For whatever reason, the new platinum-cased Rolex Perpetual 1908 timepiece that debuted at Watches & Wonders 2024 was so compelling that aBlogtoWatch needed to write about it three times (so far). Most recently, Mike Razak from the aBlogtoWatch team shared his glowing thoughts as an observer of the new “Ice Blue” guilloché-dial Rolex Perpetual 1908 52506. We also included the Rolex 1908 platinum in our list of the top 10 watches released at Watches & Wonder Geneva 2024. Now, I discuss my own wearing experience with this novel dress watch that deserves plenty of attention, not only for design and poise but also for its value proposition. The Rolex 1908 watch family was introduced in 2023 as a replacement for the Rolex Cellini. 18k gold models began the 1908 collection (there is no steel option, and there probably won’t be one), and now, Rolex has added a version with the reference 52506 platinum dial to more fully flesh out the 1908 collection.

Rolex nearly always gives its platinum watches the company’s “ice blue” dial color. Most people are familiar with the platinum Daytona and Day-Date “President” models that feature this beautiful hue. What is new here with the 1908 isn’t the color but the guilloché engraving technique. The vast majority of Rolex watches do not feature any type of guilloché engraving, but the company does have this capability since it has been used in the relatively recent past on some other Rolex dress watches. Perhaps none have been able to make as big a splash as the 1908 platinum watch, however. The combination of color and guilloché decoration technique is not only beautiful but results in a Rolex that feels like none other, especially in the brand’s current catalog. It’s interesting because Rolex has been quite rightly accused of having too many watches that look the same. Recently, the company has put more effort into creating watches (or dials) that look nothing like what else is available from the storied Swiss luxury watch brand.

Advertising Message

Platinum is a very expensive watch case material, and Rolex probably produces more platinum watches than any other luxury watch brand. As with gold watches, Rolex offers some of the best gold and the best value for gold when compared to the competition. The same is true for platinum, and in many ways, this 52506 watch (while by no means cheap) feels like a very solid value for a platinum-cased watch at just over $30,000 USD. Clearly this isn’t a full-platinum watch on a matching bracelet (though the brown alligator strap and matching platinum deployant are lovely), but it still feels well-priced. Indeed, there are probably some less expensive platinum watches on the market now, but I am curious to know if the watch lover community also feels that Rolex is offering a decent value proposition here (all things considered, of course).

Most interest in Rolex surrounds its sports watches produced within the larger Oyster Perpetual family. Dress watches from Rolex have — over the last 30 years, at least — been very niche. Part of this simply reflects changing attitudes toward dress watches and style preferences. In other words, as people dress up less, the applicability of dress watches diminishes unless you know how to style a dress watch with more casual attire, which has traditionally been hard with ultra-simple monochromatic “tuxedo watches,” but today’s dress timepieces are very different. Other brands (including, in large part, Japanese brands) helped popularize the concept of fun, bright-colored dress watches that you can enjoy more casually. Every color and texture you could imagine has been experimented with (or will be) for use on such timepieces, and surely, Rolex has noticed. Even though the 1908 watch is still quite conservative by nature, this platinum version with a guilloché-decorated blue dial is, in a sense, Rolex’s answer to this burgeoning trend. The question now is whether Rolex will continue this concept by augmenting the 18k gold 1908 watch family with more spirited colors aside from off-white and black.

The 1908 case has 50 meters of water resistance — versus the 100 meters or more for Rolex Oyster Perpetual cases, so it is less sporty, but there are benefits, too. First, the 39mm wide 1908 case is just 9.5mm thick. That allows for a much slimmer wearing profile than most Rolexes. Second, the Perpetual 1908 family is the only men’s watch line Rolex currently makes with its high-performance caliber 7140 automatic movements. These movements feature Rolex’s Syloxi silicon hairspring technology and slightly edge out the already incredible performance of Rolex’s other two-second-per-day accurate Superlative Chronometer calibers. The 4Hz, 66 hours of power reserve automatic 7140 movements are also incredibly beautiful. Most Rolex watches do not have sapphire crystal casebacks,  but that is another way in which 1908 timepieces are distinctive within the larger brand’s collection. While not hand-finished per se, what we see applied to the 7140 are probably the best industrially applied finishing techniques on any timepiece I’ve seen (though Grand Seiko is another strong leader in this category). The 7140 is a fantastic movement to simply admire visually, and operationally, it offers just the time with a subsidiary seconds dials.

Advertising Message

The biggest complaint I’ve heard from the community about the Rolex 1908 platinum regards the “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER” text on the dial. I’ve not heard this complaint about any other Rolex with this same text, but I suppose that means there is nearly nothing for people to complain about on this watch. Would the dial look a bit more clean without this text? Perhaps, but this text is also important for Rolex branding and it is part of the brand’s legacy to remind people that its watch movements perform quite competently. I don’t think this dial text is going to convince anyone to stay away from this satisfying horological beauty.

The story and impressive nature of this Rolex 1908 platinum watch means that you can easily get away with wearing it more casually. Pairing it with sweatpants might be a stretch, but I can see this watch being a very comfortable near-daily wear for many. It has a stealthy high-end feel since it doesn’t immediately scream “Rolex” to many novices, and it has so much timeless beauty and style that there is only a very small number of people who simply don’t like the design (though you can’t please everyone). I’m not personally in the market to spend $30,000 on a watch right now because most of my disposable income goes to my kids, but this Rolex 1908 platinum would be high on my list of “sensible luxury watches” that simply make you feel good to wear. What do you think about it? Price for the reference 52506 Rolex Perpetual 1908 “Ice Blue” platinum watch is $30,900 USD. Learn more at the Rolex watches website.

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter