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All new Rolex 1908 men’s watch leans into timeless Rolex styling and we can’t get enough of it

You won't stop staring at it, but that has nothing to do with what time it is

The Rolex Perpetual 1908

The world’s most desirable watch brand, Rolex, is paying homage to its long and storied history with a new series of watches. The new Rolex watch takes inspiration from the vintage timepieces that made the luxury brand what it is today. So expect an almost impossibly slim profile, smaller dimensions than modern men’s watches, and large numbers. Another nice vintage touch is the lack of a central seconds hand, with a dedicated sub-dial being used instead.

Rolex’s main inspiration when creating the Perpetual 1908 is the original Oyster Perpetual from 1931. While its 39mm diameter may be a little more petit than the 45+ mm dive watches that have been in vogue over the last few decades, it’s actually somewhat of a compromise. Many classic men’s watches are rocking 34mm or 36mm cases.

The 1908 part of the name is also a very deliberate nod to heritage. It’s the year Rolex was registered as a trademark in Switzerland. The company itself was actually founded in London three years earlier and initially functioned as a watch distributor — but 1908 was the year that it morphed into the company we know.

In addition to a healthy dose of nostalgia, the new Rolex features the sort of luxury touches you would expect from a watch of this class. Namely, a highly polished 18k gold case, an alligator leather strap, and a double-folding clasp in either yellow or white gold — matching your choice of case.

The Rolex 1908's transparent case

The vintage-inspired watch has a cutting-edge movement

Rolexes are designed to catch the eye, but the real magic happens inside the case. Under the hood, you’ll find an entirely new automatic movement, the Calibre 7140. This startlingly precise automatic packs a 66-hour power reserve and can keep time to -2/+2 seconds per day. It’s designed to fit the Perpetual 1908’s ultra-slim case, and Rolex filed a total of five patents while designing the mechanism.

In a rare move for Rolex, you can admire this movement without partially disassembling the watch and potentially messing up its waterproofing. The 1908 is fitted with a transparent case back, so you can see your watch working and watch the self-winding mechanism effortlessly spin when the slightest movement is applied.

If you want to get your hands on one of the 1908 edition men’s watches, then be prepared to part with a significant amount of cash. They are Rolexes, after all. The 18k yellow gold version has a MSRP of 22,000, and the white gold edition starts at $23,300. Though getting your hands on one of the special timepieces may be difficult.

It’s not a case of putting an order in online or reserving one that can then be picked up from an authorized retailer. If you want a Perpetual 1908, you’ll either have to contact your local authorized Rolex distributor and take things from there or wait until a few hit the second-hand market. If you’re pining for a vintage Rolex, and the Perpetual 1908 is beyond your reach, other options are also available.

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Dave McQuilling
Dave has spent pretty much his entire career as a journalist; this has included jobs at newspapers, TV stations, on the…
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