The 41mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual costs $6,150. It's an entry-level watch in the Rolex collection, and yet, you will find aftermarket watch dealers selling these for tens of thousands of dollars. How did this happen? The 2021 redesign of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 124300 turned a once-overlooked steel sports watch into a genuine market rival to the company's own GMT Master II, Submariner, and Cosmograph Daytona.
Historically, the Rolex "Explorer" drew on the lore of adventurers and, yes, explorers, to sell what was always a basic watch. A Rolex Explorer has three hands, no date, an automatic movement, and very little else. Add a tri-Arabic-numeral dial and a Rolex Oyster bracelet, and you have the basic idea. And, although Rolex attempted to inject a youthful infusion of fun with bright colors and new a new 39mm case in 2015, the model never had much traction in the marketplace.
Enter 2021. Rolex's headliner for the model year was supposed to be the new Submariner 124060 and 126610. But a new 41mm Oyster Perpetual case size and revived "Stella" dials stole the show. 41mm cases mean the Rolex OP no longer is dismissed as a "boy's watch" or "wife watch." 41mm is more than a GMT or Daytona and on par with the new Submariner; it means business.
The Rolex "Stella" dials take one step further than Rolex's tentative 2015 dalliance with colorful Oyster Perpetual dials. Inspired by the so-called "Stella" (star) dials of the 1970s, these lacquered colors are vibrant and glossy. Rolex "coral red," "yellow," "green," "turquoise," and "pink" offer a serious change of persona compared to the black, silver, and metallic sunburst options of the recent past. Suddenly, the entry-level watch stopped feeling like a compromise.
Rolex included technical improvements on the 41mm Oyster Perpetual. The largest change comes inside the case with Rolex caliber 3230. This automatic movement packs 70 hours of power reserve, a COSC Swiss chronometer certification, and hacking seconds for precise setting. Rolex equips each of these movements with a Breguet overcoil hairspring made of an antimagnetic "Parachrom Blue" alloy. Once cased and full assembled, the Oyster Perpetual undergoes a final evaluation to ensure that it deviates no more than +/- 2 seconds per 24 hours. An Oyster case with Twinlock crown ensures 100-meter water resistance.
For the first time, the 2021 Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection includes the 5mm Easylink tool-free clasp sizing system.
Relevant watch references include Omega Seamaster 18.104.22.168.01.001, 22.214.171.124.01.001, 126.96.36.199.01.001, 188.8.131.52.01.001, 184.108.40.206.10.001, 220.127.116.11.10.001, 18.104.22.168.03.001, 22.214.171.124.04.001, 126.96.36.199.04.001, 188.8.131.52.03.001, Patek Philippe 5172G-001 Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin references 4500V/110A-B483, 4500V/110R-B705 , 4500V/110A-B128, 4500V/110A-B126, Grand Seiko Credor GBLT999, GBLT998, GBLT997
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