The Rolex Oyster Perpetual was first introduced in the early 1930s as the first self-winding watch of its kind. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual wound itself depending on the wearer’s movements, the more you move, that energy will constantly wind the mechanism.
The first Rolex Oyster Perpetual model was introduced in the 1950’s. It had a number of calibres such as the 645 and 1030, which were also featured in the popular Rolex Submariner and the Rolex Explorer. In 1959 the Rolex Oyster Perpetual reference number 1002 featured a plastic crystal and a 26 jewel 1560/1570 calibre. It had automatic movements, screw down backs, and a screw down crown.
In 1964, Rolex introduced its first Lady’s Oyster Perpetual featuring the calibre 1130, all of which has plastic crystals and a small bezel diameter of 24.6 mm. Rolex saw high demands and surges for the Women’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual which eventually led Rolex to upgrade to a new calibre; the 2030, which showcased 28 jewels and the ‘Hack function.’ The hack meant that any Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watches produced after that time were able to have the SECOND hand stopped via the winding crown to synchronize timing. It also meant that the date in the crown can be set instantly with the “quickset” function.
In 1983, Rolex initiated a size increase for the lady’s model of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The upgrade eventually led to the end of the plastic crystal mid-size Oyster Perpetual to the new sapphire crystal Oyster Perpetual Mid-Size watch. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Rolex created new calibres and size changes for the Rolex Oyster Perpetual that jumpstarted a whole new refresh on the whole product line. In the early 2010’s, 4 sizes of the Oyster Rolex Perpetual watch was released at Baselworld: 26mm, 31mm, 34mm, and the 36mm. One final addition to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual line was introduced in 2015; the 39mm Oyster Perpetual.