Rolex Oyster Perpetual 116000 Review

Is this the perfect “do it all” Rolex?

First an admission, back at the turn of the new millennium I worked at an authorized Rolex dealer.  I have always loved the brand, going back to when I was a boy, watching Sean Connery play James Bond, making that infamous glance at his Submariner in Goldfinger.

Has there ever been a better 007?  I don’t think so, but that’s a debate for another day.

Over the last year on my channel I have reviewed a number of Rolex watches, a six digit Submariner, a five digit Sea Dweller, and the new 39mm Oyster Perpetual. 

It goes without saying that the Submariner and Sea Dweller are absolute icons in the watch world; most anyone on earth will recognize one, including the most casual watch enthusiast.

As a brand Rolex executes marketing unbelievably well.  To me, this is as much a part of their DNA as their iconic designs.  Their marketing efforts really took off in the early 1950’s when Sir Edmund Hillary ascended, and most importantly of all, descended Mount Everest.

Born from that infamous climb was the Oyster Perpetual and the famous 3-6-9 Explorer dial.

The watch that we are going to review today is a direct descendant of that simple clean Oyster Perpetual that accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the top of Everest.

The Oyster case and bracelet are classic, clean Rolex design.  The type of stainless steel has been upgraded from the original models to a proprietary blend called 904L.  Rolex claims that this steel is more corrosion resistant and that it will have a more lustrous appearance.

I would agree.  The brushed finish is perfection.  It is perfectly even with a shimmer that catches the light just so.  The polished areas, including the case sides and bezel are also perfection.  Mirror like, they work in perfect harmony with the brushed areas.  Overall the watch has a deep luster that you cannot find on other stainless watches.

The silver Explorer dial is a thing of wonder.  The color is constantly changing, sometimes appearing white, and at others matching the brushed finish of the case and bracelet.  The dial is adorned with the iconic 3-6-9 hour markers which are accompanied by stick markers at all other positions excluding 12:00, which is adorned with a white gold Rolex five point coronet logo.  Each index marker is fully lumed with Superluminova, a luminous material that is very active and glows brightly. 

White gold is also the material of choice for the classic stick style handset.  The hour and minutes hands feature SuperLuminova, the seconds hand is fine and unadorned with luminous material.  It is very easy to read the time in most any light, the minute hand is long and graceful, and plays a major part in the classic good look of this watch.

The lightly domed bezel perfectly accompanies the flat sapphire crystal, which has a very slight step up, out of the bezel.  The classic clean design is executed flawlessly and perfectly fits the watches aesthetic.

Speaking of flawless, is there anything better than a Rolex crown?  It features a perfect coin edge for gripping and, of course, it is signed with the Rolex coronet.  All mechanical aspects of the crown are perfection.  The hand winding is whirring perfection, setting time is precise and crisp and screwing/unscrewing is flawless.  The crown only delivers a feeling of mechanical perfection.

The crown connects to and controls the Rolex 3130 movement.  A time tested and proven design; the 3130 is a COSC Certified Swiss Chronometer automatic movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. It features 31 jewels, a 48-hour power reserve, and vibrates at 28,800 vibrations per hour.  The movement is as robust as it is precise.  It features a balance bridge and Parachrom hairspring, offering greater resistance to shocks, magnetic fields, and changes in temperature. 


Rolex ensures that all movements, after being cased are running within their +2/-2 seconds per day standard before they leave the factory.

Final thoughts.

At 36mm, I have found this watch to be a joy to wear on my 170mm wrist.  The additional material added to the lugs of this generation of Oyster Perpetual is a welcome addition.  It gives the watch just the right amount of wrist presence without ruining the lines.  The overall fit and finish is wonderful, the watch has a great sheen that sets it apart from others.  

I very much enjoy knowing that this watch is a direct descendent of the original Rolex Oysters. They have been a part of so much history, and shared adventure with so many, all the while performing their duty flawlessly.

With modern improvements and a 3-6-9 dial that pays tribute to those original Explorer watches, this Oyster Perpetual is sure to be ready for a lifetime of adventure with you.  If you are looking for a clean classic do it all watch, I strongly recommend this Rolex.  

Enjoy!