Rolex Oyster Perpetual
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Rolex Oyster Perpetual

1951 was a year of milestones for Rolex and its founder, Hans Wilsdorf, in particular. Wilsdorf had just turned 70, and was also celebrating his 50th year in the watch business. As far as Rolex was concerned, that year marked the 25th anniversary of its ground-breaking Oyster case, the bedrock of almost every watch in its collection—particularly the Oyster Perpetual line.

The week of Mr. Wilsdorf’s birthday was commemorated, in true Swiss fashion, by nonstop festivities. There were cocktail parties, luncheons, and even a trip to France. But the highlight of the bacchanal was a boat trip on Lake Geneva.

At the start of the voyage, Wilsdorf commanded that six Rolex Oysters Perpetuals should be set and then attached to a frame. The frame was then thrown overboard and towed behind the boat. When they were hauled in, the watches were all running—not only that, but the movement of the waves was enough to keep the watches fully wound, so that they all showed the correct time.

The very next day, the watches were proudly displayed in the window of a jeweler in Geneva, a testament to the quality of the Oyster case’s construction.

Publicity stunts aside, it was this integrity of design that carried Rolex through a decade marked as much by disappointment as triumph.

Though it might seem difficult to imagine Rolex ever striking a false note, a few of the watches the brand brought out in the 1950s didn’t do well on the market. For example, the Turn-O-Graph—a cousin of the Submariner—proved no match against the Submariner, which carried with it the mystique of the deep blue sea. And early versions of the Day-Date were plagued with technical problems that rendered them almost impractical for their intended use.

However, when the plain, simple, unfussy Rolex Oyster Perpetual was concerned, it was an unmitigated triumph. In 1955, Rolex was granted a chronometer certification for its 250,000th watch. When one considers that only 48,000 or so watches produced in 1953 were granted that certification, it’s absolutely staggering to realize that 2/3 of them were Rolexes.

It’s watches like this Reference 6284 that perfectly capture this essence of ingenuity, and also a distinctive flair.

The Oyster case is 35mm, but thanks to its thickness, wears well on the wrist. The white dial has aged to a lovely creamy color that perfectly sets off the warm gold of the applied hour markers. And the movement is, of course, chronometer certified.

While we wouldn’t recommend dragging it behind a boat during a pleasure cruise (actually, we would strongly advise against it), it’s just robust enough to carry you through your day-to-day life with every bit as much style as you deserve.

Details

SKU: AS02223

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Reference 6284. Circa 1950s.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including patina.

Includes one 17mm black leather Rolex-signed strap with Rolex buckle.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

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