What's new in the Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust 31mm?



The 31 mm version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust is a midsize case that is sometimes referred to as Unisex.  The DateJust lineup has also been available in 26 mm, 34 mm and 36 mm.  The 31 mm is significantly smaller and lighter than the "men's" DateJust, but it is still a Rolex and has a solid feel to it - lending to it's unisex appeal.

Rolex has launched six models at Baselworld 2019 - all in dual color or Rolesor.  There is the Datejust 31 mm in Oystersteel and yellow gold and the other is in Oystersteel and Everose gold.  There are two strap options - the Oyster Bracelet with the Oysterclasp with Easylink comfort extension links and the Jubilee bracelet with concealed folding Crownclasp.

There are significant differences in the bezel, use of diamonds, the hour markers and dial coloring throughout the 5 models. However the design of the case remains consistent.  The case is waterproof to 330 feet with its Twinlock double waterproofness system built into the screw-down winding crown.  All Rolex timepieces are covered by the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.  These DateJusts also feature Rolex's signature cyclops lens over the date aperture at the 3 o'clock position. 

The biggest feature difference that separates these new 31 mm's from older models is the new 2236 caliber movement with a 55 hour power reserve.  The Perpetual rotor self-winds bidirectionally.  It has a Syloxi hairspring in silicon and high performance Paraflex shock absorbers. The Syloxi hairspring provides stability and resistance to temperature variations - providing up to 10 times more precision than traditional hairspring in the case of shocks.  

The geometric design also ensures regular precision in any position.  It has all the basic features you would expect in a DateJust including the centre hour, minute and seconds hands.  It has an instantaneous date window with rapid date setting.   It also has a stop-seconds feature for precise time setting.  
The two models just above feature diamonds around the bezel and there is a diamond for each of the hour markers other than at the 3 o'clock position where the date window appears and the 12 o'clock position which features the Rolex crown.  All of the diamonds are surrounded by 18ct gold to prevent tarnishing on the dial.  

My preference for the first timepiece above, featuring a Rose colored dial, Rose gold and Oystersteel Oyster bracelet and fluted bezel is primarily because of its simple look.  I personally feel that the Jubilee bracelet pulls so much attention away from the timepiece, especially when the timepiece is adorned by diamonds throughout the dial and bezel.  Also the pink gold Roman numerals for the hour markers looks elegant against the Rose coloring of the dial. Of the diamond studded case designs I feel the 5th option above with the silver dial, Oyster bracelet and Rose gold and Oystersteel combination makes this a nearly perfect timepiece with no distractions other than the beautiful gemology used in the making of this timepiece.

Baselworld 2019's Launch of the New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 mm

The Rolex Datejust is the flagship product which Rolex is primarily known for.  The standard Oyster shape case is the design that the world has come to love and respect - making a Rolex, well, a Rolex.  It might seem hard to feel excited about the Datejust.  It just has a date aperture after all, right?  It isn't built for climbing like the Explorer, or for multiple time zones like the GMT Master II, or built for deep sea diving like the Submariner series.  It doesn't have the intense complexity of the President's Day Date or the Daytona. 

So, why should we stand up and applaud the new Datejust with a thunderous ovation and praise?  Think of the Datejust as a timeless dedication to perfection.  Just as you would applaud a married couple that announced their 50 year anniversary and dedication to each other, the DateJust and its creaters deserve adoration for their dedication to the perfection of the Datejust line.  The Datejust is fast approaching its 75th year since its first release in 1945.  So many models, enhancements, and options have appeared since the first launch nearly 3/4 a century ago. 

The current Datejusts are available in 28 mm, 31 mm, 34 mm, 36 mm and 41 mm.  There are many bezel options, metal options, and dial options.  Too many to cover in even a dozen articles. 

Today we are going to look at the new Rolex Datejust reference 126200, which is one of the lowest costing new Rolex models made today, starting at a mere $6800.  If you want to start your collection with a solid timepiece with the superior quality of Rolex on your wrist, this is the one to consider. Built from 904L steel, this timepiece is built to last.  It is resistant to corrosion, and can maintain its beauty even in the harshest environments. 

