The Rolex Perpetual 1908

The Rolex Perpetual 1908

Cutting Edge Classicism

In a notable departure from its accustomed array of sports watches, Rolex took center stage with an unexpected debut this year – the Perpetual 1908. This entirely new formal collection pays homage to the year Hans Wilsdorf coined the name “Rolex” to grace his creations, marking a pivotal moment in the brand's history with its official registration in Switzerland.

Premiering at the 2023 Geneva Watch Fair, the surprise announcement captured the attention of devoted crown enthusiasts and discerning voices across social media. Different than other noteable Rolex collections like the Datejust and Day-Date, the 1908 steps into the limelight adorned with a precious metal case and fashionable alligator leather strap.

Elegant, classic and decidedly contemporary, the Perpetual 1908 immortalizes Rolex’s age-long daring spirit. Heir to the brand’s aesthetic heritage as much as to its numerous innovations in watchmaking, the watch marks a new milestone in the brand’s pursuit of excellence. This fine example of Rolex’s watchmaking prowess, with Superlative Chronometer certification, brings classicism to the future.

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Since the brand’s creation in 1908, Rolex has pursued the fundamental conviction of its founder, Hans Wilsdorf, for whom the future of the wristwatch was inseparable from superlative performance. The 1908 combines all the essential attributes of a self-winding wristwatch according to him: chronometric precision, waterproofness, autonomy, comfort and durability.

Classic style, perpetually reinvented

While Hans Wilsdorf’s revolutionary innovations concerned the technical features of the wristwatch, they were also the fruit of an extremely strong aesthetic vision. The silhouette of the case in 18 ct yellow or white gold, as well as the design of the 1908’s dial, reinvent the classic – yet very modern – spirit of the original Oyster Perpetual watches. An aesthetic signature, its finely domed and fluted bezel is testimony to a quest for delicacy in all of its forms.

A sleek design linking the past to the present

With its 3, 9 and 12 Arabic numerals and its small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, the 1908 watch revisits the style of an Oyster Perpetual from 1931 and resolutely endows it with modernity. The dial is a model of elegance and sophistication: faceted hour markers and numerals in 18 ct gold against an intense white or intense black dial. Protected by a domed sapphire crystal, it features a delicate ‘railway’ minute track around the circumference. The 1908 is equipped with hands of distinctive styles: the minute hand is shaped like a two-edged sword, while a hand with a pierced circle marks the hours.

A transparent case back for an exciting reveal

By offering a watch that reveals its movement through a transparent case back, Rolex continues to innovate whilst echoing its watchmaking tradition. Calibre 7140 bears a cut-out oscillating weight in 18 ct yellow gold with three arms, engraved with the words ‘Chronometer Perpetual’ and benefiting from an optimized ball bearing. The movement boasts some remarkable finishes including the exclusive Rolex Côtes de Genève – a celebrated traditional watch decoration, reinterpreted with a polished groove between each band. The window, made of virtually scratchproof sapphire, provides proof that, for Rolex, the aesthetics of the movement are as important as its performance.

Calibre 7140: performance and elegance

To power the 1908, Rolex’s watchmaking engineers have developed calibre 7140, a completely new self-winding movement that allows the time to be displayed via two central hands and a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. Five patents have been filed for this movement, which has been entirely developed and manufactured in-house. Its cutting-edge design incorporates some major innovations from the Manufacture to guarantee exceptional performance, including the Syloxi hairspring in silicon, Chronergy escapement in a nickel-phosphorus alloy – both of which are resistant to strong magnetic fields – and Paraflex shock absorbers, which protect the oscillator and escape wheel from any shocks to the watch.

The 1908 pursues a distinctive contemporary elegance, drawing inspiration from Rolex's history while aiming for authenticity and more modern dress-watch acclaim. With its Superlative Chronometer certification, the 1908 embodies a blend of chronometric precision, waterproof excellence, comfort, and durability. It's not simply a derivative concept; it's a confident reimagining of how the Rolex dress watch is evolving.

In the perpetual pursuit of excellence, the Rolex 1908 emerges as an exquisite blend of design and innovation. More than just a watch, it is a testament to Rolex's commitment to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking. The transparent caseback invites us into the heart of Calibre 7140, reminding us that Rolex's allure isn't merely about keeping time; it's about artistry and precision of performance. The Perpetual 1908 is an ideal homage to the past, a celebration of the present, and a bold step into the future.

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