Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm VS Rolex Datejust 41mm
Let’s get a close look at and compare two very versatile entry-level Rolex watches.
We once wrote a very detailed but to the point comparison of the Rolex Datejust 41mm and the Rolex Datejust II. Both series have excellent timepieces with some distinguishable differences which you can read about in that post at another time. Today, however, we will be reviewing a model from the 41mm Rolex Datejust series and comparing it against the Oyster Perpetual 39mm to provide the critical information you would need to see which is best for you. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Of the ninety-plus models of 41mm Rolex Datejust currently available, the model with reference number 126300 Black Index Oyster is possibly one of the most popular, and for several reasons. We will compare it against a very similar looking watch called the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm 114300 Black Oyster.
To start, these are what most would call excellent entry-level Rolex watches and account for two of the ten most affordably priced of Rolex’s stainless steel models for men. They both have a black sunray dial which by design make them both conservative models that can be worn either while dressed up or when casually dressed.
Why is it called Oyster Perpetual? The patented Oyster case has been part of Rolex's history since 1926 which at the time provided a new tight seal by screwing down the bezel, case back, and winding crown to the middle-case of the watch. The Perpetual is in the name because of the automatic winding that occurs with the wearer's wrist movement. The kinetic energy of the wrist movement winds a rotor in the watch's caliber which tops-up the power reserve. This, in turn, keeps the watch moving in a perpetual manner. Hence the word perpetual.
Is Oyster Perpetual worth it? Yes, it's a great watch with an in-house self-winding movement that is superior to most mechanical movements in terms of precision and accuracy. In fact, most Rolex movements have a Superlative Chronometer designation that means it has to have a minimum accuracy of twice more than COSC specs, which is already considered to be excellent. At the same time, the Rolex Datejust also has this prestigious designation and very high accuracy. So for the sake of this comparison, it's not like either one is necessarily more precise than the other.
In general, new entry-level Rolex watches for men are limited. The slightly smaller Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm collection has similar aesthetic features such as the oyster bracelet and dial color and case size weighing in at a smaller yet classic size of 39mm.
The Oyster Perpetual 39mm has luminous material in the hands and a slight difference in terms of the luminous index hour markers that are punctuated with a square-shaped printed 5-minute marker. The Datejust 41mm, on the other hand, uses printed numerals for the 5-minute intervals combined with the same type of luminous applied index hour markers. Another feature that stands out on the Datejust 41 is the cyclops magnifying lens over the date window at the 3 o'clock position. The Oyster Perpetual 39mm doesn't feature a cyclops lens.
While the watch case is only a few millimeters smaller than the Datejust 41mm model that we are also reviewing here, and while the 39mm Oyster Perpetual has a lower price, there are big differences on the inside of the watch and significant reasons to opt for the 41mm Datejust model over the Oyster Perpetual 39mm if it’s still within your price range.
Another thing you can expect to not get from one of these more affordable models is precious metals such as yellow gold or white gold in the case and bracelet material.
Luxury watches have been showing a growing trend in having a larger and more prominent case size. The most recent models from just about every manufacturer at this point have been showing bigger and bolder case sizes. However, that shouldn’t be the main reason why you would choose the 41mm Black Index Oyster Rolex Datejust 126300. Then there is the movement...
One of the main reasons to choose the 41mm Datejust over the 39mm Oyster Perpetual lies beneath the solid steel case back. The beating heart powering the Rolex Datejust 41mm watch is the Rolex in-house caliber 3235 which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a much longer power reserve of 70 hours on a full wind compared to the 48-hour power reserve found in the caliber 3132 that powers the 39mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch.
However, here is some good news! Rolex introduced some new models that include larger versions such as the Oyster Perpetual 41mm and a mid-sized version called the Oyster Perpetual 36mm are powered by a new and slightly different in-house Rolex movement called caliber 3230. This new automatic movement has a longer (almost 3 day) power reserve duration of 70 hours to match that of the Datejust 41mm. For those that love and follow modern style, they also have some new and more modern looking vibrant dial colors in each of these collections but none that have fluted bezel options.
At least twice a year you will find another reason (although a practical and simple one) to appreciate choosing the 41mm model and that would be the clasp. The clasp on the Rolex Datejust 41mm 126300 has a special feature called the Easylink 5mm comfort extension link, allowing you to without any tools, make small adjustments to the bracelet size to compensate for the way the wrist expands and contracts when exposed to changes in humidity and temperature. While this collection does have a date window, but no day-date function. That is a feature found in a whole different collection. You can read a review about one of them in one of our blog posts by clicking here.
The Oyster Perpetual 39mm watch, on the other hand, has a clasp that also allows for micro-adjustments to be made but would require a tool to make these small adjustments to the folding buckle.
Conclusion: Both watches have great features. The 39mm Oyster Perpetual watch has a price tag that is approximately $2,300 less than the Datejust but comes without the added date window that you will find on the Datejust 41mm and doesn’t feature the Easylink comfort extension link also found on the Datejust. The mechanical movement powering the Rolex Datejust 41mm features a significantly longer power reserve duration of 70-hours compared to the Oyster Perpetual 39mm which has a power reserve of only 48-hours.
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