I had a tough decision when deciding on dial options.  Brad Pitt obviously thinks that only black dials are masculine enough to wear out and about.  However, there is something more subtle and demure with the white dial.  Add to that the classic elegance of the Roman numeral hour markers. 

This Rolex Datejust reference 126200 has a domed bezel, an Oystersteel bracelet and all the normal bells and whistles you expect with a Rolex - such as the scratch-resistant sapphire, cyclops lens over the date window and screw-down waterproofness system built into the winding crown. 

The new features of this Datejust include the carefully crafted calibre 3235.  This is a new-generation self-winding movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, combining 14 patents.  The new Datejust offers improvements in  precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. It incorporates the new Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference. 

The most notable enhancement is the added power reserve.  This new Rolex calibre 3235 can hold a charge for up to 70 hours which allows the owner to remove the timepiece on a Friday night and put it back on on Monday morning without having to set the time.  This is a perfect work timepiece.  It would look fine doing whatever you do - from blue collar work to the board room, you could be proud and secure knowing that the best timepiece in the world is on your wrist at a price tag that almost anyone can afford.



The New Features of the Rolex Presidents Day Date 36mm


The Rolex Presidents Day Date 36 mm isn't the first release of the timepiece in that case size.  Besides 36 mm it is also available in 40 mm and at one time it was released as a 41 mm.  The 36 mm is sizable but certainly lighter than the 40 mm.  It is a quality size that can fit most men and women alike. 

The biggest difference in the new 36 mm is the newly upgraded caliber 3255 which is similar to the new 3235 and 3285 released in the Datejust and GMT Master II, respectively.  It has a Chronergy escapement, a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers.  This new set of caliber's are more precise and are less susceptible to forces such as magnets or shocks.  The enhanced power reserve is the most noticeable feature for owners of this timepiece.  At 70 hours of power reserve, it is closing in quickly to a full 3 days of power reserve - nearly a third of improvement over the previous caliber.

If you have read the Chronicle for any period of time, you know that the Day Date is clearly one of my favorite Rolex timepieces.  I believe it is because it is like a monument to horological excellence, being the first to combine both the Date aperture with the day of the week spelled out.  This is uniquely useful to executives who are often so busy that it becomes easy to get lost in the mire of the day to day and forget what day you are currently residing in.  The day appears at the 12 o'clock position which is symmetrical.  Some day-dates of other timepieces have located the day in other parts of the dial, which don't seem to be appropriately placed.

The Day Date is one of the finest examples of luxury in the Rolex lineup.  The Day Date 36 is only available in   Yellow Gold, Everose Gold, and White Gold.  Some steel versions were made during the initial design phase, but this is not a "Steel" appropriate timepiece.  There are many versions but the Green Dial version of the Day Date is sensational.  It has baguette cut diamonds at the 6 and 9 o'clock positions and diamond hour markers at the other hour positions with the exception of 3 and 12 o'clock where the day of the week & 2 digit date apertures appear.

I prefer the yellow gold reference 128238 to all the other colors available.  However, the white gold version reference 128349 RBR with 52 cut diamonds around the bezel, pink opal dial and Roman numerals is an exceptional timepiece.  Although I don't exactly find myself attracted to the chocolate dial and 18 ct pink gold of the reference 128235, there is no question that many people will.

The new Day Date 36 is waterproof to 330 feet, and is fitted with an exquisite President's Bracelet.  The Rolex site gives you the option to configure your own Presidents Day Date with various gold color options, bezel choices and dial color options. 

What's New with the Rolex GMT Master II?

The New GMT Master II
The Rolex GMT Master was initially designed to help airline pilots as they traveled across timezones.  It was adopted as the official watch of Pan American World Airways.  It was also worn by the Concorde test piolots Brian Trubshaw and Andre Turcat during the 1960's.  The ability to track two timezones at once is not only a feature that help pilots, but world travelers such as businessmen, sports icons, and celebrities that need to keep a handle on both their home turf and their temporary stay at whatever city they are visiting today.

