Rolex's New Oyster Perpetual Is Already Generating Controversy Among Watch Fans

The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 — available in a range of colors — replaces the 39mm version, which was a fan favorite.

rolex oyster perpetual 2020
Rolex

Alongside the bombshell announcement of a larger, 41mm Submariner, Rolex also announced new versions of its entry-level watch. The dressy Oyster Perpetual has a substantially upsized 41mm case size option as well as some vibrant new dials for its smaller siblings — which no longer include the popular 39mm version. You can almost feel the controversy build among Rolex fans.

For objects such as watches, one or two millimeters can make a huge difference — and when these are Rolex watches, the scrutiny is intense. Measurements alone never tell the whole story, however — with proportions being a big factor in a watch's look and fit — and it's always advisable to see a watch in person before making a final judgement. With that said, many consider 39mm a "sweet spot," and especially so for a relatively conservatively styled watch like the Oyster Perpetual.

rolex oyster perpetual
Rolex

The New Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 for 2020

Dropping the 39mm version means there's no Oyster Perpetual option between 36mm, which is about as small a watch as most men these days are comfortable with (Editor's Note: unless you're the GP watch editor), and 41mm — the same diameter as that of the new Submariner. The new 41mm steel case size debuts with several versions, all of which feature matching steel Oyster bracelets: These range from traditional dials with silver and black as well as a range of boldly colorful dials, including bright orange, yellow, red and more. There are seven available in total in this size — however, if you downsize to 36mm ($5,600), there's an additional pink dial available. (Interesting, at 34mm, only four colors are available; at 31mm, there are nine colors; and at 28mm, four colors.)

rolex oyster perpetual 2020
Rolex

The new Oyster Perpetual watches also feature the same 3230 automatic movement that's in the new Sub, a new version of Rolex's existing, state-of-the art movement that forgoes the date. At $5,900 for the 41mm version or $5,600 for the 36mm version, these new Oyster Perpetuals represent the entry point into the Rolex men's catalog.

Rolex doesn't make a change to one of its long-standing lines without careful consideration, so if it's ditching the 39mm OP in favor of a 41mm version, there's likely good market research suggesting that this is what buyers want. But with the watch industry finally edging away from its larger-diameter trajectory in favor of more wearable (read: smaller) wares, there's some question as to whether this change will have any effect on the larger watch diameter landscape. There are more than a few folks out there who were perfectly happy to never see an OP in anything larger than a 39mm case. For them, however, there's always the 36mm — now available in more colors than ever.

rolex oyster perpetual
Rolex

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