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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Vs Datejust: Which Shines Brighter?

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rolex oyster perpetual vs datejust

The world of luxury watches is vast and fascinating, with numerous iconic brands and models. Among these, Rolex stands tall with its impressive lineup of timepieces. Two popular models often come to mind for those considering investing in a Rolex watch – the Oyster Perpetual and the Datejust. Both have a rich history and unique features that set them apart from other timepieces in the Rolex catalog.

The Oyster Perpetual, known for its understated elegance, features a minimalist design with clean dials and simple hour markers. This model is ideal for those who appreciate a more subtle yet sophisticated timepiece. 

On the other hand, the Datejust adds an extra layer of refinement with its date window located at the 3 o’clock position, accompanied by the iconic Cyclops magnification lens. This feature enhances the watch’s functionality, making it suitable for those seeking style and practicality.

Join us as we discover the ultimate champion in the Oyster Perpetual vs Datejust review below.

Oyster Perpetual Vs Datejust: Comparison Table

Thе tablе below outlinеs thе watchеs’ main features:

AspectOyster PerpetualDatejust
CaseStainless Steel- Grade 904LMore Material Options, Such As Stainless Steel, Everose Gold, Yellow Gold, And White Gold
BezelStainless Steel- Grade 904L, Fixed, Smooth, Well-PolishedSmooth, Gem-Set, or Fluted
StrapOyster, With a Folding Oysterclasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension linkOyster/Jubilee/President, With a Clasp Fitted With a Folding Oysterclasp With Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link (Oyster and Jubilee) And Concealed Folding Crownclasp (President)
DialBlack, Coral Red, Turquoise, Green, Yellow, With Chromalight Lume-Filled Hands And Index Hour MarkersSlate, Pink, Black, Silver, White Mother Of Pearl, Dark Gray, With Dressy Hands And Diamond-Set/ Index/Roman Numeral Hour Markers
MovementThe Latest Automatic Caliber 3230 Movement (36mm and 41mm) and the Automatic Caliber 2232 Movement With 55-Hour Power Reserve (28mm, 31mm, 34mm)Depending On The Case Size; 36mm And 41mm Have The Caliber 3235 Movement With 70-Hour Power Reserve. 28mm And 31mm Have The Caliber 2236 With 55-Hour Power Reserve.
Price PointCheaper On The Private Sales Market, Going For Between S$2,165 and S$13,376Costlier On The Private Sales Market, Going For Between S$4,277 And S$67,244.

Both the Rolex Datejust and Oyster Perpetual are glamorous, with the Oyster Perpetual gracing a beautiful Oystersteel case, a smooth, well-polished bezel, a simple Oystersteel Oyster bracelet, and a high-precision movement.

Its highlight is its dial options- showcasing the Oyster Perpetual’s variety and versatility. The dials have a sunburst finish, Chromalight lume-filled hands, and index hour markers- further cementing the collection’s position among luxury titans in Rolex’s catalog.

As for its price point, it amplifies its availability and affordability, making it a quality entry-level timepiece suitable for Rolex watch fans of all tastes.

Over to the Datejust, it offers a tasty array of choices than the Oyster Perpetual- beautiful cases, flashy bezels, stylish bracelets, and breathtakingly colorful dials which complete the overall design while adding to its aesthetic appeal.

Additionally, it offers several equally accurate, new-generation movements with impressive power reserve levels that match up to the Oyster Perpetual’s.

Finally, it’s more expensive than its rival in the private sales market, with a difference of over S$50,000. It’s a fair price, considering its extravagance and unapologetic confidence.

That’s just the beginning. Let’s have a closer look and see what else these equally capable watches have to offer.