The nearly scratchproof bidirectional ceramic rotatable bezel is marked with a 24 hour clock with moulded gold or platinum for the numerals.  A red hour 2nd hour hand with a big triangular end marks the 2nd time zone hourly time.  This is a beautiful timepiece and it has been at the forefront of the finest Rolex watchmaking utilizing 10 patents filed over the course of the development.

There are several other color options available today.  Besides the Pepsi, there is a Blue and Black bezel option ("Batman"), and a black and brown bezel that looks spectacular on the Rolesor and all gold models. The 40 mm Oyster case is used throughout the models.  However, there is a new White Gold GMT-Master II that sports an Oyster bracelet. The all black bezel has been discontinued, as has the Oyster bracelet on the steel GMT.

This version of the GMT Master II has the Pepsi bezel with Blue and Red coloring helping to indicate day and night hours.  It also is displayed with a Jubilee bracelet which was introduced in 2018 built out of Oystersteel.  It is water resistant to 330 feet and utilizes a Triplock triple waterproofness system, along with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

The new Calibre 3285 that powers the new GMT Master II gives gains in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism, while increasing reliability.  The Calibre 3285 incorporates the Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference.

The movement is fitted with an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy that makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

The blue Parachrom hairspring is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring its regularity in any position. The oscillator is fitted on the Rolex-designed and -patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance.

The Calibre 3285 is equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3285 extends to approximately 70 hours.

The biggest features of the GMT Master is utility and reliability.  With the new 70 hours of power reserve, this makes the GMT even more useful to travelers who will have nearly 3 days of power reserve. Although there aren't too many new features on the new GMT Master II, the enhanced Calibre 3285 is well worth it and is significant enough of a change to warrant grand applause for the Rolex artists that continually tweak their nearly perfect artform to make it even better.

Rubber B versus Everest Comparison Review - Two Rubber Straps for Rolex Daytona Ceramic


Rubber B vs Everest - Vulcanized Rubber Bands for Rolex

As you guys know, I do not usually do product reviews. But since I decided to try a rubber strap for my new Daytona with ceramic bezel, saving the gorgeous Rolex Oyster bracelet at least for the first Summer, I figured with so many options, I would do some research and document my experience with a few curved-end rubber straps to compare (for an OEM look). So I picked the two brands that most people are always talking about: Everest Bands versus Rubber B.

When I initially sat down to buy a strap online, the first company I reached out to was Rubber B, because I have a friend who has one for his Rose Gold Daytona and he loves it. He lives in Chicago (a bit too far for me to go see his strap in person). So I asked Rubber B if they would like to provide me with a complimentary strap for a review, or a discount (thinking I would do the same for Everest as well). But their answer was a polite but solid NO. Apparently they do not offer freebies or discounts for bloggers so that was disappointing. I figured that I could just return it once inspected otherwise. In all candor, I didn't ask Everest for a discount or a freebie either after that, because I did not want to end up with a slighted opinion when comparing Rubber B to Everest, and anyway one or both straps would possibly be going back, since both companies offer a similar return policy.

If you are looking for quick honest answer without reading too much in-depth, then I’ll tell you up-front that the Rubber B strap was my personal clear winner (unless you have an extra large wrist). Read further below for all the reasons why...

First Impressions of Rubber B versus Everest:

PACKAGING:

Both Daytona straps came in their own branded envelopes (Rubber B in a rubber type envelope delivered by UPS versus Everest in a linen card stock envelope delivered via USPS). Everest included a computer print out on regular bright white paper and Rubber B receipt was printed on tan linen paper. To some it might not be a big deal and it’s understandable, however if we are to make a complete side-by-side comparison, then we have to look at all aspects of the term “Luxury”. Both straps came with various instruction, warranty or maintenance cards. Both straps came in their respective plastic sleeve package.

