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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information, please consult rolex.com.