Considered one of Rolex’s “flagship” watch models, the Oyster was released way back in 1926. As the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster was indeed a standard bearer that laid important structural and design foundations that many later Rolex models would be based on. For instance, most of the Rolex watches made today, nearly 90 years later, use the same case design as the original Oyster. And it’s the charter member of the exclusive Oyster Professional collection of Rolex watches, which came into being in 1953.
So what was the thinking behind the Rolex Oyster? Basically, the Oyster is a timepiece with the hands-on professional in mind. Hence, the layout and design is built around functionality, durability, and utility. From the beginning, the Oyster was meant to be more than a timepiece; it was intended a functional tool. Oysters are equipped with sturdier cases and extra safety features, and they undergo rigorous laboratory testing to ensure that they hold up under the most extreme conditions. This durability makes them perfect for enterprising race car drivers, pilots, divers, climbers, explorers, as well as those involved in scientific and/or industrial work.
Rolex Oyster Professional Category
As mentioned, the Rolex Oyster Professional category was born in 1953. The category comprises several highly utilitarian watch models, with a few prominent examples listed below:
- The Submariner – Used by divers, the Submariner was the first waterproof timepiece to depths of 100 meters. It also featured a cool rotatable bezel, perfect for divers to track how long they’d been underwater.
- The Explorer – A truly iconic timepiece, the Explorer was created to commemorate the crowning achievement of Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay braving brutal conditions to scale Mt. Everest in 1953.
- The GMT-Master – Intercontinental travel increased dramatically in the mid-50’s, and pilots needed to be able to keep track of time across multiple time zones. This led to the birth of the GMT-Master in 1955, which became the official timepiece of many of the prominent airlines of the day.
- The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss – Unveiled in 1956, the Milgauss was created for the scientific community. Designed to withstand magnetic interference, the Milgauss repels up to 1,000 gauss, hence the name.
- The Cosmograph Daytona – Named in honor of the famous Florida speedway, the Cosmograph, released in 1963, was a racing watch that paid homage to daring race drivers of the day.
The Oyster Professional lines includes several other noteworthy models, including the Day-Date, The Deep Sea Special, The Sea Dweller, and The Yacht-Master, among others. And they’re all built upon the rock-solid foundation of the original Rolex Oyster, which boasted ingenious design principles for adverse conditions that remain effective to this day. That’s the shining legacy of the Oyster, and one of the many reasons it has gone down in history as a Rolex classic.
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