The Astonishingly Elegant Rolex Perpetual 1908

The Cellini series is dead. Long live the new Perpetual collection.

A few days before Watches and Wonders 2023 kicks off, we know that Rolex is cooking up something elegant. In fact, the brand’s website no longer features Shopping watches from the Cellini collection, which was launched in 2014 and represents the elegant side of Crown. Well, the replacement is here, and it takes the form of a new collection called Perpetual – a name inspired by one of the first Rolex watches to feature a Perpetual rotor and a nod to Hans Wilsdorf (Hans Wilsdorf) designed the name “Rolex” in homage to the year he signed his creations and registered the brand in Switzerland (Rolex has finally admitted that the past may be relevant…) Let’s first look at this new, surprising The handsome Rolex Perpetual 1908, the first model in the series is sure to grow with time.

Although Rolex really doesn’t want to talk about it, the new Perpetual line is meant to replace the Cellini line, which was completely discontinued ahead of the Geneva watch show, including the attractive Cellini Moonphase 50535 – which I’ve always considered a part of the brand’s portfolio. A hidden gem. But, new names aside, the Perpetual line is certainly a direct descendant, if not a relatively modest evolution of the Cellini. All the design features of the previous series are retained, however, some notable changes can be seen on the other side of the case.

Elegant, understated and quintessentially Rolex, the Perpetual 1908 has a distinctly retro and classic air, inspired directly by the brand’s vintage models. You can see some references to the mid-1926 Oyster – such as the early Rolex Oyster worn by Mercedes Gleitze when crossing the English Channel – or the mid-1940s Early log type. It’s also a Discount watch with modern features and sharp edges. Exquisite chiseled grooves can be seen everywhere, showing a low-key and iconic Rolex style. So, yes, it’s close to a Cellini, it feels undeniably a Rolex, but it has a level of refinement that a Cellini can’t quite match.

The Rolex Perpetual 1908 is a simple dress watch. Time only, tight, no complications, no unnecessary decorum. Straight to the point of elegance. For this post, we decided to take a look at the matte white dial gold model, reference 52508, which to me was the most intriguing. The matte black dial is equally attractive, while the soft white dial with warm gold adds elegance. The Perpetual 1908 has a compact case measuring 39mm thick with shorter lugs, most of which are 9.50mm thick. Not an ultra-thin watch, but slim enough to fit on a cuff and fall into the dress watch category.

The softly polished surfaces of the case middle and lugs contrast with the sharp, reflective finely grooved decorations on the bezel, caseback and crown. Patek Philippe also uses a simple formula in the Calatrava collection, but with Paris hobnail pattern instead of fluted texture. That being said, I can’t deny that there is some kind of resemblance between the 1908 and the Calatrava Clous de Paris 6119 (not the worst reference…) The case is water resistant to 50m (adequate, not spectacular) and has a domed sapphire crystal top, and one on the caseback (Rolex finally revealed its movement!)

The Perpetual 1908 is a nice wrist watch. Balanced, elegant, understated yet luxurious enough to wear glamorously. It comes on an alligator leather strap closed by a new folding clasp called the Dualclasp, which Rolex explains as “the carefully engineered (…) Dualclasp is always in the center of the wrist.”

On the dial of the Perpetual 1908 we can see most of the evolution between this new collection and the Cellini collection. There is no longer a rayon flammé de la gloire pattern (a rather pronounced sunburst pattern). The dial is available in white or black, matte and finely satin-finished, with black rails printed on the minute and second hands. Classic, clear and efficient. Rolex also decided to equip its first watch with a small seconds display and original hands and hour markers. Applied numerals are at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock, and the hour hand has an open circle in front of the tip – both inspired by the sports watch collection, but with a refined finish. Popular swiss watch

Big news came from behind, and the unprecedented movement can now be seen. Called Caliber 7140, this new engine is the perfect blend of past, present and future. Classic construction, central rotor, slim profile, visible ratchet and barrel, it also brings all the technology of the brand. The automatic movement is wound by a solid 18k perpetual rotor mounted on ball bearings and incorporates a patented Chronergy escapement made of antimagnetic nickel-phosphorus, a Syloxi hairspring made of silicon with Rolex’s patented geometry, and a Balance variable inertia wheel and gold Microstella nut.

All this is protected by transverse bridges with Paraflex shock absorbers. The movement beats at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour, storing a comfortable 66-hour power reserve. Since it is visible under the sapphire caseback, Rolex has put special effort into the decoration, the new Rolex Côtes de Genève – a decoration that differs from the traditional Côtes de Genève, with slightly polished grooves between each strap – and diamond-cut chamfers on bridges.

Technical Specifications – Rolex Perpetual 1908
Case: Diameter 39mm x Thickness 9.50mm – 18k yellow gold (also available in 18k white gold) middle case and fluted bezel, polished – domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating – screwed back with fine grooves Cover, Sapphire Crystal – Domed and Fluted Crown – 50m Water Resistance
Dial: Deep white dial with matte fine satin finish (also available in matte black) – 18k gold 3, 9, 12 numerals and faceted hour markers – 18k gold faceted and polished hands – Black printed railway minute track and small seconds
Movement: Caliber 7140 – Manufacture – Superlative Chronometer and COSC certified (-2/+2 sec/day) – Bidirectional automatic winding via 18k yellow gold perpetual rotor – 38 jewels – 4Hz frequency – Syloxi silicon hairspring with Patented geometry, variable inertia balance, regulated by two gold Microstella nuts – Transverse balance bridge and Paraflex shock absorber – Chronergy escapement with paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus pallet fork and escape wheel – 66-hour power Storage – hours, minutes, small seconds (hacked)
Strap: Matt brown alligator leather with green calfskin lining – 18k gold double buckle (double folding clasp)
Reference: 52508 (gold, white dial)