At Baselworld 2018, Rolex revealed two new dial colors for its entry-level men’s watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 reference 114300. White and black dials were added to the four existing Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 watch dials introduced in 2015 when the reference 114300 Rolex Oyster Perpetual was first introduced. Rolex first introduced the 114300 with dial hues of purple, olive, blue, and gray a few years ago. For 2018, the Oyster Perpetual 39 has a more conservative and probably more adaptable black or white dial option. This is great news for people who want to buy a brand new Rolex but don’t like one of the original four colors.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39, measuring 39mm wide, is the largest of the Oyster Perpetual models, which also come in lower sizes. The 39mm diameter works well as a casual or dress watch, but if you want to go bigger, a Rolex Air-King is a few hundred dollars extra. The Rolex Explorer 214270, which shares the same 39mm wide case and movement as the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39, is the most serious contender in Rolex’s collection. With its baton hour markers and straight hands, the Oyster Perpetual 39 dial is a little more beautiful, not as sporty, and I believe it appeals to a slightly different audience.
Rolex is branding the 904L steel alloy they employ as “Oystersteel” starting watch 2018. When you see that word, it simply means 904L, but it refers to Rolex’s specific blend of it. Rolex wants to make sure that its more expensive steel watches, which can cost hundreds of dollars more than the Oyster Perpetual 39, have more complicated case finishing. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 comprises a brushed case and bracelet with a smooth, polished bezel and polished sides (case and bracelet). This gives the watch a more youthful, technical vibe. While the quality is unmistakably Rolex, the case is about as plain as the Swiss brand can get away with in comparison to other, more expensive clocks. The Oyster Perpetual, for example, has an engraved Rolex logo on the bracelet deployant, rather than a welded (attached) Rolex logo.
The automatic Rolex Calibre 3132 time-only (no date) movement is found in both the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 and Explorer. The Air-King still uses the earlier Calibre 3131, which has been upgraded to the Calibre 3132, which has a few more performance capabilities. The movement has a power reserve of around two days (48 hours) when operating at 4Hz. The 3132’s movement is COSC Chronometer-certified, and while not being one of Rolex’s finer 32XX in-house movements, it offers a claimed accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day. The Oyster Perpetual 39 dial is flawlessly symmetrical and classically attractive as a time-only watch. Many Rolex brand traditionalists will appreciate features like the Rolex crown emblem functioning as the 12 o’clock hour marker, which appeals to those who prefer a basic daily wear that is also a conspicuous Rolex status symbol.
The 114300 casing is water-resistant to 100 meters, features a screw-down crown, and is protected by a sapphire crystal as an Oyster collection watch. The Oyster Perpetual 39 has suddenly gained a lot of appeal for Rolex brand traditionalists who don’t look to the brand for current hues but rather timeless, conservative appeal in a way that a “red grape” (purple) dial can’t deliver. I believe it’s great that Rolex is making the Oyster Perpetual 39 a more trendy timepiece, but I think the white or black dials will appeal to most male purchasers more than the other dial colors.
With that stated, usually white or black watch dials are more broadly appealing, and it was a good decision for Rolex to release the 114300 Oyster Perpetual 39 in both black and white dial variations. These changes also make the line more accessible to men who want to wear the Oyster Perpetual 39 as a sport watch.