Hands-on

The New “Stella-Inspired” Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41

The OP increases in size, gets a new movement and adopts bold, coloured lacquered dials.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Santiago Tejedor | ic_query_builder_black_24px 5 min read |
2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300

The big news from Rolex in 2020 was the release of a new Submariner (no date) and Submariner Date with (slightly) larger 41mm case sizes. Although it might have been temporarily eclipsed by the introduction of the Submariners, the iconic three-hand Oyster Perpetual also grew in size from 39mm to 41mm. Without a doubt, this is the most polemical decision taken by the Crown this year. However, these new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 ref. 124300 also bring their dose of positive aspects, and this has to do with their “Stella-inspired” coloured dials.

An increase from 40 to 41mm, as in the case of the Submariner, might be a drama for those who thrive on polemics or those who insist that all Rolex’s should have a 36mm diameter. Fact is, the increase in size on the Submariner is imperceptible (after closer inspection, it grew from 40.2mm to 40.5mm), or better said, it is perceptibly better because the tapered lugs make it more balanced. The Oyster Perpetual is a very different matter.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 ref 114300 White Dial - Baselworld 2018
The now-discontinued Oyster Perpetual 39 “Polar”.

In 2016 Rolex launched the new Oyster Perpetual 39 ref. 114300 with grey, blue and grape dials, which I loved and still do. These were followed by models with black and white dials across the entire OP collection, including the 39mm models – the white dial immediately becoming a hit. A 39mm diameter is very flexible because it adapts to practically any wrist size but it still strays on the conservative side of the street.

2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300
And the replacement, the 2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 ref. 124300

Well, the arrival of the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 signals the end of the 39mm ref. 114300 models along with the white, grape, grey and blue dials – or at least the ones we knew up until today. Another factor that has generated much debate is the incorporation of eye-catching colours on the dial as part of the permanent collection. I like them very much indeed, and they tie in very nicely with a chapter in Rolex’s history.

ROLEX STELLA Dials

The Day-Date is not Rolex’s most festive watch. It is the more serious or conservative face of the brand (without considering the Cellini, of course). However, in the 1970s Rolex produced a series of watches referred to as lacquered “Stellas”, perhaps in reference to the American artist Frank Stella and his colourful artwork. This is something we will never know given Rolex’s “no comment” policy.

The name Stella isn’t a nickname given by collectors or auction houses. The brand used the term “Lacquered Stella” in their catalogues in the 1970s (source watchtime.me)

Photo by hypebeast.com

The point is that the Day-Date was suddenly flooded with vibrant colour and singularity. Since the lacquer was mixed by hand and then applied in various layers, no two dials were the same. The watches were not very successful, perhaps because a Day-Date customer wanted a more conservative watch and not the psychedelic Stella models being offered by the brand. It goes without saying that today these original Stellas are highly sought-after models. As you can see, the colours Rolex is proposing for 2020 are as daring as the Stellas.

2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300
A modern tribute to the Stella dials, the OP 41 is now available (among others) with smooth lacquered dials in bright colours.

The 2020 ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL 41

Before we look at the colours found in these new 124300, let’s see what’s new about the watch. The first thing beady-eyed enthusiasts will notice is that the minutes hand is now longer and alights directly on the minutes track. I also think that the hours hand is longer, but I don’t dare to affirm this because if it is true, it is a minimal difference. Another novelty is that the indices at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are now double – something that has already generated debate among collectors. The indices and baton hour and minute hands are treated with Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight which glows blue in the dark. The double indices give the dial, in my opinion, more presence and a slightly more informal air. It is also water-resistant to 100 metres, so water is not an issue.

2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300

Things have also changed inside the new 41mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41mm models, which are now fitted with the new calibre 3230. An automatic movement with Chronergy escapement, the calibre 3230 has a more efficient gear train and a high-capacity barrel that can store up to 70 hours of power. With its Parachrom spiral, the movement is also highly resistant to shocks and magnetic fields. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual 41 is a Superlative Chronometer having undergone specific controls by Rolex and obtained COSC chronometer certification. Its rate accuracy is of -2/+2 seconds a day.

2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300
Sign of evolution, the Rolex “coronet” placed between “Swiss” and “Made” means that this watch is equipped with the 32xx generation of movement.

The seven dial colours for the 41mm OP are bright black, coral red, bright blue, turquoise blue, green, yellow and silver. The price of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 ref. 124300 is EUR 5,500 in whichever dial colour you choose and are now available at official retailers worldwide.

2020 Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Stella 124300
One of the new colours is this attractive “British Racing Green” model… A great match for British classic car enthusiasts.

For more information, please consult rolex.com.

16 responses

  1. Since you have these in-hand, can you actually take measurements with calipers? It would be a great service to your readers and only take a second. As with the Sub, many OP41 owners are suggesting that these are not actually 41mm.

  2. @greg “this is a poor man’s Rolex.”

    Rolexs to me are Fugly! This is one I might actually wear. Minus the Daytona which is 60k because??? Its a Rolex? That’s not a good enough reason to me

  3. Very expensive clown watches! 😂 Something only a sycophantic fan boy could love.

  4. I like the green dial 41 out of the lot. I had a feeling that changes would be made to the oyster perpetual line this year even though there wasn’t any such speculation. Bought a grape dial 39 this March, and the resale value is already up $2000 from what I paid.

  5. @greg… such hate… this is the inteligent man’s Rolex… same steel… Great updated movement… and you can actually buy one…

  6. Reserve judgement until I see them because the photos are always deceptive. case in point, the green dialed option pictured here appears to have a yellow gold hand but I’m guessing it’s plain silver colored or white gold ( which also looks plain). If it really was gold it would look great.

  7. @GBD, these pics were taken at Rolex’ premises so I had no tool for such task (nor I remembered to ask, I may add). Sorry.
    @Stefan, the seconds hand is silver coloured in all models.

  8. So now Rolex make watches that looks like poor cheap chinese counterfeit Folex! LOL!

  9. Just taken my father-in-law’s OP from 1967 in for a service to WoS. A fantastic watch that simply tells the time, no ostentation just plain classic looks. My 1984 Datejust is I believe similarly classic and I would not be without it. Wonderful timepieces.

  10. I have an Oyster perpetual 39 in Rhodium and it’s a classic beauty. These OP 41s with the “stella” dials look awful to me. I also have some Daytonas, Subs, Datejusts and love them….beautiful timeless pieces that are all worth significantly more than I paid for them. These OP 41s though are not doing it for me at all. Pass.

  11. Watches these days reminds me of the old tv guide ploy, of doing different covers for the same magazine,to boost sales that week. Sad to watch people fall for this crap,but I do understand greed as a concept.

  12. I have the 41mm Green dial on my wrist as I type this. Bought it on Saturday and love it already!!
    For all you naysayers and smartypants out there in the blogosphere, I just say ‘reserve judgement until you actually get one on your wrist’…..undoubtedly a future classic of subtlety and performance.

  13. Unfortunately Flippers are at work ensuring that this “most affordable” Rolex is now just as unobtainable as the Submariner… the street price is now an absurd $10k depending on color…. So these photos are the closest most people will get to one…..uggg!

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