|Year of production (circa)
Rolex Oyster Perpetal Ref. 1024 Goldcap
A conversation piece: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 1024
Among the watches I’ve encountered thus far, the one before us is undeniably one of the more distinctive specimens. It boasts a gold plated case alongside a stainless steel case-back. Now, some might raise an eyebrow – aren’t Rolex watches known to be free of gold plating? While that’s largely true today, it wasn’t always the case in the brand’s earlier years.
Rolex, in fact, once offered watches featuring gold plating on both the case and bracelet. This was particularly prevalent in some of the more ‘’affordable’’models, including references like the 1500 and the 6694. The terminology used back then was “gold wrapped” or “gold filled.” In certain circles, especially among dealers in Singapore, these watches even earned the nickname “golden eggs.” Essentially, this indicated that a 20-micron layer of 14K gold enveloped a stainless steel case, providing a touch of opulence to the timepiece.
We’ve previously advocated for the merits of basic model watches, and today we’re revisiting that stance with a closer look at the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 1024. There’s an inherent allure to simplicity, a quality that can often get overshadowed by the appeal of intricate and exclusive timepieces. However, choosing a base model holds a compelling rationale: it often harks back to the very essence of the design itself.
This very principle comes to life in the Ref. 1024. The 34mm Oyster case is stripped of any superfluous adornments, allowing its form to shine in its unadulterated glory. The dial embodies a refined champagne tone, devoid of complications or embellishments. And then there’s the Oyster bracelet – a timeless classic in its own right – staying true to its understated and minimalist character. All this in combination with the gold plated case, and you have a very interesting and killer watch that sparks conversations.
NOTE: Watch is not made of solid gold but of steel with a gold plated finish.
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The Oyster Perpetual models by Rolex offer the purest, distilled form of Rolex magic. No complications, no frills. Just that superb quality we know and love from the house in simple, three-hand wristwatches.
The name Oyster Perpetual refers to two important Rolex technologies present in the watch. Oyster indicates the presence of several water-proofing technologies such as a screw-down crown and a screw-in case back. (Of course, any vintage watch should be treated as not water-resistant). Perpetual refers to a rotor-powered self-winding movement, which will be perpetually wound when worn. The nomenclature is a strong nod to Rolex history, as the Oyster case was patented in 1926 and their perpetual movement in 1931.
Note how many Rolex model names start with Oyster Perpetual and follow with a third specification, such as Datejust or Submariner. The lack of such additional labels indicate we are dealing with a no-complications, time-only Rolex.
A popular OP reference is the 1002. A clean, minimalist every day watch in a 34mm case. Its smooth bezel and Oyster bracelet, combined with a nice silver dial make it pretty much the most timeless and versatile watch you could dream of. A non-chronometer version with a different dial was sold as the Ref. 5500 Air-King.
Up until today, a whole range of different dial colors and sizes are available in the Oyster Perpetual range, so there is likely something to suit you. If it is a timeless, simple watch, made to the absolute highest standards you are after, the OP should not be underestimated.
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