Rolex’s colorful new Oyster Perpetual watches brighten up 2020

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The name Rolex may conjure images of brawny tool watches that have famously made extreme treks to the top of Mount Everest and the depths of the Mariana Trench. But this fall, the Swiss brand is showing off its fashion sense, and we’re here for it.

Among the 2020 models unveiled last month are a range of Oyster Perpetual 36s ($5,600) fitted with vibrant lacquer dials in alluring shades of candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, coral red and green. After dark, the dials light up with the brand’s luminous, bright-blue Chromalight material, which has been applied to the hands and hour markers.

Under the hood, these whimsical Oysters boast the advanced mechanical watchmaking and water resistance (down to 330 feet) Rolex is famous for.

The 36-mm stainless-steel watches are powered by the same cutting-edge caliber 3230 mechanism used in the Oyster Perpetual 41 (above, $5,900) — another new addition to the range. The larger 41-mm numbers offer a choice of dials, including a silvery sunray-finish with yellow-gold hour markers and hands and a black sunray-finish with whitegold hands and hour indexes. Even more significant for die-hard Rolex fans, it’s the same movement used in the newly updated Oyster Perpetual Submariner dive-watch range.

The cult-favorite Submariner now boasts an optimized engine and a redesigned case that’s been slightly upsized.

The cult-favorite Submariner now boasts an optimized engine and a redesigned case that’s been slightly upsized (from 40 mm to 41 mm) and fitted with a remodeled bracelet. But a warning: If you want one, be prepared to wait in a long line.

So what makes the new caliber 3230 movement so impressive?

Rolex filed numerous patents for its advanced technology, including a high-efficiency Chronergy escapement, made of nickel-phosphorus to resist magnetic fields. In addition, the optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, made from an exclusive paramagnetic alloy, delivers far superior precision over a traditional hairspring. And shock resistance has been enhanced with Rolex’s high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers.

Fitted with a bidirectional self-winding Perpetual rotor, the automatic caliber 3230’s barrel architecture — along with the escapement’s efficiency — extends the power reserve to about 70 hours. And if accuracy’s your thing, the brand’s Superlative Chronometer certification ensures time-keeping performance from minus 2 to plus 2 seconds per day.

Beauty, after all, is nothing without brains.

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