With the Rolex Pepsi GMT Master II Jubilee stealing all the spotlight at Baselworld 2018, it was easy to miss this stealthy, under-the-radar piece. First launched in 2016 with funky colours, Rolex goes back to its roots this year with the all-new Oyster Perpetual 39 ref. 114300 in Black and White dial. This may just be one of the best watches by Rolex in recent years.
Of the two, the White dial version stands out well. Ever since Rolex updated the Explorer to a case size of 39mm (ref. 214270), many watch enthusiasts have been yearning for an Explorer in White dial. The Explorer’s heritage is based off the Everest expedition where Sir Edmund Hillary wore an Oyster Perpetual. And you guessed it right, a White dial Oyster Perpetual.
I was absolutely excited about the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 in White because it shares some features with the Explorer. First, they share the same Rolex calibre 3132. It’s based on the brand’s 31xx no-date automatic movement that’s used by the Submariner (ref. 114060) and Milgauss (ref. 116400). The calibre 3132 features a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers for enhanced resistance against shocks. Like any Rolex movement, it is of the highest standards. After wearing for a week straight, it averages out about +2 seconds per day.
The dial is extremely clean. It reflects light in a unique way too. Under harsh sunlight, it appears pure white with a matte texture that gleans brightly. Under dim conditions, it looks a bit silvery with a tinge of white and grey. Text are minimal on the dial with the applied Rolex crown logo in white gold. All hands and indices are made of white gold too. They have been applied with just enough luminous for low light visibility. The best thing about this watch is the straight hands as I’m not a big fan of the Mercedes hands.
It shares the same case as the other Rolex watches in 39mm – polished on the sides and brushed on the top. For a more elegant look, the bezel is polished and rounder in profile compared to the Explorer’s. Coming in the standard oyster bracelet, the Oyster Perpetual 39 is more sporty than dressy. It is the same like any other bracelet you will find on the Sports models. Heavy yet perfectly crafted to fit snugly on most wrist size without strain or pulling hair.
The crown is also standard, well-proportioned to the case size. It comes with Twinlock feature, just one position for date and screw down to lock. Simple but effective. Some would have preferred a double locking clasp, but the standard Gents model Rolex clasp works just fine. For the Oyster Perpetual 39, the Rolex logo on the clasp is engraved instead of embossed. Functionally, there’s no compromise. It’s 100% perfection like any other Rolex even at a much lower price point.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 is a refreshing watch that traces back to Rolex’s brand heritage. I’m personally not a fan of modern Rolex Sports model. Their block-ish case shape just doesn’t work for me and I certainly have zero interest in flashy pieces like the Datejust 41 (terrible size IMO). This watch is definitely not an entry-level watch. For goodness sake, it’s a Rolex! How can it be “entry-level”?
It comes at a pocket-friendly price of S$7,640 – more than S$1,000 cheaper than the Explorer – and you might even ask for further discount from your trusted dealer. However, stocks are running low for Rolex these days. If you’re keen and finds one in the boutique, be sure to grab it immediately.