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The Evolution of the Ladies’ Oyster Perpetual
The ladies’ Oyster Perpetual joined the men’s collection in the mid-1960s. Over the following decades, Rolex added many different versions to the collection to make the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual one of the brand’s most diverse models. Perhaps not as famous as her big sister, the Datejust, the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual is nonetheless a classic Rolex women’s dress watch that offers plenty of design variety. While today the Oyster Perpetual is only available in stainless steel, the older ladies’ Oyster Perpetual assortment is a different story. Let’s have a closer look at both discontinued and contemporary ladies’ Oyster Perpetual watches to examine the collection’s evolution.
The Ladies’ Oyster Perpetual Watches of Yesteryear
Similar to the men’s models, the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual watch has always been a no-date Rolex model powered by an automatic movement. The use of an in-house automatic movement is noteworthy since so many women’s luxury watches from other brands use quartz movements. But thankfully, that’s not the Rolex way!
Depending on the year, ladies’ Oyster Perpetual watches sport cases anywhere from 24mm to 26mm. There’s a wide choice of materials from steel to gold shell to solid gold to two-tone gold and steel. Furthermore, bezel choices include fluted and smooth, in addition to plenty of dial designs and colors. Older models of the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual typically come equipped with more neutral shades, such as champagne, white, silver, and black along with index styles that run the gamut from Roman numerals to Explorer-style dials with the 3, 6, and 9 Arabic numerals to simple stick ones. There are even plenty of after-market custom diamond dials if that’s what you fancy.
Bracelets are typical of Rolex women’s dress watches—Oyster and Jubilee. However, I do think that a vintage gold ladies’ Oyster Perpetual looks fantastic on a colorful leather strap—something new paired with sometime old always works.
Today’s Ladies’ Oyster Perpetual
If you look at the current Rolex catalog, you’ll see that the brand has reined in the assortment of the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual collection. First and foremost, all contemporary women’s Oyster Perpetual watches are exclusively available in stainless steel. Moreover, they only come with an Oyster bracelet and an Oyster case in either 26mm or 31mm sizes. However, the dial choices are bright and varied ranging from red grape to olive green to vibrant blue and plenty in between. There’s even the option between Roman numerals, 3/6/9 Explorer-style numerals, and baton indexes.
Both sizes of the modern ladies’ Oyster Perpetual models run on the in-house Rolex Caliber 2231 self-winding movement with about two days of power reserve.
To sum up, if you’re looking for more variety on a classic Rolex women’s dress watch then it’s got to be older discontinued models of the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual watches. If however, you’re searching for a younger and fresher approach, then the contemporary Oyster Perpetual for women may be just what you’re looking for. Whether older or younger, classic or colorful, smaller or larger, the ladies’ Oyster Perpetual collection is one not to overlook.