Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date: A True Classic
At 34 mm, the Oyster Perpetual Date is ideal for men and women. This watch with a date display and Cyclops lens combines a sporty-elegant design with the finest craftsmanship, and also makes for a great investment.
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. The Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal above the date makes it easier to read. This lens is a common feature of other Rolex watches, including the Submariner Date and the Datejust.
Unlike those two Rolex models, however, the Oyster Perpetual Date is a modest 34 mm in diameter, making it a suitable companion for men and women alike. The reserved yet sporty-elegant design of this luxury watch makes it the perfect accessory for any occasion.
Each Oyster Perpetual Date model is powered by a chronometer-certified in-house caliber such as the caliber 3135, which is found in newer models. You will also find this movement in earlier references of the Submariner Date, Sea-Dweller, and Yacht-Master.
Like many Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Date has increased in value over the last two years (as of June 2022). Two particularly popular watches are the refs. 1500 and 15000, both of which have appreciated by over 60%. Newer timepieces, such as the ref. 115234, have also performed well and should not be overlooked. Overall, this Rolex collection has experienced value increases of 30–45%.
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
- Moderate case size for all wrist sizes
- Attractive investment piece due to value appreciation
Prices at a Glance: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date
|Reference number||Value appreciation,* price (approx.)||Material, bezel, dial color|
|1500||62%, 6,600 USD||Stainless steel, polished, silver|
|15000||60%, 6,200 USD||Stainless steel, polished, silver|
|6535||45%, 4,600 USD||Stainless steel, polished, black|
|15053||36%, 5,000 USD||Stainless steel and yellow gold, fluted, white|
|115234||31%, 9,800 USD||Stainless steel and white gold, fluted, black|
|115200||30%, 7,100 USD||Stainless steel, polished, silver|
|15038||30%, 6,600 USD||Yellow gold, fluted, gold|
|15010||10%, 4,100 USD||Stainless steel, engine-turned, silver|
|*between June 2020 and June 2022|
How much does an Oyster Perpetual Date cost?
The stainless steel ref. 15010 with a silver dial is the most affordable Oyster Perpetual Date at around 4,200 USD (as of June 2022). The ref. 115200 is another stainless steel model and costs around 7,100 USD new. If you're interested in a more luxurious stainless steel timepiece, check out the ref. 115234; this model has a black, diamond-encrusted dial and demands around 9,900 USD. The yellow gold reference 15038 is less expensive, coming in at around 6,600 USD. Vintage models, such as the ref. 1500, cost about 5,600 USD at the time of writing in June 2022.
About the Oyster Perpetual Date
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 2,500 USD pre-owned. On the other hand, the 6535 has an engine-turned bezel, meaning it has slightly raised hour markers with fine fluting in between. Plan to spend anywhere from 3,000 USD to 4,600 USD on this rare timepiece. Gold watches from this era are particularly hard to find, and cost about 6,600 USD, depending on the watch's condition.
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 is one such gold timepiece; it currently requires an investment of about 6,300 USD in good condition. This model has thus appreciated by around 30% between June 2020 and June 2022.
Stainless steel models like the ref. 1500 are slightly more affordable at around 5,100 USD. Compared to June 2020, the value of this Oyster Perpetual model increased by a remarkable 62%.
In the 1980s, the Oyster Perpetual received yet another new movement: the caliber 3035 with a quickset date function. Watches from this era come in a large selection of designs. The stainless steel ref. 15000 with a polished bezel costs roughly 6,200 USD pre-owned. This model appreciated by 60% between June 2020 and June 2022.
In the last two years, pre-owned models with engine-turned dials, such as the reference 15010, have increased in value by 10% and now cost just over 4,000 USD.
You will find two-tone Oyster Perpetual Date models under the reference number 15053. Expect to pay around 5,100 USD for a stainless steel and gold timepiece. Solid gold watches require an investment of around 6,600 USD.
Water Resistant to 100 m
Rolex primarily crafts newer Oyster Perpetual Date models out of stainless steel. More specifically, 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.
This model 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 Rolex 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, and therefore breezed through the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute's (COSC) tests to receive certification.
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. The model bumps shoulders with the 34-mm Air-King and 36-mm Datejust in the company's portfolio. Unlike the Air-King, the Oyster Perpetual Date has, as its name suggests, a date display.