Heritage and Brand

rolex oyster perpetual watch

Oyster Perpetual

Several things have happened before and during the existence of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection. Here’s a timeline of the events:

  • 1926: The Oyster Perpetual first appears when Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf has an inspiration for it when he tries opening an oyster during a dinner party. The mollusk’s ability to remain tightly closed and protect its insides from water contributes to the case design of the first Oyster watch. 
  • 1927: Famous British athlete Mercedes Gleitze proves the Oyster watch’s waterproof capability when she swims with it across the English Channel for 10 whole hours. The timepiece was working perfectly even after the swim.
  • 1931: Rolex goes ahead to create a self-winding caliber. It was later coined the ‘perpetual’ rotor and was used with the Oyster timepiece. The result was an affordable waterproof watch with a self-winding perpetual rotor, aptly named the Oyster Perpetual.

Note: All Rolex watches (except the super stylish, now discontinued Cellini collection, whose watches have a 50m water resistance rating) technically are Oyster Perpetual watches.

They maintain the same design ethos while offering at least 100m water resistance ratings and unique functions depending on their collection and classification- professional or classic.

  • 1950: Rolex presents the Oyster Perpetual collection. It gives Rolex watch fans a cheaper yet equally elegant watch. Its first offering was a 36mm timepiece, followed by alternatives that mainly suited female watch fans: 26mm, 31mm, 34mm.
  • 2015: The 39mm OP timepiece is introduced and boasts several notable characteristics: Grape, gray, and blue colorways, straight hands and baton hour markers, and square indices.
  • 2018: More variants are introduced, with black and white dial alternatives. They maintained the no-frills and quiet design. 
  • 2020: The 39mm OP watches are taken off the catalog. However, they’re still available in pre-owned and secondary markets.
  • 2020: The Oyster Perpetual 41 replaces the Oyster Perpetual 39 and features colorful lacquered dial options, making the Oyster Perpetual watch available to more watch fans. 

Is the Oyster Perpetual basically a trimmed-down Datejust? It depends on your take, but we say it stands for itself with its innovations, milestones, and rich history.

rolex datejust 126333


Meanwhile, thе Datеjust was introduced in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary. 

It was the first self-winding chronometer timepiece (Yellow Gold ref. 4467) to have a date window at 3 o’clock. 

The date automatically changed at midnight and had a Jubilee bracelet since it was released at a jubilee celebration held at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva by Wilsdorf himself.

The Datejust has undergone various improvements over the years:

  • 1953: Rolex brand enhanced its trademark date feature by placing a Cyclops lens above it on the crystal. This gave the Datejust a nice casual touch while maintaining the collection’s original elegance.
  • 1957: Several significant events happen at this time: Rolex introduces a women’s version of the collection, the Lady Datejust. It offers the same charm and luxury but in smaller cases with various dial and bezel options that appeal to most modern (female) watch aficionados. Also, the date complication became instant.
  • 1960s: Another women’s Datejust- the Midsize Datejust- was introduced. It had a 31mm case size.
  • 1977: Rolex presented a Datejust with a quartz movement; the Oysterquartz Datejust
  • 2009: Rolex also did a seemingly delayed tweak to the collection. It introduced the Datejust II, which combined the collection’s classic appeal with a sturdier, modern, sportier 41mm case (a rise from 36mm), thicker fluted bezel, and enough dial real estate to flash the Cyclops lens and ‘Oyster Perpetual’ font below 12 o’clock.
  • 2015: The Lady Datejust gets a slight case lift from 26mm to 28mm.
  • 2016: The Datejust II is discontinued, paving the way for the Datejust 41 collection. The Datejust 41 maintains the large case but trims down the lugs, case profile, and bracelet to give it a more luxurious look and feel.

Design and Aesthetics

Here’s one of the areas in which the two watches differ most.