The Rubber B came with a very basic sticker-sealed plastic sleeve similar to what I have gotten before with my OEM Omega and Breitling straps. It does leave you wondering why luxury brands do not provide a nicer strap storage option.

Rubber B Packaging
The Everest strap came in a pleasant reusable heavy-duty plastic pouch.

Everest Packaging
Most Importantly, The Straps Themselves-


Rubber B and Everest bands side by side

RUBBER B STRAP:
Rubber B on Rolex Daytona

INITIAL THOUGHTS

When I began handling the Rubber B strap, I immediately liked it. The material is not sticky or grabby like some rubber straps are. It is smooth and has a high quality feeling to it. The color is dark black and the rubber is a more matte finish. It doesn’t scratch or scar, which is something I have noticed that does happen with my cousin’s matte rubber Rolex OysterFlex bracelet that came on his Rose Gold Yachtmaster 40mm. In contrast, the Rubber B strap has a very smooth matt surface that doesn’t scratch and it is soft (flexible). It bends easily and nicely around my wrist. Overall, the material feels more robust than the Everest band (which I describe further down).

Rubber B open and closed

RUBBER B STRAP DESIGN

Regarding design, there are a few things I noticed about the Rubber B strap: It does not seem to have any division or fusion marks along the sides. It is all black with no type of glossy finish. The design is sharp with a distinct T-shape that mimics a Rolex end link connection but then tapers and gradually dissipates down towards the buckle.

Close-up of the tight integration of the Rubber B band to the Rolex Daytona case

RUBBER B TANG BUCKLE

This 18mm buckle in stainless steel has a nice medium weight feeling and a polish that matches the Rolex watch steel (a brushed finish). Something that did come as a surprise to me was the Rubber B tang buckle having a spring-bar which is easy to remove and looks sharp because it does not have any holes or screws on the side that can wear with time.

Rubber B Tang Buckle

RUBBER B STRAP COMFORT AND WRIST FITMENT

The Rubber B tang buckle band is shorter than the Everest band, especially on the 6 o’clock side. This is a positive aspect for me personally because my wrist size is standard so the Rubber B doesn’t overwhelm my 6.75” wrist. I really like the fit of the Rubber B because it looks like is made for my wrist circumference. There is not too much left hanging over the design. The retainer loops are a bit thinner than I would have expected. This is good for looks and comfort (not bulky), but I’ll see how long they will last under long-term pressure. The Rubber B strap material being so dense, my initial thoughts were that it would feel thick on my wrist, especially in comparison with the Rolex bracelet. But the strap is actually surprisingly very light to wear, comfortable and not stiff or bulky at all. I will add more long-term information after the strap has been worn for a while, to report if the strap stays as comfortable as it is at first (I once bought a cuff for my Rolex Deepsea, which felt comfortable for a day or two and then I wanted to rip it off my arm it got so irritating). Thankfully this shouldn't happen with the Rubber straps according to my friends with more Rubber B experience.

Rubber B Vulcanized Rubber Bracelet from different angles
Notice in this quad photo above that the Rubber B buckle sits in a comfortable spot on my wrist and the strap tip doesn’t wrap too far around my arm.

RUBBER B MATERIAL DESCRIPTION

The Rubber B rubber feels like the type of rubber used in car tires, but much more flexible. It is smooth and matte. It is dense, and the color is a true dark black (more black than tires though). The strap altogether feels similar to my Omega and AP straps, even though those designs are different. I really couldn't tell the difference feeling wise, so if you have one of those rubber straps then you basically are already familiar with Rubber B material.

Rolex Daytona after Rubber B installation
RUBBER B INSTALLATION

Rubber B straps are made for one watch case (like Daytona and GMT II Ceramic have the same case), and therefore the Rubber B’s do not come with any pins or spring bars and it does not fit other watches like Submariner. I was able to easily slip my Rolex Daytona spring-bar into the Rubber B strap’s hard insert area, and the pin sat there hugged nicely in during the install. It was an easy mount using my Burgeon tool. The second spring-bar tip just clicked right in and I jiggled the strap while dangling it with the weight of the watch over the table, just to be sure it was locked (which it was). I did use painter’s tape to protect my lug backs during install FYI.

