Hands-on With The Rolex 1908 Perpetual Watch – Now In Platinum

Rolex's most reserved piece just got more interesting with a new dial and case material.


At Watches & Wonders Geneva last year Rolex completely revamped its dress watch collection again. You may remember about ten years ago or so Rolex redesigned its Cellini line of watches, their only “true” dress watch. While any of Rolex’s lineup these days can be used as a dress watch as the meaning of the term has shifted greatly over the last decade, the Cellini was Rolex’s only watch sold on a leather strap with no alternatives offered. Last year we were treated to the 1908 Perpetual, a new dress watch from Rolex with a new case design and a new movement which was visible through the caseback. 

This year, Rolex has added a new watch to the collection. You might be asking when Rolex will likely do a steel model of the 1908, but given that nearly all haute horlogerie dress watches are made exclusively of precious metals that is unlikely. 

Reference 52506 features a 39mm platinum case. Apart from the attractive rice grain guilloché dial, you can tell this is a platinum model by the light blue dial colour, which Rolex reserves for its platinum watches. It’s a great choice from the brand to start using more traditional guilloché patterns like this. If they want to be taken seriously as a maker of dress watches, their in-house dial makers will need to perfect it. It looks like they’re pretty close to me.

Behind the dial is the in-house-made 7140 calibre. It comes with the same high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers as Rolex’s sports models and has a Syloxi silicone hairspring for increased accuracy and resistance to magnetism. Thanks to this and more, the power reserve is around 66 hours, and the movement has been carefully decorated and displayed through a sapphire crystal caseback.

Priced at $30,900, this watch comes on a black or brown leather strap with Rolex’s Dualclasp, which, thanks to a clever design, always has its clasp centered on the wrist.

This new addition to the collection is a fine one indeed, the only real drawback I can think of with it is that it doesn’t say Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin on it. If that’s a deal breaker then you know where to go, but for the rest of us it made the dress watch world that little bit more complex.