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The History of Rolex Oyster Perpetual

December 10th, 2019

Today, Rolex produces most of its watches using the Oyster case. The exclusive Oyster case represents years of development that began with the introduction of the original Rolex Oyster watch in 1926.


Did you ever wonder what a Rolex Oyster Professional watch is? Surprisingly, many people ideally consider the popular Rolex Oyster Perpetual to be a watch collection. However, it is not entirely wrong. If someone willing to sell his Rolex Oyster Perpetual it could be a great deal in the pre-owned Rolex market.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a watch collection. But it is merely not like any other Rolex watch collection. The fact is that a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch today is the perpetuation of a historical model that was initially intended for professional use.

Rolex produces the Oyster Perpetual models today with more added safety and durability features than the brand’s dressier models.

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What the term ‘Oyster Perpetual’ means?

Let’s divide the term ‘Oyster Perpetual’ into two parts – One is Oyster and other, Perpetual.

In 1926, Rolex developed the first water-resistant wristwatch. Eventually, the word ‘Oyster’ was named after the hermetically sealed oyster case. The case offered optimal protection to the movement, making it water-resistant to nearly 100m.

On the other hand, the word ‘Perpetual’ refers to the movement’s perpetual rotor fitted inside the Oyster case.

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The Oyster Case

The Oyster Case uses the brand’s patent screwing the bezel process, winding crown and case-back. However, the case today is made out of 18ct gold, platinum or 904L steel.

  • The case features friction equipped crystal and bezel and a screw-down fluted case back.
  • Moreover, the Oyster case comes with a Triplock or Twinlock winding crown.

The Oyster cases undergo rigorous testing under various extreme conditions, ensuring high quality. The case became a significant component for the Rolex Submariner, GMT-Master, Air-King, Explorer and many others.

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The Perpetual Rotor

In 1931, Rolex crafted a self-winding movement that could rotate 360-degree naturally with the movement of the user’s wrist. It generated power and a half-moon shaped oscillating weight. However, this self-winding movement is at the heart of all modern automatic Rolex watch.

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Rolex stopped the production of the patented perpetual rotor in 1948. Nonetheless, the movement is indeed a breakthrough in the world of horology.

The Success of the Iconic Oyster Watch

The founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, had a significant innovation in 1927 at hand. And, he required a way to convey it to the public for taping watch buyers. Now:

Mercedes Gleitz professed that she swam the English Channel in 15hours 15minutes. On the other hand, Miss Mona McLennan is said to have made a false claim that she crossed the English Channel within 13hours 10minutes. Now, this provoked a controversy.

People believed that Mercedes Gleitz had also lied like Miss Mona McLennan regarding crossing the English Channel. Consequently, Mercedes again took up the challenge to swim the English Channel.

This time, Wilsdorf persuaded Mercedes to wear the Oyster timepiece while swimming. However, Mercedes Gleitz could not, unfortunately, complete her swim due to bad weather condition. But, people were convinced because of her endurance of cold that her claim was right.


Besides, while the Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch also endured the extreme cold for nearly 10hours, it became overnight celebrity along with Mercedes Gleitz.

A full-page ad was published by Rolex on the Daily Mail’s front page, revealing the success of its waterproof watch.

Want to sell Rolex in London?

Selling a Rolex watch in London should be comfortable and straightforward if you choose any reliable watch dealer. With trustworthy watch buyers like at The Luxury Hut, you are likely to receive the best possible price for your pre-owned Rolex watch.

Moreover, the process of selling will be smooth, secure and convenient. For those who want to sell their Rolex watch in London, or ‘How to sell Rolex online’, begin the process by –

Filling up this online form and receive a free valuation shortly.

Related Links:

A brief history of the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi
The History of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

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