EVEREST BAND
Everest Band on a Rolex Daytona
INITIAL THOUGHTS

The Everest band looked nice upon first sight out of the package. It is bizarrely much lighter weight than I was expecting, and it feels quite different from the Rubber B strap rubber. The surface of the Everest band has a silky slick feel to the touch. The strap is extremely lightweight (not dense) and flips and flops a lot as you handle it. I noticed this because the strap came with some pins already positioned inside the lug area insert, and as I handled the strap inspecting it, the pins accidentally fell out onto the table a few times (with one rolling onto the floor). The hole of the Everest pin shaft is fatter than the actual pin diameter for some reason. The Rubber B strap did not have this issue, since the pin shaft of that strap was identical diameter to my Rolex Daytona pins. With the Rubber B, I could handle the strap and attach to the lugs without the pins falling out. The grip and fit on the Daytona case were firm, whereas the Everest band did have a slight loose feeling.

A couple of other things I noticed when further inspected: Although the rubber of the Everest band was “black”, it is not a pure deep black color. It had some sort of a glossy grey finish. For my black dial Daytona Ceramic I would prefer a darker black.
Deeper black coloring on the Rubber B band and lighter black on the Everest band

It also seems that the Everest strap construction is maybe divided in two pieces with an odd line that goes from top to bottom (like a fused seem or maybe its just a mark along the side (facing camera) from the creation process that was not sanded away in the finishing). There is a slight bulging of the rubber beside each lug, like the strap is squeezed a bit, but that doesn’t bother me too much. Overall, it’s a good strap and I would wear it if it were my only option. I do keep going back to the material difference with Rubber B, because the Everest feels like it has a mixture of something like silicone that gives it the floppy feeling.

EVEREST STRAP SHAPE

The Everest design is nice enough - simple and superficial lines with a straight voluminous shaped edge. I talk more about their design at the end of this review.
Everest Rubber Band open and closed

EVEREST BAND BUCKLE

The buckle is very nice with a smooth polish, and a screw pin on the side. Mine arrived with a scratch on the side that most likely occurred during factory assembly, but not a huge complaint there. The screw pin was easy to take off and on. Both brand Rubber B and Everest buckles are pretty great and way too similar actually.
Comparison between the Rubber B tang buckle and Everest buckle

EVEREST BAND COMFORT AND WRIST FITMENT

Like the Rubber B strap, the Everest band also feels comfortable against the skin. Being very long (more than most standard sized straps), the Everest is obviously built to accommodate a broad range of extra large wrists sizes because it is so long.
Everest Bracelet from 4 different angles

The Everest band also has a lot of holes to choose from, and they are very close together. I'm not sure if this is a plus or a minus, because while providing more adjustability, it does make the strap look less elegant (much more sporty and kind of like a more affordable Hirsch type of strap). And the overall length of the Everest band is quite a bit longer than average.

Notice in this side-by-side photo that the Everest band sits quite far to the edge of my 6.75 inch wrist, whereas the Rubber B fits perfectly:
Darker Black Rubber B band has more center fit while lighter black Everest band seems to be made for much larger wrist. 


EVEREST RUBBER MATERIAL DESCRIPTION

The Everest rubber resembles a good quality car window-seal type of material (or a new squeegee). It is silky smooth, has a floppy light-weight density, and the color is not pure black (it is a lighter black). Nothing to diss. Most importantly, and similar to the Rubber B strap, this rubber also does not stick to my skin or feel tacky, and there is no vanilla or other scent (which I would hate).

