Rolex Oyster Perpetual - Celebration Motif, 2023
We can all remember 2020, when Rolex shocked the masses by coming out with a range of “candy-colored” dialed Rolex Oyster Perpetuals. The solid lacquered dial colors ranged from a vivid turquoise blue, to coral red/orange, yellow, green, and pink to the classic blue, black, and champagne. The sizes ranged from very small, all the way up to 41mm on some of the color combinations.
Initially the community response was mixed, but very quickly these candy colored iterations became all the rage, with the turquoise 41mm iteration specifically reaching insanely high prices (upwards of $60k or more) on the secondhand market. Personally I loved the collection, particularly the turquoise, pink, and green iterations. They were fun, meticulously designed, and felt like rare and special versions of a classic Rolex that would stand the test of time. The solid colors also made the watches easily complement any wardrobe or style. I own a turquoise OP 41 and still love it today. The colorful 2020 iteration of this watch still feels like a classic Rolex, even though the styling was a bit outside of the box. After a few versions were discontinued, the demand grew even higher for these Oyster Perpetuals.
So what did Rolex do to the Oyster Perpetual this year in 2023? Instead of perhaps improving upon some of the successful solid colors of the previous release, Rolex decided to just put all the 2020 dial colors together on one dial in a random circular bubble pattern. Now it’s like having all the candy colors on your wrist at one time! More is more?
The primary dial color is turquoise or “tiffany blue,” with approximately 80% of the dial being covered with colored bubbles of various sizes, each outlined in black. Reminiscent of a Kandinsky painting, or perhaps a plastic ball pit at the children’s local play zone, the circular disks in red, green, turquoise, pink and yellow are haphazardly stacked on the dial covering most of the surface. If I am being honest, It’s giving Swatch Flik-Flak vibes. (Perhaps a missed opportunity for a bio-ceramic Swatch and Rolex co-lab, like OMEGA did, no? – that I’d actually be interested in!)
Rolex is calling this design the “celebration motif” but it’s unclear what exactly we are celebrating and whether or not this will be a celebration for Rolex. Being whimsical isn’t entirely off-brand for Rolex, as we have seen it done before throughout the years, but this particular design seems like it would only appeal to a very specific Rolex aficionado. I thought the 2020 palm fronds Datejust was niche, but this one seems even more niche, if that’s possible.
So is it a celebration? Honestly... any time a new Rolex is released it’s a celebration because the quality, heritage, and attention to detail of every Rolex is just so palpable. Rolex has worked hard for over a century to build a strong brand reputation that makes it safe and acceptable to take these types of stylistic risks. Rolex is king and they can do pretty much whatever they want because of it. You can’t make everyone happy, and if Rolex took no risks they’d be chastised just as much for playing it safe. Regardless of whether people like it or not, it’ll probably be sold out and impossible to get, and will undoubtedly be discontinued by next year, making it even more of a unicorn.
Some people will truly love the multi-colored whimsical bubble dial and if nothing else, it’ll be an expensive conversation starter. However for me, much like putting a whole handful of skittles in your mouth all at once—it's just a bit too much.
Oyster Perpetual Reference: 124300 (41mm)
Movement: calibre 3230 (on the larger iterations)
MSRP: 41mm version, $6,400
Sizing: Available in 31mm, 36mm, and 41mm.
Bracelet: Rolex Oyster Bracelet