The Oyster Perpetual is an entry-level Rolex, and this is evident even in its minimal design and simple aesthetics. The current piece has several design and aesthetic elements that give it its exclusivity:

  • Oyster bracelet: It’s a rugged, three-link bracelet that Rolex uses for mostly professional watches. It has a brushed surface that complements the watch case, adding a touch of finesse.
  • Smooth bezel: Made of Oystersteel and polished, the smooth bezel contrasts the brushed case and bracelet while stressing the watch’s simplicity.
  • Time-Only Dial: It might be quiet and plain, but it spices things up with colorful (lacquered or sunburst) choices with Chromalight lume-filled hands and index hour markers.
  • Oyster case: Its indestructible, brushed surface ensures the Oyster Perpetual receives Rolex’s quality treatment despite its humble status.
rolex oyster perpetual datejust watch

Meanwhile, the Datejust presents a more refined, versatile look that pairs well with various attirе. It has several trademark features:

  • Date complication: It appears on the watch’s 3 o’clock position. The date function stands out for its dark numbers against a white background.
  • Cyclops lens: It was introduced to magnify the date window and is on the watch’s scratch-resistant sapphire crystal above the dial.
  • Dial choices: It offers various dial colors, such as slate, pink, black, silver, white Mother of Pearl, and dark gray. Each has a sunburst finish for a mesmerizing effect when light bounces off its surface. They also have dressy hands and diamond-set/ index/Roman numeral hour markers.
  • Several bracelet options: It also offers thе Oystеr bracеlеt option but providеs an additional choice of thе dressy Jubilee and President bracelets.
  • More bezel alternatives: It also has a smooth bezel that emphasizes its versatility and cleverly diverts attention to the beautiful dial and polished case. Additionally, it boasts gem-set and fluted bezels that elevate the watch’s value while delivering on the beauty factor.

Materials (case, bezel, strap)

Both watches use top-quality materials, with the Oyster Perpetual taking the more reserved yet luxurious route.

Its case, bezel, and strap are all crafted from Oystersteel. Oystersteel is a unique type of stainless steel alloy that Rolex crafted. 

It’s highly corrosion-resistant, containing more chromium, molybdenum, nickel, and copper than standard stainless steel. This enhances its robustness and resistance to corrosion in harsh environments while giving it a unique shine.

The Oyster Perpetual’s case and bracelet are brushed, while its bezel is smooth and polished. The current lineup is available in five case alternatives:

  • 28mm
  • 31mm
  • 34mm
  • 36mm
  • 41mm

As we saw earlier, current Oyster Perpetuals have Oyster bracelets that are joined around the wearer’s wrist by a Folding Oysterclasp with an Easylink 5mm comfort extension link.

The smooth bezel Datejust is louder and more expressive, employing some of Rolex’s best materials. For instance, it uses several other precious metals for its case aside from Oystersteel:

  • Yellow Rolesor
  • Everose Gold
  • Everose Rolesor
  • White Rolesor
  • White Gold
  • Yellow Gold

However, it offers fewer case size options than its opponent: 28mm, 31mm, 36mm, and 41mm.

The magic continues in the bezel, with current Datejust models having smooth, fluted, or gem-set bezels. They’re all fixed, and the smooth option is domed while the fluted choice appears mostly on two-tone models and the gem-set marvel graces most Lady Datejust and Midsize Datejust watches.

rolex bracelets

An interesting point to focus on is bracelet options. The Datejust is the only Rolex collection in the brand’s catalog with many choices. It offers three bracelet options for its watches: (please note that Rolex doesn’t just throw bracelets around. Each band is carefully paired with a Datejust for a balanced effect)

  • Oyster bracelet: First designed by renowned bracelet supplier Gay Freres and patented in 1947, it’s among Rolex’s most common bands and is used exclusively in collections such as the Submariner and Explorer. It has a clasp fitted with a folding oysterclasp with an Easylink 5mm comfort extension link. 
  • Jubilee bracelet: First presented to the watch world in 1945, it has a slightly more sophisticated five-piece, semi-circular link design. It also has brushеd outеr links and polished center links. Thе cеntеr links are smaller and more intricate. Aside from the Datejust, it’s also offered on the GMT-Master II line of timepieces. It also has a clasp fitted with a folding oysterclasp with an Easylink 5mm comfort extension link.
  • President bracelet: Initially created specifically for the Day-Date in 1956, it’s also used for precious metal versions of the Datejust. It got its name from the fact that authoritative figures- especially presidents- wore the Day-Date upon its release. It has a three-piece semi-circular link design and a concealed folding crownclasp.

