Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36: Singapore Price And Review

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Rolex updates its timeless classic, the Datejust.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36

It goes without saying there was much apprehension in the lead-up to Baselworld this year, with Swatch Group and other brands leaving the fair in a change of corporate direction. As journalists, we were equally uncertain about what the remaining brands would have to offer. Granted, this year’s watches were probably conceived a few years back, but the mood was sombre and, frankly, we didn’t have very high hopes for what we would see.

As it turned out, the fair was indeed quieter and the mood reflected the watches on show. There were a couple of standout pieces from the usual suspects but that was basically it. The one thing I was not expecting, though, was to have a watch wriggle its way into my subconscious and stay with me till now. And that honour goes to the new Rolex Datejust 36.

 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36

Heading into the Rolex press presentation at Baselworld, all I wanted to do was see how the new GMT Master-II ‘Batman’ would look on the wrist compared to last year’s ‘Pepsi’. Once that was done (I still can’t decide which one I like better), we saw a bejewelled Daytona (not for the conservatives), an iced-out Day-Date with multi-coloured indexes (would totally rock it), and then, the Datejust 36.

It’s not a spectacular watch by any means - and certainly not after seeing the Daytona and Day-Date - but when I first laid eyes on it, I was completely taken. The last time this happened was with a vintage Rolex, but that’s another story for another time.

Now, many collectors will say they like a watch for its movement, history or complications but it’s entirely okay to like a watch for its aesthetics. If it’s going to be on your wrist daily, you need to like how it looks, right?

Last year’s Datejust 36, in an Everose Rolesor with Roman numerals, was decidedly more feminine and, therefore, less versatile than this year’s Ref. 126234. The new black sunray dial with baton indexes is a lot more understated and gender-neutral—something the 36mm case size appeals to as well. Couple that with the fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet, and you have a watch that throws off a classical (trying not to overuse ‘vintage’) vibe that would score you some retro-cool points.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36

Sure, we’ve seen the fluted-bezel-Jubilee-bracelet combo before, but never with a black dial and steel bracelet in a 36mm case. These might seem like minor tweaks (that’s what they said about the GMT-Master II, right?) but they work beautifully together to present a very cohesive whole that’s both minimalist and elegant.

While it’s certainly a looker, you also know that with Rolex, you’re always going to get a very reliable, accurate movement. All its pieces come with Superlative Chronometer certification, which guarantees a precision of -2/+2 seconds a day.

Calibre 3235

The Datejust 36 is powered by the Calibre 3235, which the brand calls a “new-generation movement”, as it is equipped with the patented Chronergy escapement that “combines high energy efficiency with great dependability”. Other proprietary Rolex features include the anti-magnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36

At S$11,020, the watch is pricier than the average steel Datejust, thanks to the white gold bezel, hands and hour markers. But, as mentioned earlier, its classic appeal and versatility make this a great everyday ticker. And, a month after Baselworld 2019, I’m still thinking about it.

Case

36mm Oyster case

Dial

Black glossy sunray finish

Movement

Manufacture Rolex Calibre 3235

Bracelet

Oystersteel Jubilee

Functions

Hours, minutes, seconds, instantaneous date with secure rapid-setting, stop-seconds for exact time setting

Power Reserve

70 hours

Price

S$11,020

Melissa Kong

Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".