An outstanding rare pre-owned 14Kt Yellow Gold and Stainless Steel Rolex Datejust Oyster Perpetual, Reference number 1601, serial number 908,288 circa 1953, with a 14kt gold and stainless steel Jubilee rapid deployment band, 36mm screw down case, 14kt yellow gold fluted bezel, sapphire crystal, Rolex insignia crown, champagne stick dial, gold tone index hands, sweep left seconds, cyclops date window at 3 0'clock, comes with the Rolex presentation box, good running condition and would make an outstanding gift or addition to any fine collection.
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Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Timeless timepiece? The Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch is exactly that. This masterpiece of horological engineering has become the world's most sought after wrist watch. Introduced in 1926, the Rolex Oyster was the first airtight, dustproof, and waterproof watch. The Perpetual Rotor, a self winding mechanism, followed soon after, in 1931. Since then the-Oyster Perpetual has survived all conditions from 35,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean to a 500-degree oven to the summit of Mount Everest to outer space, without losing a single beat.
Rolex Oyster - the pedigree
Hans Wilsdorf's preoccupation with excellence is marked by a number of 'firsts' which came to set the-Oyster Perpetual apart from the rest, and define to the watch as a classic. In 1910 Wilsdorf & Davis obtained from the School of Horology in Switzerland the first official chronometer certification awarded to the movement of a wrist watch, but whilst this was a measure of accurate timekeeping the question over reliability remained in Wilsdorf's mind. Dust and moisture could still find their way into the movement, with a consequent effect on performance. So he developed a case and special winder to produce the first-ever waterproof watch. Jewelers began to display Rolex watches submerged in fish tanks.
Shortly after, in 1914, a Class A precision certificate was awarded to a Rolex wrist watch by the renowned Kew Observatory in England, a standard previously achieved only by marine chronometers. By now the wrist watch - the Rolex in particular - was replacing the traditional pocket watch for men and with the arrival of the war was especially popular in the armed forces.
Rolex continued to develop the water resistance of their watch case but the winder remained a problem, until the company bought the rights to a patent for a screw-down winder originally proposed by another Swiss watchmaker, Perret & Perregaux. This led to the introduction of the new 'Oyster' in 1926, with a fully-waterproof case and a double-locking winder. The Rolex Oyster was endorsed very publicly the following year with a celebrated cross-channel swim by Mercedes Gleitze (inset) wearing one on her wrist.
The Perpetual self-winding movement
One niggling imperfection of the-Oyster was that the winder had to be unscrewed to wind the watch. If the owner forgot to screw it back in tightly, or as the threads or waterproof seals wore out over time, the watch was no longer fully waterproof. This was solved by Rolex in 1931, with the introduction of the Perpetual self-winding movement. A self-winding watch contains an internal rotor - a semi-circular metal plate which rotates back and forth with any movement of the wrist, rewinding the mainspring that powers the watch. The concept had first been introduced in 1770 by the Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet. Emile Borer, head of re and development at Rolex, perfected the mechanism. Now, the external winding knob (the crown) was needed only for occasional time adjustments and the watch's waterproofing system became more reliable (and cheaper). Thus, in the space of less than 30 years, the company founded by Wilsdorf (inset) had introduced the first certified chronometer wrist watch, the first waterproof watch case, and the first self-winding wrist watch. There was more to come. In 1945 Rolex invented a date-display mechanism and launched the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. This pedigree is what gave (and still gives) the brand its fundamental credibility as the world leader in its market.
In the 1990s the Rolex Oyster was voted by the industry as "The Watch of the Century."