INSTALLATION OF BOTH EVEREST AND RUBBER B STRAPS


Installation was very easy on both straps. I used a Bergeon spring bar tool. I suggest protecting the lugs with painting tape if you are inexperienced with removing an Oyster bracelet. The Rubber B did not come with spring bars as they state it is meant to be used only with original Rolex spring bars. The Everest band comes with 2 stainless steel spring bars that were thinner than my own bars. I decided to try both straps with the Rolex spring bars first for a thorough comparison. The Rubber B mounted perfectly on my first try. The pin slid easily into and rested in the shaft without falling out, while I worked at mounting the lug area. The spring bar clicked into position on the lug hole instantly without any pressure or forcing. Very secure and snug fit. The Everest strap also mounted very easily, however the pins do always want to slide/fall out while handling the strap. And once installed, there was a slight wiggle around the pin that I did not like. I am assuming now at this point that the Everest band might be developed for to use with another watch or maybe more watches than this one Daytona, because why would it fit so loosely? I'm not sure how safe the Everest band is, but I don't think I would worry too much if that was my only option.

INTEGRATION CALIBRATIONS OF EVEREST BAND VERSUS RUBBER B STRAP

In this criteria I will let the pictures do the talking according to your own tastes and will point out a few observations. The Rubber B strap without a doubt has a much better fitment/calibration onto my Daytona case than the Everest. The strap does not have any jiggle or movement around the pins. Plus it simply aligns perfectly with the case and lugs. The Everest strap has an integrated and nice design as well. Even though the pin shaft is so spacious around the pin itself which allows the strap to move a bit around the pin, the rubber still does seem slightly squeezed between the lugs, and you can notice a bit of pressure to the strap. This is not a huge issue, but a little detail I noticed on the Everest that the Rubber B did not have. See the pictures below to better understand.

(Sometimes my photos here show the Everest strap looking light gray in color, but that is just the lighting picking up the gloss because the strap is black, but It’s just not as black as the Rubber B in real life).

EVEREST VERSUS RUBBER B QUALITY

Here is where I have seen back and forth in other reviews and forums. I don’t think a good vulcanized rubber strap is going to have a huge “quality” argument amongst them. So we can instead consider the time-lines. When looking into the history of both brands online, I could see that Rubber B came out with the very first rubber Rolex straps in early 2011 and there was nobody else out there at that time making integration style straps for Rolex that I could find. The Rubber B straps look pretty much to have no changes in material or design since they first made the scene. Everest came along by the end of 2012 (according to their Kickstarter campaign and their Facebook page first launch Everest looks to have had several versions of their Rolex band with a few "do-overs" like the first one being made I think in the USA of TPE plastic and having an unflattering design, and then another one where they revised their design to current. Now they say on the site that the strap is vulcanized rubber.

WRIST PRESENCE

This can be completely subjective based on your own sensitivities, taste, and body type. If your wrist is standard size, then go for the Rubber B for a more upscale look and precisely calibrated fit for your watch, plus comfortable to wear. If your wrist is closer to eight inches, then definitely go for the Everest and you would be well suited with a very good and comfortable strap as well. The calibrations are not as up to par as with the Rubber B, but the design preference is personal so you may prefer the Everest over my opinions anyhow. If you are looking at the types of straps these companies offer for the Rolex deployment clasp, then that is an entirely different fit and these rules no longer apply.

Below are some various rubber straps I have currently, side by side.

Here you see the materials of my AP strap and the Rubber B strap are totally similar.


Final Thoughts

Every choice is a matter of personal preference. My winner in this comparison is obviously the Rubber B strap on several levels. It seems like its made for one watch case, whereas the Everest band having less perfect case adaptation and skinny after-market pins, seems like it is probably made to fit a different watch or a variety of watches. Rubber B is the most similar to the luxury brand stuff I’m already familiar with in both material and absolute perfect integration with the case, so it checks all of my boxes in regards to all the criteria discussed above. It’s a deep black, has a high-end look, fits me better, and feels more durable.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first review. I actually enjoyed it, and hope to do some more (Rolex watch personal reviews for beginners) very soon as well!

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