As stated in the first part, this year Rolex has gone well beyond the "simple" renewal of the Submariner collection. In fact, the new features of the Oyster Perpetual
are certainly even more important from a strategic point of view for the brand. Indeed, this collection, due to its wide range of available diameters and a varied choice of colour dials, plays an essential role in the catalogue. It appeals to both men and women in any market. In any case, the message is clear: this role must be expanded. This is why Rolex has worked on several axes (cases, movements, colours) to find the fine line between the offbeat side sought and assumed and respect for the usual quality standards of the Manufacture.
The Oyster Perpetual 41mm with the coral red dial:
This year is marked by the release of a 41mm diameter case which replaces the previous 39mm case. The collection now offers 5 different diameters from 28 to 41mm. I must admit that I am a little surprised at the significant jump between 36 and 41mm. I can easily imagine that the 41mm case was chosen to meet the needs of markets looking for fairly large watches such as the United States. I regret the disappearance of the 39mm case which was a good compromise for me. But as nothing is ever done by chance at Rolex, I am sure that the 41mm case will be more successful than the previous one. The work on the case was not just about the diameter, since its side was also refined. The case side has a satin finish with polished sides which contributes to the perceived quality.
The perceived quality is irreproachable:
From the point of view of the movements, the 41mm and 36mm cases use the 3230 calibre. The consequence is therefore the same as with the Submariner: the power reserve now reaches 70 hours and the watches have the superlative chronometer certification (-2/+2s). The lower diameters are powered by the 2232 calibre, which offers a more modest but interesting power reserve (55 hours) while also meeting the criteria for superlative chronometer certification. This collection is part of Rolex's strategy to significantly increase the presence of watches with long power reserves that have superlative chronometer certification in the catalogue.
The Oyster Perpetual 36mm with the candy pink dial:
The most noticeable difference is in the dials. First of all, their perceived quality increases with the use of the Chromalight display and with the silver dial with yellow gold indexes and hands. Then, Rolex offers us a festival of colours even on the largest size. Rolex and colours, it is not new and it never stopped. We obviously think of the Day-Date Stella but other watches benefited from a varied choice of dials. Now, it is nevertheless very appreciable to see a mixed Rolex watch, in steel, located at the entrance of the catalogue with such a choice of colours. Indeed, no less than 8 dial colours are available with the 36mm case (bright black, coral red, candy pink, bright blue, turquoise blue, green, yellow and silver) and 7 colours (the same without the candy pink) with the 41mm case. Honour to the ladies, it is the 31mm version that offers the most colours (9). The choice remains more limited with the other cases.
My favourite, with the turquoise blue dial:
As you can see, Rolex has found a balance between classic colours (bright black, silver), alternative classics (bright blue, green) and much more daring (the other colours). The simplicity of the Oyster Perpetual lends itself to this exercise even in the most unlikely configurations. Personally, I am always seduced by the "fun" colours but I find it a little harder to bear them in the medium term. So it all depends on the use of this versatile watch. As a basic watch, I think it's best to stick with classic colours, which are easier to combine depending on the circumstances. As a seasonal or complementary watch, bold colours are all indicated with a clear preference for turquoise blue and coral red.
Rolex offers us a festival of colours:
Anyway, Rolex has done well with this collection. The Oyster Perpetual now has all the assets to become a collection that gives access to the world of Rolex while seducing the brand's regular customers. Comfortable (the bracelet is equipped with the Easylink extension), obviously water-resistant to 100 metres, less recognisable (which is an asset in these sensitive times), the Oyster Perpetual is the archetype of the easy-going watch that should support Rolex in its customer renewal strategy.
The Oysterflex strap is surprising in the context of the Sky-Dweller, but one gets used to it very quickly:
Rolex has also addressed another segment of its catalogue by offering variations of the Sky-Dweller with Oysterflex strap. These new models respond to a strong market trend: many customers with complicated watches want to be able to wear them in all circumstances. 3 versions are available: 2 in Everose gold, 1 in yellow gold. The result is surprising at first glance because the Oysterflex strap seems unexpected in this context. However, it does have a strong advantage: given the weight of the case and accompanied by the Oysterlock clasp, it holds the watch more effectively on the wrist than leather straps. Moreover, it allows the Sky-Dweller to be much more versatile without having to purchase a version with a metal bracelet.
The Sky-Dweller with Oysterflex strap is undeniably a watch with character: the contrast between the black strap and the watch is striking. It accentuates the visual impact of the dial and bezel. However, I much prefer the rendering with the two dark dials (black or chocolate) than with the white dial. I sincerely think that the watch in pink gold and white dial would have deserved another colour of strap, slate grey for example. I would very much like Rolex to work on alternative colours for its Oysterflex straps. The Daytona could benefit from this as well.
Finally, Rolex has completed its collection of 2020 novelties with four variations of the Datejust 31 in a grey Rolesor version. This makes me think that the Datejust 36 with its fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet is a sublime watch...especially with the black dial. But I'm getting lost! The 2020 novelties deserve all our attention and once again Rolex has been able to evolve its catalogue in a very intelligent way. An iconic collection is renewed, another collection takes on colours both literally and figuratively, the complicated watch gains in versatility and ladies who love elegant watches are not forgotten. It is therefore a very great offer... and it is all the more remarkable as it comes in a complicated year. Finally, complicated for everyone except Rolex.