When Rolex released its Oyster Perpetual 41 watches with dials in vibrant shades of red, yellow, green and turquoise last year, it proved that it had the power to astonish us. The watches were a hit and demand for them continue to be extremely strong. Although this year’s novelties retain the restrained approach that is characteristically Rolex, six new versions of its Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 featuring exclusive palm and fluted motif dials successfully capture that same element of surprise.
On the new Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 with the palm motif, fronds (inspired by tropical forests) are engraved on a sunray-finish dial. The pattern is executed using a femtosecond laser, which directs bursts of ultra-short (billionth of a microsecond) laser pulses onto the dial surface at a rapid repetition rate (of several megahertz). This technology, which produces no heat, etches the surface of the dial very precisely and selectively, to produce patterns only a few tenths of a micrometre (micron) deep.
There are three variants: an olive green dial housed in an Oystersteel case fitted with an Oyster bracelet, a gold dial with yellow Rolesor (combining Oystersteel and yellow gold) on a yellow Rolesor Oyster bracelet, and a silver dial in Everose Rolesor (matching Oystersteel with Everose gold) on an Everose Rolesor Jubilee bracelet.
The same high-tech femtosecond laser process was also used on the Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 model with fluted motif dial, which sees Rolex’s emblematic fluted bezels mirrored with a geometric fluted pattern right on the dial itself. Introduced originally to ensure a Rolex watch’s waterproofness by having the bezel screwed onto the case, the iconic fluting gradually transformed into an aesthetic feature.
On this new version of the Datejust 36, the engraved fluted motif dial comes in alternating finishes, catching the light at various angles to bring out its unique character. Completing these wonderful offerings are three iterations with a fluted motif on their dials. The first is golden, with a yellow Rolesor case and a Jubilee bracelet. The second is bright blue, with an Oystersteel case and an Oyster bracelet, while the third model is in silver, with an Everose Rolesor case and an Oyster bracelet.
All six timepieces sport the 36mm Oyster case that is waterproof to 100 metres and feature a middle case crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel. They are powered by the self-winding calibre 3235, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, that was developed and manufactured by Rolex in 2015. It features the new Chronergy escapement (combining high-energy efficiency with excellent dependability), an ultra-precise blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.
Although the movements are certified by the COSC, they are later fully assembled and encased before being tested in-house for precision, performance and reliability according to Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer certification, which is symbolised by a green seal. This ensures a rate deviation of -2/+2 seconds per day — significantly smaller than the COSC — and is accompanied by an international five-year warranty.
Like every Rolex Oyster timepiece, the word “Perpetual” is inscribed on the dials — a philosophy that embodies the brand’s vision and values. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf had embraced the notion of perpetual excellence that continues to propel the company forward today. For those who think that Rolex is too self-restrained in terms of creativity, the past year has proven otherwise.
There is no doubt that the Swiss watchmaker with the instantly recognisable crown logo will find new ways to excite us in the months and years to come.