Review: The Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193
Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual series is the brand’s most pared down range of watches, both technically and stylistically. Three hands to tell the time and nothing else, they are often seen as the entry level offering from the world’s most successful manufacturer.
The name is taken from Rolex’s two groundbreaking innovations from the early 20th century; Oyster is the label given to their famed waterproof housing, and Perpetual describes their self-winding movement. In fact, just about everything the company produces these days, bar the Cellini dress models, is officially an Oyster Perpetual. The Submariner’s full title is really the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner, the Daytona is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona, etc.
But while those pieces and the others in the portfolio are given extra bells and whistles in order to fulfill a certain role, the original OP series is kept as basic as it is possible for a timepiece to be.
While it stands as the longest running collection in the brand’s canon, in more recent times its development has closely mirrored that of another legendary watch, the Datejust—and the two are virtually identical bar the extra complication on the latter.
The ref. 671XX series of the Lady Oyster Perpetual arrived in 1983, taking over from the former four-digit ref. 67XX. As always at Rolex the outward styling was barely touched, with the brand having cemented a catalog-wide design language decades before, and the upgrade was made in order to introduce a new caliber.
It also appeared in the usual broad selection of different combinations of metal, bezel type and dial color that customers had come to expect of the Classic Collection, aimed at appealing to as many varying tastes as possible.
The ref. 67193 is among the most traditional Rolex visuals of any watch, and below we explore the reference in a bit more detail.
Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193 Metal and Bezels
The present-day Oyster Perpetual series is issued in a total of five sizes, topping out at 39mm. At the other end, the 26mm is actually the smallest watch Rolex currently makes and positively minute by modern standards. Going back to the early 80s and the ref. 67193 went smaller with 24mm.
As with all Rolex watches, the reference number gives us the information we need about the watch itself.
671 refers to an Oyster Perpetual with the new Cal. 2130 caliber. The 3 denotes the model has what is known as a Rolesor construction, which features a case forged of stainless steel, but with yellow gold used to form the bezel, winding crown and the center links of its bracelet. And the fifth digit, 9, is used to show that the surround is fluted in design. The most ornate of Rolex’s bezels, the tooth-like facets are a virtual trademark of the brand and catch the light beautifully.
With the OP family being a sort of bridge between sports and dress watch, it was released in a number of different forms as well, each one imparting its own personality.
Other variants with a fluted surround included the ref. 67197 and the ref. 67198, in 14k and 18k yellow gold respectively, and the ref. 67194 in stainless steel with a white gold bezel.
Those with a smooth bezel were the ref. 67180 (in steel) and the ref. 67183 (another yellow Rolesor piece). Quite unusually for Rolex, they also released an 18k yellow gold example with a polished bezel, the ref. 67188. For the vast majority of their watches, the luxury of solid gold is topped exclusively with fluted surrounds.
And one extremely rare addition, the ref. 67190 was cast in white gold and finished with a diamond-set bezel.
Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193 Movements
Although it is the movements driving the men’s collection that garner the headlines, those calibers inside the ladies watches are, if anything, even more impressive.
Held to the same unforgiving standards for accuracy and resilience, they have to do it all in a much more confined space, with an increasingly demanding set of tolerances.
The Cal. 2130 inside the ref. 67193 took over from the former Cal. 2030 and was only the second generation of the 2000 series of movements built specifically for Rolex’s women’s range.
Alongside the Cal. 2130, the company also released the date version for the next iteration of the Datejust, the Cal. 2135, which had one major upgrade in that it introduced the Quickset function. That was the feature that allowed for the date to be set independently of the main hands and brought a welcomed extra level of convenience.
In truth, the difference between the new and old no-date versions inside the Oyster Perpetual were minimal to say the least. Both beating at 28,800vph, it graduated to a full balance bridge rather than a balance cock as before, and a slightly larger balance wheel was fitted. The jewel count increased by one, to 29, but in all other respects it was very much more of the same.
That is not to say it was lacking in any way. The Cal. 2130 and Cal. 2135 still hold the record for the highest first time pass rate of any caliber at the COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. To qualify, the movements have to keep a timekeeping precision of between -4/+6 seconds a day, assessed over 15 days, in a range of temperatures between 46.4°F and 100.4°F, in five different positions.
Any mechanism that succeeds can be considered a superb feat of engineering, but those that manage to pack that sort of performance into a caliber that measures just 20mm in diameter and 5.83mm in height are extraordinary.
Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193 Dials
The characteristic Rolesor look, yellow gold blended with steel, has been a signature visual of Rolex since the 1940s.
It is most traditionally paired with a champagne dial, giving an overall aesthetic of great versatility—both understated enough as an everyday wear while also displaying a hint of extravagance.
The ref. 67193, and the Oyster Perpetual series in general, didn’t have quite the same level of different color options as other classic watches in the portfolio; the Datejust and Day-Date in particular. But the ones it was released with were carefully chosen to provide the perfect counterpoint to its two-tone casing.
So in addition to the gold, black, white, silver and blue were among the most common, each reacting in their own way and appealing to wide-ranging tastes.
However, because of the tiny proportions of the ref. 67193, even the most strikingly decorated pieces are far from overwhelming.
Hour markers are typically plain stick batons or Roman numerals, used as they take up the least room in the restrictive amount of space on offer. Diamond indexes do appear from time to time but, again, these are likely to be modified third party add-ons.
Over the top on all models is a protective sapphire crystal, a much tougher and scratch resistant substitution for the former acrylic.
Rolex Ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193 Bracelets
The ladies Oyster Perpetual ref. 67193 generally comes on one of two metal bracelets. The three-flat link Oyster is Rolex’s most all purpose band, lending any watch a sporty yet still elegant aspect.
The five-link Jubilee was the bracelet created especially for the OP’s closest cousin, the Datejust, in 1945. The intricacy of the construction means it is extremely flexible, molding perfectly to the shape of the wrist and making it particularly comfortable to wear all day.
The central links of both, each crafted in yellow gold, are hollow, while the outer and end links are solid.
The Oyster Perpetual series, in any size, is as humble and modest as Rolex gets, and the ladies models are the epitome of discreet sophistication.
Boasting an aesthetic that always looks the part, and powered by a world-class movement, perhaps the most attractive thing about the ref. 67193 will always be its price.