When Rolex created the first Oyster case in 1926, it was a pivotal moment in the history of watchmaking. The patented system allowed the brand to create the first water resistant wristwatch. The Oyster Perpetual officially debuted a few years later in 1931. This model is the bread and butter of the Rolex brand. It epitomizes their passion for innovation and commitment to superior design. All in all, the Oyster Perpetual is a simple, straightforward, yet robust collection. You can’t go wrong when buying a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. Here, you can browse our selection of exceptional used Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches for sale.
The development of the Rolex Oyster case represents a pivotal moment in the history of modern watchmaking. The brand invented the design in 1926 as the world’s first water resistant case for a wristwatch. It contains a patented system that screws down the bezel, caseback, and winding crown against the middle case, which is comprised of a solid block of steel, gold, or platinum. Oyster casebacks also feature distinctive fluting that fits into a special tool issued exclusively to Rolex watchmakers so only they can access the movement.
Just five years later in 1931, the Oyster Perpetual was officially born. With the collection, Rolex debuted another new development: a module to fit over the movement that offered automatic winding. This was an important breakthrough in the evolution of water resistant watches. It meant the wearer no longer had to unscrew the crown to wind the watch manually, which exposes a small area of the case.
The Oyster Perpetual is the bread and butter of the Rolex brand. They use “Oyster Perpetual” phrase in a number of other Rolex models. Some examples include the Oyster Perpetual Submariner or the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. In fact, almost every watch the brand produces today is technically a part of the Oyster collection. However, the Oyster Perpetual itself is the most straightforward model offered by the brand. Over the years, it has served as the building block for other models, like the Submariner and Daytona.
The exterior design and aesthetic is the most pared down and streamlined part of the watch. With the Oyster Perpetual, there’s typically a more limited selection of dial colors, straps, and other bells and whistles available. Style is certainly an important factor. However, the inner workings of the watch are what really help it to withstand the test of time. Here is where you’ll find the unparalleled Rolex quality.
The line of Oyster Perpetual models contains a simple yet robust in-house made automatic movement, complete with COSC certification. It’s equipped with Rolex’s patented “paramagnetic” blue Parachrom hairspring as well as the manufacturer’s own Paraflex shock absorbers. The model may be more basic in terms of its functions and appearance. However, it still features the same high caliber movement you’ll find in all of the watches in the Rolex family.
Today, pre-owned Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches often fetch high prices at the auction block. In 2018, a Reference 6336 “Jean Claude Killy” went up at Phillips. The model gets its name from the famed Rolex ambassador and three-time Olympic alpine skiing champion. It sold for an impressive CHF 702,500, which was 100,000 over its high estimate. A year later, a Reference 3525 that was part of Andy Warhol’s collection went up at Christies. Though it sold for less than the Ref. 6336, it still fetched CHF 471,000, which was nearly 200,000 more than its high estimate.
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