Movement and Precision

rolex caliber movements

The Oyster Perpetual and Datejust watches house different, yet precise, movements, depending on the size. 

Smaller Oyster Perpetual 28mm,31mm, and 34mm pieces are powered by the Caliber 2232 movement with 31 jewels, a 55-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency. The larger 36mm and 41mm watches have a self-winding, new-generation Caliber 3230 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency.

As for the Rolex Datejust, its 28mm and 31mm sizes have a Caliber 2236 movement with 31 jewels, a 55-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency. It also has a Syloxi hairspring and +2/-2 seconds per day accuracy.

The 36mm and 41mm models have a new generation Caliber 3235 movement with 31 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve (approximately), and a 28,800vph frequency. This automatic movement also has Rolex’s proprietary Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hairspring, and a +2/-2 seconds per day precision.

The movements of both watches are COSC-certified, meaning they can tell accurate time for years. Moreover, they’ve passed Rolex’s most rigorous accuracy processes to ensure they’re up-to-date and work as they should. The fact that they’re new-generation mechanisms adds to their trustworthiness.

Price Range

The Oyster Perpetual and Datejust models differ in price points.

The Oyster Perpetual’s prices range from S$6,706 to S$10,729, depending on the model and features. WatchCharts also reveals that it’s more on the private sales market, going for between S$2,165 and S$13,376.

As for the Datejust, it has a higher retail price, typically starting from around S$9,388 and going for upwards of S$40,233 for customized or gem-set pieces. According to WatchCharts, it’s also in higher demand in the private sales market, having prices of between S$4,277 And S$67,244.

The high price difference is credited to the Datejust’s beautiful options and inclusion of precious metals and bracelets such as the President and Jubilee in its lineup. Moreover, it has more potential to increase in value on the pre-owned and secondary markets if sold in good condition and comes with its original paperwork.

Before buying either of the watches, there are several factors you should consider:

  • Your budget: How much do you have set aside? Whichever the amount, the Oyster Perpetual is a better option if you seek a more modest yet luxurious watch. On the other hand, a Datejust is an ideal choice if you have more to spend.
  • Your taste: If you’re more reserved but have a preference for the best, the Oyster Perpetual Rolex model matches your personality with its simple design and colorful time-only dial options for some Rolex charm. The Datejust model works best if you want a timepiece you can flaunt. The best part is it’s more comfortable in any environment and has extra features.
  • Authenticity: Whether you’re looking to capitalize on your investment or you’re buying the watches for your collection, original pieces always ensure you get the best from your purchase. We’re talking years of quality service, elegance, and functionality. As such, ensure you buy your timepiece from a reputable dealer like Watch Exchange.

Investment Potential

The good news is both watches are Rolex creations. Therefore, they retain their value incredibly well.

However, while both Rolex models are well-crafted and offer long-term value, the Datejust has a more established history and greater variety in design, which may lead to increased collectability and investment potential. 

With its subtle elegance and timeless design, the Oyster Perpetual may appeal to a broader audience but may not hold the same investment potential as the more iconic Datejust. According to TimeRating, it takes longer to appreciate in value on the pre-owned market.

Pro Tip: Always research and familiarize yourself with market trends so you never get the short end of the horological stick.

Final Word

The shinier watch comes down to personal preference and style. The Oyster Perpetual may be suitable if you appreciate a minimalist design, while the Datejust is a good choice if you want more sophistication and extra features. Consider the tips above and you’ll find the one that meets your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Oyster Perpetual offers a more understated, minimalist design, with clean dials and simple hour markers. On the other hand, the Datejust adds an extra touch of sophistication with a date window at the 3 o’clock position and the iconic Cyclops magnification lens.
  • Both watches retain their value well. However, the Rolex Datejust has a better investment potential because of its greater variety in design and more established history.
  • Some of the main things to consider to get the best out of your purchase are a watch’s authenticity, your personal preference, and your budget.

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