Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date: A True Classic
At 34 mm, the Oyster Perpetual Date is the ideal size for both men and women. This watch with a date display and Cyclops lens combines a sporty-elegant design with the finest craftsmanship, making it the perfect gift for any young adult.
Sporty and Elegant With a Magnified Date
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date adds a practical date display at 3 o'clock to the popular three-hand Rolex Oyster Perpetual. A so-called "Cyclops lens" on the sapphire crystal above the date helps make it easier to read. This lens is a common feature of other Rolex models, including the Submariner Date and Datejust.
Unlike those two models, the Oyster Perpetual Date is a modest 34 mm in diameter, making it a suitable companion for men and women alike. It's also the perfect gift to celebrate the transition into adulthood. The reserved yet sporty-elegant design of this luxury watch makes it appropriate for both formal occasions and everyday life.
The Datejust is only slightly larger at 36 mm. If you prefer heftier watches, you should take a closer look at the Datejust II or Datejust 41. Both models are 41 mm in diameter and feature three hands and a magnified date display. Thanks to the caliber 3235, the Datejust 41 has a 70-hour power reserve, surpassing that of its sister model by a good 22 hours. Those who can do without a date display will enjoy the Oyster Perpetual 39. The dial of this 39-mm watch feels even tidier and is easy to read.
5 Reasons to Buy a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date
- Practical date display at 3 o'clock
- Cyclops lens with 2.5x magnification over the date
- Precise, COSC-certified chronometer
- Maximum deviation of +/- 2 second per day; 48-hour power reserve
- Moderate case size for all wrist sizes
Prices at a Glance: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Case Material/Bezel|
|115234||8,300 USD||Stainless steel and white gold; fluted|
|115200||6,600 USD||Stainless steel; polished|
|15038||5,900 USD||Yellow gold; fluted|
|15053||4,300 USD||Stainless steel and yellow gold; fluted|
|15000||3,800 USD||Stainless steel; polished|
|15010||3,700 USD||Stainless steel; engine-turned|
|6535||3,700 USD||Stainless steel; polished|
|1500||3,300 USD||Stainless steel; polished|
How much does an Oyster Perpetual Date cost?
A stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date ref. 115200 costs about 6,600 USD new and 5,100 USD pre-owned. It has an official list price of 6,500 USD, making it one of Rolex's most affordable models. This Oyster Perpetual Date has performed well in recent years, and its current market value is just over the recommended retail price. Back in mid-2018, a mint-condition ref. 115200 demanded around 5,900 USD.
Rolesor editions of the Oyster Perpetual Date have performed similarly well. These watches combine stainless steel with white gold elements, including the fluted bezel. There are also more exclusive models with five diamond indices on their dials at 1, 5, 7, 9, and 11 o'clock. You can purchase a diamond-studded version of the ref. 115234 for about 8,700 USD new. Pre-owned pieces change hands for just over 7,100 USD. As of 2020, this watch had a list price of 8,550 USD.
Prices for Vintage Oyster Perpetual Date Watches
The Oyster Perpetual Date has been a staple in the Rolex catalog since the 1950s. Thus, there is a wide variety of vintage watches available. Two of the earliest models bear the reference numbers 6534 and 6535. The former has a polished bezel and sells for about 3,700 USD. On the other hand, the 6535 has a "engine-turned" bezel, meaning it has slightly raised hour markers with fine fluting in between. Plan to spend anywhere from 2,900 to 5,400 USD on this timepiece. Gold watches from this era are extremely rare and cost about 7,100 USD, depending on the watch's condition. You can find these models under the reference number 6537.
Rolex made a few updates to the Oyster Perpetual Date in the 1960s. The first took place inside the case with the introduction of the caliber 1575. This movement ticks at a higher rate of 19,800 vibrations per hour (vph). The manufacturer also replaced the highly radioactive radium used to illuminate the dial with tritium, a less radioactive material. Rolex offered these watches in several designs, from stainless steel models to two-tone and solid gold editions. The ref. 1507 belongs to the group of gold watches and requires an investment of about 5,700 USD in good condition. Stainless steel models like the ref. 1500 are much more affordable at around 3,300 USD.
