Affordable Alternatives to Rolex Oyster Perpetual
 

Affordable Alternatives to Rolex Oyster Perpetual

3 min read
Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Charlotte Harris

Brands

Rolex

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

We all know that Rolex makes watches of exceptional quality. It’s one of the reasons the notorious Swiss watchmaker is so highly sought-after. They also have a varied selection of designs for every situation; you have the sporty Daytona, the water-resistant Submariner and the aviation-inspired Air King. Then, for their most visually simple design, you have the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, a watch that is arguably one of the best go-anywhere-do-anything watches. 

The Oyster Perpetual was launched in 1926 by founder Hans Wildorf and was not only Rolex’s first watch but also the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. It was named Oyster for its hermetically sealed case designed to keep water, dust and other substances away from the movement inside.  A few years later, in 1931, Rolex patented a self-winding movement that could be perpetually wound, hence the addition of ‘Perpetual’ to the end of the Rolex Oyster’s name.  


Oyster Perpetual Date on Original Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap. Credit: WatchGecko.

 
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Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown
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£68.00
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Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Black
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Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
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Since then, the Oyster Perpetual has become Rolex’s most easily wearable design, celebrated for its timeless aesthetics and perfect blend of form and function. It still maintains the robust Oyster case, a water resistance of 100 metres, versatile sizing and a range of colourful dials. It’s a popular daily beater for good reason but due to its scarcity and financially weighty price tag, it’s not a watch that’s easily available to everyone.  

So, what affordable alternatives to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual are there? Thankfully, there’s quite a few and while we’re not saying any of these watches live up to the legacy of the Oyster, they do offer fantastic sets of specs, equally classic design DNA and affordable price points. 

 Here are our favourites... 

Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic 

Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic. Credit: Christopher Ward.

British watchmaker Christopher Ward has their own set of sports watches to rival the Oyster Perpetual. Designed in England but made in Switzerland, the C63 Sealander is an affordable go-anywhere-do-anything watch retailing from £685. The 150-metre water resistant cases arrive in sizes of 36mm or 39mm with excellent polished and brushed finishing across the bezels, case sides and five-row link bracelets. There’s a stunning range of dial colours to choose from – the 36mm Mulberry being a personal favourite – all powered by the Sellita SW200-1 movement. 

Seiko King Seiko 

King Seiko. Credit: Seiko.

 
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£68.00
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£68.00
Classic Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Black
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Classic Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Chocolate Brown
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£68.00
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£68.00
Classic Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown
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Like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the Seiko King Seiko collection is best known for its simple dial layout and impressive mechanics. The range is home to several references measuring between 37mm and 39mm, the smaller of the lot sized very close to the original King Seiko’s from the 1960’s. They offer the same sharp, angular profiles, brushed and polished surfaces and box-shaped sapphire crystal glass. There’s a bunch of dial colours to choose from and depending on your budget, you can elect the higher-end Calibre 6L35 with an accuracy of -10/+15 seconds per day from £2,830 or the 15/+25 seconds per day-rated Calibre 6R31 from £1,560.  

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80. Credit: Tissot.

The Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 is another one of those extremely versatile and daily-beater certified watches that punches far above its £800 price tag. This one’s a Swiss made sports watch with a 40mm wide brushed stainless steel case, brightly polished fixed bezel and a multi-finished three-row link bracelet. There’s also sapphire crystal glass, a 100-metre water resistance and an exhibition case back. The Gentleman’s biggest draw, however, is the Powermatic 80 movement which delivers a weekend-proof 80-hour power reserve and an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. 

BALL Engineer III Marvelight 

BALL Engineer III Marvelight. Credit BALL Watch Company.

Our final recommendation for those looking for an affordable alternative to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual comes from Swiss-American watchmaker BALL. BALL Watch Company is one of those watch brands that doesn’t quite get enough attention in our eyes. They engineer some incredibly attractive, robust and anti-magnetic sports watches, the Engineer III Marvelight being one of them. For just £2,181, you get a 904L stainless steel case, chronometer-certified automatic winding movement and BALL’s patented micro gas tube technology on the dial – we’re talking insanely bright lume that never needs recharging in sunlight.  

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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