Rolex Gem-set Timepieces: Exquisite Expressions of Decadence

Nothing says joie de vivre like diamonds, as Rolex demonstrates with four timepieces of unparalleled resplendence.

Sep 10, 2021 | By LUXUO
Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust, 28 mm, 18 ct yellow gold
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust is in the lineage of the Datejust, the emblematic model that has been a byword for style and accurate timekeeping. Image: Rolex

For an object of such diminutive stature, the wristwatch often has an outsized presence. The bon vivant will absolutely love these four outstanding Rolex watches — while the captivating shine of their diamonds and precious materials will draw in everyone else. The Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust, Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39, and two Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 watches all demonstrate the wondrous pairing of diamonds and precious metals found in the finest of watches by Rolex.

Precious metals such as gold and platinum come to us from the stars, literally. They were born in the hearts of giant stars that exploded and scattered the particles across the universe. Diamonds, by way of contrast are born in the depths of the Earth over the course of a billion years. Through their unique brilliance and the extreme care taken in their setting, the high-quality precious stones selected by Rolex endow gem-set watches with unbridled prestige.

Using only the highest quality gemstones, Rolex own in-house gemmologists and gem-setters work in perfect harmony to reveal the diamond’s radiance. The process begins by sourcing the most striking stones, and then deciding how best to showcase them. As the art of gem-setting lies in ensuring that the sparkle and beauty of each stone is fully revealed, the Rolex gem-setter expertly sets each stone, one by one, taking care to ensure symmetry in size and placement — Rolex tolerates variances of no more than 2 hundredths of a millimetre, which is around a quarter of the diameter of a human hair. A final polish makes the tiny metal settings shine, intensifying the watch’s splendour.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust

Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust
The Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust is Rolex’s classic feminine watch par excellence. It is one of the most varied lines in the Oyster Perpetual collection, distinguished by its elegance and refinement. Image: Rolex

The classic Rolex feminine watch, the Lady-Datejust benefits from all the attributes of the Datejust, the emblematic Rolex watch that has been a byword for style and technical performance ever since its launch in 1945. The feminine version of the iconic chronometer, the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust first appeared in 1957, showcasing the elegance of the Datejust in a small 28 mm size perfectly suited to a slender wrist, and it has retained its iconic size since that time.

Available in Oystersteel, in 18 ct yellow or Everose gold, or in Rolesor versions that combine both Oystersteel and 18 ct gold, the Lady-Datejust comes in a wealth of versions to perfectly reflect the different personalities of its wearers. The range of materials of the Lady-Datejust is equalled only by a stunning range of bracelets and subtle dials that enhance its style.

A fluted, domed or diamond-set bezel? Exclusive, shimmering dials paved with diamonds or the fascinating hues of mother-of-pearl? Simple or gem-set hour markers, or even Roman numerals? The many faces of the Lady-Datejust make this model one of the most varied in the Oyster Perpetual collection.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust in 18 ct yellow gold fitted with a diamond-paved dial and a diamond-set President bracelet

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust 28

A showstopper of a wristwatch unveiled this year, the Lady-Datejust is paved with sparkling diamonds, with its 18 ct yellow gold case and President bracelet just peeking out between the prongs. The case sides and lugs of the new Lady-Datejust are set with 158 brilliant-cut diamonds as well as 44 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel. The President bracelet sparkles with a further 596 brilliant-cut diamonds. Showcasing the captivating shine of the diamonds that adorn every surface, the dial is fully paved with 291 diamonds. For an added touch of splendour, the dial also features 18 ct yellow gold Roman numerals that bear a lustrous black finish.

The function of timekeeping itself is uncompromised in the Lady-Datejust, with the watch carrying the Superlative Chronometer certification. This new version of the Lady-Datejust is equipped with calibre 2236, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. It boasts several patents and offers outstanding performance in terms of precision (+/-2 seconds per day), power reserve (approximately 55 hours), resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. Especially notable here is the fact that calibre 2236 uses the Syloxi hairspring, which was patented and produced by Rolex. This silicon hairspring remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks, and its patented geometry ensures the calibre’s regularity in any position.

