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There’s no doubting the appeal of a robust modern Rolex sports watch, but sometimes we want a timepiece that’s more refined, restrained, and retro. More dapper than daring, the men’s gold shell Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024 fits the bill nicely without breaking the bank. Let’s have a closer look.
Before we dig into the watch, let’s examine what gold shell is. Once dubbed as “Golden Eggs” by the brand, Rolex gold shell watches were constructed using a thick layer of 14k yellow gold bonded onto the stainless steel body.
The gold shell process is different to gold plating because of the thickness of the yellow gold layer. Gold shell Rolex watches are found within the vintage Oyster Perpetual, Date, and Air-King collections. All economical ways to wear a yellow gold Rolex watch.
While there are other men’s gold shell Oyster Perpetual models, the ref. 1024 is the most ubiquitous. Manufactured from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024 was a long-running Rolex model that is no longer in production today.
As many vintage OP models, the ref. 1024 sports a 34mm Oyster case, which may seem small by today’s standards but in fact, it’s perfectly elegant and tucks away nicely under a shirt cuff. In the secondary market they’re often paired with classic leather straps for a tasteful touch and sometimes with a gold shell stainless steel Oyster Rivet bracelet for a dash more flash.
The time-only Rolex Oyster Perpetual No-Date watch offers up a very clean, minimal, and symmetrical dial—ideal for today’s tastes in dress watches. More often than not, on the men’s gold shell Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024 you’ll find a neutral dial color like champagne, white, or black, along with straightforward stick indexes and long and slender center hands.
During its three-decade run, the men’s gold shell Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024 ran on two different movements. Early models came equipped with the Rolex Caliber 1560 automatic mechanical movement beating at a rate of 18,000bph. Rolex then replaced the Caliber 1560 with the Cal. 1570 in later models. Introduced in 1977, the Rolex Caliber 1570 had a higher frequency of 19,800bph and offered the hacking feature. For the uninitiated, the hacking feature halts the seconds hand when the winding crown is pulled for more precise time-setting capabilities.
Both the Cal. 1560 and the Cal 1570 movements are COSC-certified as illustrated by the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” text on the dials of the Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024 watches.
When you’re feeling a Mad Men moment coming on, reach for the skinny tie, pocket square, and the men’s gold shell Oyster Perpetual ref. 1024. You’ll be good as gold.