In the 1980s, the Oyster Perpetual received yet another new movement – namely, the caliber 3035 with a quick-set date function. This mechanism enables you to set the date independent of the time. Watches from this era come in a similarly large selection of designs. The stainless steel ref. 15000 with a polished bezel costs roughly 3,800 USD used. Models with "engine-turned" dials fall into a similar price range. There are also two-tone editions in stainless steel and yellow gold available. They have the reference number 15053 and demand around 4,300 USD. Finally, solid gold timepieces are the most expensive and sell for about 5,900 USD.
Alternatives With or Without a Date
Some men may find the 34-mm case of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date a bit too small for modern trends. Many watch fans also consider the Datejust 36 too delicate. Since these smaller watches are in lower demand, you can often get them at relatively affordable prices. For example, a mint-condition Datejust 36 in stainless steel with the reference number 116200 only costs 7,200 USD. Prices for pre-owned pieces come in at around 6,000 USD.
You can purchase a 41-mm, stainless steel Rolex Datejust II with the reference number 116300 for about 8,700 USD. Pre-owned timepieces cost a few hundred dollars less. Mint-condition Datejust II watches are getting harder to find since Rolex retired this model and replaced it with the Datejust 41 in 2016. This move may drive up the price of Datejust II models going forward.
Its successor has a significantly improved power reserve of 70 hours and a flatter case. The stainless steel version bears the reference number 126300 and costs 9,100 USD new and 8,700 USD pre-owned.
An alternative without a date display is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 ref. 114300. It is almost identical to its sister model with a date display except for its 39-mm case. Prices for a never-worn Oyster Perpetual 39 sit around 6,800 USD, while used watches demand 5,700 USD.
Water Resistant to 100 m
Rolex primarily crafts newer Oyster Perpetual Date models out of stainless steel. More specifically, they use type 904L stainless steel, which is particularly scratch and corrosion-resistant. In some versions, Rolex combines steel with 18-karat white gold. The company refers to this pairing as Rolesor.
The watch features a screw-down case back and has a double-gasket Twinlock crown attached to its case. Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protects the dial. The final timepiece is water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft), meaning it can stay on your wrist while swimming or snorkeling.
Diamond Hour Indices
The use of white gold or gemstones on certain versions of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date raises their value. Watches with the reference number 115234 feature five diamond indices for the odd hours, while Arabic numerals mark the even hours.
The dial is the defining feature of the Oyster Perpetual Date. It's available in rose, silver, dark blue, or black. The hour indices are narrow white gold bars. Rolex chose this material to prevent tarnishing.
The In-House Caliber 3135
The caliber 3135 powers current Oyster Perpetual Date models, in addition to larger diving watches such as the Submariner, Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000, and Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea. Its perpetual rotor automatically winds the movement using the wearer's natural arm motion. The movement has a power reserve of 48 hours and ticks at 28,800 vph. It deviates from the reference time by a maximum of +/- 2 seconds a day, which is more precise than the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute's (COSC) standards.
The History of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual
As a member of the Oyster Perpetual family, the model with a date display follows a tradition stretching back to the 1920s. During that decade, Rolex first introduced the Oyster case and with it, the first water-resistant wristwatch. As an advertising tactic, Rolex acquired small aquariums for their display windows so that they could display the Oyster watch alongside live goldfish, who gazed at the timepieces with just as much disbelief as the passers-by. In the fall of 1927, swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wore an Oyster Perpetual during her attempt to swim across the English Channel. Unfortunately, she gave up after about eight hours due to the freezing water, but the watch passed the test.
The perpetual rotor made its debut in 1931 and still appears in automatic movements to this day – and not just Rolex calibers. The flexibly-mounted rotor primarily consists of a metal weight. As you swing your arm naturally throughout the day, the rotor oscillates, thereby winding the watch slightly with every swing. A slipping clutch prevents the mainspring from overwinding and, thus, helps prevent damage.
Rolex released the 34-mm Oyster Perpetual Date in the 1950s. It fell between the 34-mm Air-King and 36-mm Datejust in the company's portfolio. Unlike the Air-King, the Oyster Perpetual Date has a date display.