Get up-close to the Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster

Gem-Setting of a Pearlmaster Bracelet
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster holds a special place in the Oyster collection; it represents the height of exquisiteness with precious metals and gemstones. Image: Rolex

The pearl in the Oyster collection, the Pearlmaster is synonymous with elegance and brilliance. First introduced in 1992, the Pearlmaster shares some characteristics with the Datejust. This descendant of Rolex’s emblematic Datejust model displays the date, magnified by a Cyclops lens, in a window at 3 o’clock. Only available in 18 ct white or Everose gold, the Pearlmaster is a vivacious blend of watchmaking expertise and artful gem-setting, with its own defining hallmarks. Precise and lavish gem-setting is one such element, with a harmoniously contoured Pearlmaster bracelet being another. All in all, the collection is an exquisite expression of refinement with gently rounded styling.

With its softly curved lines, the Pearlmaster bracelet, entirely set with diamonds, contributes to the distinctive character and sophistication of the watch and offers the wearer maximum comfort. Created especially for the Pearlmaster in 1992, this solid gold bracelet with round five-piece links is fitted with a concealed Crownclasp — which is opened using a Rolex crown-shaped lever — adding to the watch’s aesthetic appeal and ease of use. The bracelet includes ceramic inserts inside the links to enhance its flexibility and longevity.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39 in 18 ct Everose gold with dial paved with 713 diamonds, featuring a diamond-set bezel, case and signature Pearlmaster bracelet

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39

The Oyster case of the Pearlmaster 39, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and elegance. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of 18 ct white or Everose gold. Its case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only certified Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Pearlmaster’s movement.

Be dazzled by the Oyster Perpetual Pearlmaster 39

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date

Day-Date 36 - 18 CT Yellow Gold
: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date was the first calendar wristwatch to indicate, in addition to the date, the day of the week spelt out in full in a window on the dial — a technical feat at the time. Image: Rolex

Launched in 1956, the Day-Date was the ultimate watch of prestige, and remains so to this day. Watches in the Day-Date range are made only of precious metals — 18 ct yellow, white or Everose gold or 950 platinum. If the spotlight gravitates to you, the Day-Date is a fitting companion, as demonstrated by the many US presidents and eminent figures who have chosen it. The appeal of the collection first captivated President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, leading the Day-Date to be known as the “president’s watch”. All Day-Date watches are equipped with the President bracelet, which was specially created for the watch.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 in 18 ct yellow gold, with a turquoise dial, diamond-set bezel and a President bracelet

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36

Resplendent at every angle, the turquoise stone dial and diamond-set Roman numeral hour markers give this Day-Date 36 an air of elevated sophistication, with its diamond-set bezel acting to draw the eye of every onlooker. The middle case is crafted out of a solid block of 18 ct yellow gold, as is the fluted caseback, and the President bracelet. Its distinctive dial features hour markers in 18 ct gold, set with 32 diamonds, and a Roman VI and IX in 18 ct gold, set with 24 diamonds accompanied by the instantly recognisable President bracelet represents the ultimate in refinement and comfort. Like all Rolex watches, the Day-Date 36 s covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015.

Discover the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 in 18 ct yellow gold

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 in 18 ct white gold, with a diamond-paved dial, diamond-set bezel and a diamond-set President bracelet

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36

The dial of the opulent Day-Date 36 features 10 baguette-cut, rainbow-coloured sapphires that function as the hour markers. These contrast brilliantly with the diamond-paved dial, creating a sparkling symphony to enhance the watch and enchant the wearer, and everyone around her. To deliver this alchemy of sublime grandeur, Rolex gem-setters have to work carefully and meticulously. They finely carve the precious metal to hand-shape the seat in which each gemstone will be perfectly lodged. Besides the intrinsic quality of the stones, several other criteria contribute to the beauty of Rolex gem-setting: the precise alignment of the height of the gems, their orientation and position, the regularity, strength and proportions of the setting as well as the intricate finishing of the metalwork.

Fuelled by a storied legacy, no efforts were spared in crafting the new-generation movement, calibre 3255. Developed and manufactured by Rolex, calibre 3255 boasts 14 patents and, thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of this movement extends to approximately 70 hours with an accuracy of +/-2 seconds a day.

Uncover the unbridled splendour of the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 in 18 ct white gold

Visit The Hour Glass to discover your very own Rolex watch

Back to top