Two new dial colors for Rolex’s entry-level men’s watch – the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 reference 114300 – were debuted at Baselworld 2018. White and a black dials were added to the assortment of four other Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 watch dials that were debuted when the reference 114300 Rolex Oyster Perpetual was newly debuted in 2015. Rolex chose to introduce the 114300 with purple, olive, blue, and gray dial colors to begin with a few years ago. For 2018 the more conservative and arguably more versatile black or white dial options are available for the Oyster Perpetual 39. This is good news for those looking to buy a brand new, entry-level Rolex that didn’t want any of the original four colors.
At 39mm wide the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 is the largest of the Oyster Perpetual models that also exist in smaller sizes. As a casual or dress watch, the 39mm diameter works, but if you want to go up to 40mm wide, you can spend a few hundred dollars more for a Rolex Air-King. The most serious competitor to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 in Rolex’s collection (in my opinion) is the Rolex Explorer 214270,which shares the same 39mm wide case and movement. With that said, Rolex prices the Explorer at $850 USD more because of the Explorer’s complex lumed dial and because of the inclusion of the Easylink 5mm “comfort extension” in the bracelet. The Oyster Perpetual 39 dial with its baton hour markers and straight hands is a bit more elegant, not as sporty, and I think it appeals to a slightly different audience given the look.
Starting now in 2018 Rolex is branding the 904L steel alloy they use as “Oystersteel.” When you see that name it just means 904L, but Rolex’s particular blend of it. Rolex wants to make sure that its more expensive steel watches which can cost thousands more than the Oyster Perpetual 39 have more complex case finishing – and that is true. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 has a smooth, polished bezel, polished sides (case and bracelet), and with the rest of the case and bracelet being brushed. This gives the watch a more youthful, technical feel in my opinion. While the quality is all Rolex, the case is about as basic as Rolex can get away with compared to other more expensive timepieces produced by the Swiss brand. For example, rather than having a welded (attached) Rolex logo on the bracelet deployant, the Oyster Perpetual has an engraved Rolex logo in the same spot.
Both the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 and Explorer contain the in-house made automatic Rolex Calibre 3132 time-only (no date) movement. The Air-King still uses the older Calibre 3131, which has been upgraded with a bit more performance features in the caliber 3132. Operating at 4Hz the movement has about two days (48 hours) of power reserve. The movement is of course COSC Chronometer-certified and even though it isn’t one of Rolex’s fancier 32XX in-house movements, the 3132 boasts a claimed +/- 2 seconds per day accuracy. As a time-only watch the Oyster Perpetual 39 dial is perfectly symmetrical and classically elegant as a Rolex. Features such as the Rolex crown logo serving as the 12 o’clock hour marker will appeal to many Rolex brand traditionalists who want a simple daily wear that is also a noticeable Rolex status symbol.
As an Oyster collection watch, the 114300 case is water-resistant to 100m, has a screw-down crown, and is covered with a sapphire crystal. With the addition of the black or white dial option, the Oyster Perpetual 39 suddenly has gained a lot more appeal for Rolex brand traditionalists who don’t look to the brand for trendy colors but rather timeless, conservative appeal in the way a “red grape” (purple) dial cannot offer. I think it is excellent that Rolex makes the Oyster Perpetual 39 available as a more fashionable timepiece, but for me the white or black dials are going to be appealing to most male buyers, more so than the existing dial colors.
I don’t always like falling back on conservatism to make product recommendations as it would be fun to see more people out there with purple and green watch dials. With that said, I know white or black watch dial choices tend to be a bit more widely appealing and for that reason I think it was a good idea for Rolex to introduce the 114300 Oyster Perpetual 39 in the black and white dial variants. These also open the collection up to more men who want to wear the Oyster Perpetual 39 as a bit more of a sport watch. Price for the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 reference 114300 watch (with any of the dials) is $5,700 USD. rolex.com