Rolex’s New Perpetual 1908 Guilloche Is A Cut Above The Rest

by Mario C

Building off the success of last year’s debuting Perpetual 1908, Rolex has added a new ice blue dial to the collection – now with a guilloché dial!

Watches and Wonders 2024 is off to a thunderous start! While Chamath and Matt are surely having an absolute ball over in Geneva, Sam and I back in Australia have our ways to celebrate in spirit. And how better to ring in the festivities with new releases from the most recognisable brand in history?

All-new Rolex Perpetual 1908

Releasing in 2023, the Rolex Perpetual 1908 (click here to read the article) is the first step in Rolex’s burgeoning Perpetual collection. It pays homage to the year that Hans Wilsdorf coined the Rolex name and is the first Rolex watch to ever be fitted with a Perpetual rotor. The Perpetual 1908 had some big shoes to fill in the absence of the similarly dressy Cellini collection, but its elegance and understated simplicity helped propel it to levels of popularity that the Crown is all too familiar with.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 – Full view

So, what makes this year’s release so special? Well, while Rolex isn’t doing anything extreme this year – case in point, 2023’s Puzzle Dial Day Date (click here for Instagram post), their commitment to expanding their Perpetual 1908 lineup is apparent in this all-new design. The case material for the Perpetual 1908 has expanded, now offering this 39mm Ref. 52506 in 950 platinum as opposed to the previous year’s 18k white and yellow gold. Denser than gold and extremely strong, 950 platinum is reserved but for the highest calibre of Rolex references, so to see them expand their lineup with such a highly regarded material so early on is rather unprecedented.

Rolex Perpetual 1908

The real magic lies in the dial, which has opted for an icy blue as opposed to the other white and black dial offerings. For those of you who know Rolex, the dial colour shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Icy blue is only reserved for models in 950 platinum, such as the platinum Day-Date Ref. 228236 (click here to see platinum Day-Date Ref. 228236), but even that reference didn’t get the benefit of a stunning guilloché dial!

Rolex Perpetual 1908 – Guilloché dial

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, guilloché is when a watchmaker uses a rose engine lathe to carve a series of repeating intricate patterns into a dial. This process requires a steady hand, consistent pressure, and remarkable patience, as the smallest mistake can very quickly undo hours of painstaking work!

Chamath got to try out his skills on a rose engine lathe last year and believe me when I say it’s not as easy as he makes it look. Without the Cellini, the new Perpetual 1908 Ref. 52506 is the only watch with a guilloché dial, making it uniquely suited to stand out—especially with that outstanding brown alligator strap to help it out!

The movement remains the same – Cal. 7140, which debuted last year alongside the Perpetual 1908. Complete with a small seconds complication, the Cal. 7140 is everything you know and love about Rolex’s movement standards, with a comfortable power reserve of 66 hours, COSC/Superlative Chronometer certification, and both the patented Chronergy escapement and Syloxi hairspring to top it all off. This permits one of the most elaborately constructed and accurate mechanical watch movements on the planet, which is now open for all to admire through the Perpetual 1908’s clear case back!

Final Thoughts

Entering the collection with a splash, the Perpetual 1908 Ref. 52506 seems to have done the polar opposite of what the new GMT Master II (click here to read about the latest GMT-Master II) sought to achieve, bringing a colourful yet elegant aesthetic to an otherwise understated collection. While dressy watches aren’t to everyone’s tastes, even the sportiest of sports watch guys have to admit that this is a stunning addition to the emerging collection.

However, as a dress watch guy, I hope I get to see this in person later this year because out of all the new Rolex releases, this is the one that blew my socks off the most.

Reference: 52506

Specification

  • Case: 39mm
  • Case Material: 950 Platinum
  • Dial:  Ice blue Guilloché
  • Crystal: Scratchproof Sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating
  • Water resistance: 5 Bar (50m)
  • Movement: Automatic In-house Cal. 7140 movement with small seconds complication
  • Movement Frequency: 4hz (28,800 VpH)
  • Power reserve: Approximately 66 hours
  • Bracelet: Brown/Teal Alligator leather strap with double folding Dualclasp

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $48,600 AUD

Availability: TBA. For more information, please head to rolex.com

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