The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31
WOW Singapore|WOW Jewellery 2021
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31 causes a scene with its aubergine dial, giving us a chance to look at the collection in greater depth
Ashok Soman

The difference between the pedestrian and the extraordinary can be a fine line, as far as watchmaking goes. Once a new watch arrives in stores, we begin to get a real sense of where that line might be, as far as that model goes. This is a complicated affair, and we usually advise careful consideration over impulsive action. Generally speaking, this is why some models take off in popularity after a few years. There are exceptions to every rule though, which brings us to our jewelry watch of the year, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31. Arguably, every watch that bears the name Rolex is an immediate contender for your wrist, especially if you are driven by the idea that a watch should express a sense of value and power while being tough enough to wear as a daily beater. But this does not explain the allure of the watch at all.

Normally, we do not delve into the subject of why a watch is attractive - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the images alone should do the job. However, in electing to put this on our cover, we can offer an explanation of why we made this decision. After putting the Patek Philippe Twenty~4 on the cover last year, it felt appropriate to complete the picture of what might be the most desirable ladies' watches in the world. If you recall our 2019 edition, which does feel like it was a lifetime ago, then an obvious objection might come to mind: that Twenty~4 was entirely new while the Datejust 31 is not. Fair enough, but the appeal of the Datejust 31 is just now coming into its own.

We did not expect to return to the Datejust so soon, given that Rolex had launched a few versions last year, including the Datejust 31 and the Datejust 36. For 2020 - and until new models are revealed in April - there are several new Datejust 31 models to discuss. We noted last year that the new Datejust 31 model was distinguished by its date display and the Jubilee bracelet; for 2020, both Oyster and Jubilee bracelets are in play. One thing all versions share this year is that the bracelets are entirely in Oystersteel, even in the Rolesor models.

All previous versions and options for the Date just overall remain in the collection, so we will not be discussing missed opportunities and the like. There are, however, so many options here that going back to basics is necessary. It is worth remembering, for example, that the Jubilee bracelet was launched in 1945 with the Oyster Perpetual Datejust. Purists will want to consider that. Avid fans of watchmaking, in general, will also recall how the Date just got its name - it was the first wristwatch with a simple date indicator. So, Date just literally means Just the Date, and it was revolutionary in 1945.

For convenience, we are repurposing our story on the Datejust overall from last year to add context and detail. It follows immediately after this story.

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