In the initial half of 2023, Rolex unveiled a collection of audacious watches that pushed the boundaries of design. In 2020, they made waves with the vibrant Oyster Perpetual timepieces that stole the spotlight. Fast forward to 2023, and Rolex has once again turned to the Oyster Perpetual to infuse their watch line-up with a burst of colour.
The Oyster Perpetual, a cornerstone and the entry-level Rolex since its inception in the 1920s, has undergone numerous transformations in dial colours and styles. To me, it stands as the last authentic ‘tool’ watch crafted by Rolex—an everyday companion that doesn’t induce constant worry. While the Submariners and Datejusts are robust enough to handle anything, they exude more of a ‘luxury’ vibe nowadays. I genuinely stand by this sentiment, as I own a previous-generation 34mm Oyster Perpetual that accompanies me on runs and gym sessions, proudly displaying its scratches earned through active use.
This year’s Oyster Perpetual line-up sparked intense debates, with some criticizing Rolex for deviating from their traditional aesthetics and succumbing to the current trend of bold and vibrant colours. Personally, I took the opposite stance, finding delight in this unexpected departure. Admittedly, the role of branding cannot be ignored, and while I might approach it sceptically if it were another brand, there’s an intangible allure to Rolex that somehow makes it work this time.
Moreover, Rolex has a history of dabbling in lively colours, with some of the most sought-after vintage Day-Dates featuring vivid lacquered dials known as ‘Stella’ dials. In a way, this new release pays homage to the brand’s colourful past. What truly captivates attention, however, is the amalgamation of all the colours from the 2020 Oyster Perpetual release into what Rolex dubs the “Celebration Dial.” The thing that stands out the most is the fact that regardless of the size the colourful bubbles remain in the same place on every single dial.
The new releases come in three sizes—31mm, 36mm, and 41mm—while the older 28mm and 34mm sizes do not feature this special dial. The 36mm and 41mm models boast Rolex’s latest Cal. 3230, while the 31mm version features the calibre 2232, maintaining the impeccable quality associated with Rolex.
While technical innovations are par for the course in any new Rolex, the vibrant dial of the Celebration model adds a refreshing twist. Traditionalists can still opt for more subdued dial colours like silver, black, and blue, but the lacquered candy pink, yellow, and coral red have been phased out, leaving the lacquered green turquoise dial as the sole survivors.
In my opinion, the Celebration dial, featuring all the discontinued colours along with the green, embodies pure Rolex fun. The lacquer dials introduce a captivating depth, injecting a touch of playfulness into a typically straightforward and serious watch. Like any departure from the norm, there will inevitably be critics, but I am confident that this line will breathe new life into the Oyster Perpetual series, making it a future classic.
The new 41mm Oyster Perpetual Celebration Dial will retail for £5,400, while the 36mm version will retail for £5,100, with the 31mm model retailing for £4,750. For more information on this Oyster Perpetual, visit rolex.com.