The Rolex oyster perpetual series, which has been in production for the longest time in the brand’s history, stands perfectly among the Classic Collection.
It sits among the Datejust and Day-Date as a sort of hybrid; it’s not one of the all-conquering tool watches, but it’s also not a full-on dress watch like the Cellini.
Although the contemporary Oyster Perpetual is considered the entry-level watch in Rolex’s range, it is without a doubt the most important collection of watches the firm has ever created. Since the 1930s, they have been the basis for building the remainder of their production.
The waterproof Rolex oyster perpetual casing and the self-winding Timeless movement were two significant breakthroughs for Rolex’s formative years. They worked together to change the perception of the wristwatch from a delicate ornament for women to a difficult and essential part of every man’s clothing.
The first models, introduced in 1933, were known as the Bubblebacks since the casings had a highly convex bottom to accommodate the inadequate early calibers. Refinements were produced fast, and the watches’ and the manufacturer’s reputations increased gradually year after year. They quickly became the preferred option of some of history’s most daring explorers, with Sir Malcolm Campbell and pilot Chuck Yeager relying on almost nothing as they set speed records on land and even in the air.
Oyster Perpetuals accompanied Hillary and Tenzing as they conquered Everest, prompting Rolex to produce the Oyster Perpetual Explorer as a commemorative timepiece. That was the beginning of the brand’s innovations being divided into the several groups we know today to appeal to various jobs and pleasures. The Submariner is the Oyster Perpetual Submariner, while the GMT-Master is the Rolex oyster perpetual GMT-Master, and so on. The basic design of virtually everything Rolex creates is a water-resistant casing and an automated mechanism.
But there has always been the basic Rolex oyster perpetual—a defiantly plain, minimalistic three-handed everyman of a timepiece, the appropriate model for almost any occasion.
A group of calibers in 1959, 100X series was born, and it would last until the late 1980s. Like its Classic Collection counterparts, the series offers a variety of cosmetic alternatives to appeal to a wide spectrum of tastes, with the ref. 1005 is one of the most popular.