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In Rolex's impressive 111-year history, the brand has released a veritable arsenal of models that have become classics. Many of these bear the moniker "Oyster Perpetual." While the name Oyster Perpetual doesn't designate a particular model or line, it does signify a few things. First, that the watch will have the trademark Rolex Oyster case. Second, that the movement beating inside that Oyster case will be Rolex's famed Perpetual movement.
Rolex first patented the Oyster case in 1925, but the quest for a waterproof and dust-proof case began shortly before the First World War. The cases of the Great War and the early 1920s came in two or three pieces with an inner case that shielded the movement (then a manual-wind movement) from the wet, dusty conditions of the battlefield. The Oyster case of 1925 represented the culmination of ten years of development. It gained notoriety in 1927, when Mercedes Gleitze became the first British woman to swim across the English Channel, wearing--you guessed it--a Rolex. A series of advertisements followed, featuring smiling flappers holding their Rolexes in fishtanks.
As with the Oyster case, the Perpetual movement saw many iterations before finally being perfected in the 1930s. Rolex's first automatic movement quietly debuted in 1931, without the fanfare that followed the introduction of the Oyster case. The movement was met with some consternation from purists who decried the "extreme novelty" of a self-winding watch. Nevertheless, Rolex could see that they had struck gold with the Perpetual movement. They continued to develop and improve it over the years, establishing a line of watches that would stand as an alternative to Rolex's sportier models.
The Oyster Perpetuals of the 1960s and 1970s remain some of Rolex's best-loved timepieces. Elegant, with clean lines, the watches are nevertheless sturdy, coming in stainless steel or 18k yellow or pink gold. The Perpetual, Rolex Caliber 1560, movement has a straight-line lever escapement and a Breguet balance spring. Meant to be worn every day, the Oyster Perpetual combines elegant looks with rugged dependability.
Rolex produced the Oyster Perpetual Reference 1002 from the late 1950s to the 1960s. In that short decade of production, the Reference 1002 initially bore the automatic Caliber 1560 movement, which beat at 18,000 bph, before switching to the incredibly popular Caliber 1570 in 1965. The Reference 1002 that we have here dates from 1964 and is thus among the last generation of that reference to carry the Caliber 1560 movement.
Like the Oyster Perpetuals of today, the Oyster Perpetual of yesteryear is a perfect entry-level Rolex for the vintage collector.
Steel and gold Oyster case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 1002. Caliber 1560 automatic movement. Ca. 1964.
Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition throughout, showing slight signs of wear and use in keeping with its age. Gold bezel is in very good condition, likewise showing slight signs of age and use, particularly near the crown. Sunburst silver dial with stick markers and matching luminous baton hands are in pristine condition. Luminous material on all components has aged evenly. Signed crown unsigned case back.
Includes one 20mm brown Horween analog/shift strap.