sit alongside the professional models as the dressier cousin and will also replace the Cellini line. The Perpetual 1908, has been bestowed this name in homage to the year Hans Wilsdorf devised the name ‘Rolex’ to sign his creations and registered the brand in Switzerland.
Inspired by one of the first Rolex watches fitted with the Perpetual rotor, the 1908 is the first member of the Perpetual collection. This new collection is a reinterpretation of traditional watchmaking style: simple and elegant. The 1908 is defined by its simple design, that has taken design cues from a model made in 1931.This elegant and understated watch features a slim case crowned with a bezel that is part domed and part finely fluted. The 1908 features a 39mm case in either 18ct yellow or white gold, and the case has been fitted with a transparent case back allowing the technical sophistication and the decoration on the movement to be seen and admired by the wearer.
The curve of the lugs is highlighted thanks to a gentle chamfering on their top edges. The bezel is divided – the lower part being given an elegant fluting and the upper part domed. Made of virtually scratchproof sapphire, the domed crystal and the transparent case back benefit from an anti-reflective coating. Guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 50 metres (165 feet), the case provides optimal protection for the movement nestled inside.
The dial is a particularly sleek affair, available in either intense white or intense black depending on the version, that is graced with Arabic numerals 3, 9 and 12, and faceted index hour markers. It also offers a small-seconds sub dial at 6 o’clock, with the words ‘Superlative Chronometer’ above it in an arc shape. The hour hand is distinctive for the circle just before the tip, while the minute hand is shaped like a two-edged sword. The model is fitted on a brown or black alligator leather strap, equipped with a Dual-clasp, a double folding clasp.
The 1908 is equipped with calibre 7140, which incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel- phosphorus, this escapement is resistant to strong magnetic fields. The movement also includes the patented Syloxi hairspring, produced by Rolex. This silicon hairspring has a patented geometry that ensures the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is mounted on the patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed by the brand, which increase the movement’s shock resistance. The oscillating weight is fashioned in 18ct yellow gold and cut out. It is, furthermore, fitted with an optimized ball bearing. The Calibre 7140 has been carefully finished, notably on the bridges, which feature Rolex Côtes de Genève – a decoration that differs from traditional Côtes de Genève for the slight polished groove between each band. And thanks to its barrel architecture and the efficiency of the escapement, the power reserve of calibre 7140 extends to approximately 66 hours.
The new Perpetual 1908 is exactly what makes Rolex, Rolex – it’s elegance, mixed with classic elements in an unmistakably contemporary design. It is a refreshingly traditional timepiece in a very modern world. The Perpetual 1908 feels very un-Rolex-like, yet it seems with this new timepiece, they’ve returned to the very essence from which they were born from.
The new Rolex Perpetual 1908 is available in 18ct yellow or white gold and is priced at £18,500 and £19,600 respectively. For more information on the Perpetual 1908, visit rolex.com.