In 2023, Rolex introduced a brand-new model family that harkens back to the earliest history of the company. Dubbed the Perpetual collection, it debuts with the classically styled 1908, a timepiece that pays homage to the Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf. Named after the year in which “Rolex” was registered by Wilsdorf in Switzerland, the 1908 is based on a handsome, dressy watch from 1931 and is available in four distinct references in yellow or white gold cases. Capturing the looks, utility, and innovation that Wilsdorf incorporated into his early designs, the 1908 features a domed and fluted bezel, conveying both a classic and contemporary aesthetic reflective of the dressier, early-20th century past as well as the cutting-edge output of the modern brand. Via a transparent sapphire case back it’s possible to view the new Calibre 7140 automatic movement, which features beautiful Côtes de Genève decoration customized by Rolex.
The four distinct 1908 references available are sure to capture the imagination of watch collectors: a white gold case with a white dial; a white gold case with a black dial; a yellow gold case with a white dial; and a yellow gold case with a black dial convey the charm of early-20th century dress watches, but upsize the case to 39mm to come in line with modern tastes. A unique handset with a sword-shaped minute hand and a circular hour hand combine with applied numerals, an outer railroad minute track, and a small-seconds display above 6 o’clock to subtly recall the golden era of dress watches. Finishing off this contemporary take on a vintage motif is an elegant alligator strap in matte black or brown with green calfskin lining, tone-on-tone stitching, and a Dualclasp in either 18K yellow or white gold. Regardless of which reference one picks, the 1908 is sure to inspire with its class, sophistication, and beauty.
For an in-depth look at the new Perpetual 1908 collection, be sure to visit Bhindi, a longtime Official Rolex Jeweler, in its Artesia and Glendale, CA showrooms.
This elegant and understated watch features a slim case crowned with a bezel that is part domed and part finely fluted. In 18 ct yellow or white gold, the case is fitted with a transparent case back which allows the technical sophistication and the decoration on the movement to be seen and admired. The particularly sleek dial, either intense white or intense black depending on the version, is graced with Arabic numerals 3, 9 and 12, and faceted index hour markers. It also offers a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, with the words ‘Superlative Chronometer’ above it in an arc shape. The hour hand is distinctive for the circle just before the tip, while the minute hand is shaped like a two-edged sword. The model is fitted on a brown or black alligator leather strap, equipped with a Dualclasp, a double folding clasp. The 1908 is equipped with calibre 7140, unveiled this year. At the forefront of watchmaking technology, this movement includes the Chronergy escapement, the Syloxi hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. It is noteworthy also for its bridges that are finished with Rolex Côtes de Genève, a reinterpretation of a well-known decoration in watchmaking. Calibre 7140 enables the 1908 to display the small seconds, as well as the hours and minutes. Like all Rolex watches, the Perpetual 1908 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY
Inspired by one of the first Rolex watches fitted with the Perpetual rotor, the 1908 is the first member of the Perpetual collection. This new collection is a reinterpretation of traditional watchmaking style imbued with quintessential watchmaking expertise and the aesthetic heritage of Rolex. The 1908 is defined by its design, which conveys the full strength of the watch’s character in the simplicity of the display and by details that confer its unique identity. This timepiece perfectly embodies the spirit of the Perpetual collection, at whose core lies the celebration of the art of watchmaking in its noblest form.
REFINED ELEGANCE OF THE CASE
The 1908 features a 39 mm case in 18 ct yellow or white gold, with gracious lines and a transparent back that allows the refined aesthetics of the movement to be admired as well as the pivoting of the oscillating weight. The curve of the lugs is highlighted thanks to a gentle chamfering on their top edges. The bezel is divided – the lower part being given an elegant fluting and the upper part domed. Made of virtually scratchproof sapphire, the domed crystal and the transparent case back benefit from an anti-reflective coating. Guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 50 meters (165 feet), the case provides optimal protection for the movement nestled inside.
PERPETUAL CALIBRE 7140
The 1908 is equipped with calibre 7140, a movement wholly developed and manufactured by Rolex, unveiled this year. A distillation of technology, this self-winding mechanical movement delivers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, convenience and reliability. Calibre 7140 demonstrates carefully finished aesthetics, notably on the bridges, which feature Rolex Côtes de Genève – a decoration that differs from traditional Côtes de
Genève for the slight polished groove between each band. Calibre 7140 incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, this escapement is resistant to strong magnetic fields. The movement also includes the patented Syloxi hairspring, produced by Rolex. This silicon hairspring has a patented geometry that ensures the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is mounted on the patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed by the brand, which increase the movement’s shock resistance. The oscillating weight is fashioned in 18 ct yellow gold and cut out. It is, furthermore, fitted with an optimized ball bearing. Calibre 7140 is equipped with a self-winding system via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 7140 extends to approximately 66 hours.
SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFICATION
Like all Rolex watches, the Perpetual 1908 is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, following the official certification of the movements by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The in-house certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The 1908 isn’t merely a new Rolex model — rather, it’s a fresh take on the very concept of the dress watch. With a slim case just 9.5mm thick, it easily slips under a cuff despite its contemporary 39mm diameter. Paired to an alligator leather strap with Dualclasp, it makes for a decidedly dressy watch, indeed, yet can easily do double duty as an elegant everyday timepiece. With four distinct references available, the 1908 is a watch whose appeal extends far and wide to all manner of collectors.
Visit Bhindi, a longtime Rolex Official Jeweler
with locations in Artesia and Glendale, CA, to learn more about the new Perpetual 1908 collection.