Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 vs 36mm: The Ultimate Selection Guide

Jurica Krajacic
Jurica Krajacic

For those of us who’ve just discovered the beauty of Rolex and are looking to update your watch collection, Oyster Perpetual is a great choice to start. As a Rolex entry-level, the Oyster Perpetual watch encompasses all the elegant features of what Rolex is all about. The Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex is one of the popular models, but there’s also the 36mm case size with virtually everything similar to the OP39.

Both the Oyster Perpetual 39 and 36 are crafted using stainless steel with an easy-to-read dial. They also have an automatic movement with some other minor differences that make them an ideal Rolex watch collection starter. In this review, we’ll do a Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 vs. 36mm comparison to help you make a decision on which one’s the best for you.

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The rise of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual has a rich history that traces way back, even before the watch’s manufacture. Perhaps you might be wondering what “Oyster” means. Well, it refers to how great the case is when it comes to offering water resistance.

The term is not only used in the Oyster Perpetual models but is also common among other models of Rolex watches. The Oyster case was first released in 1926 by Rolex. This case took over the world of watches as it was the first-ever watch case to be both dustproof and waterproof.

About a decade later, in 1931, Rolex paved the way for the entry of the automatic self-winding Perpetual movement, which was the first-ever in the world of watches. These two major inventions by Rolex steered the manufacture of the Oyster Perpetual, which would, later on, build the foundation for virtually every watch Rolex created after. The artistry has remained in use by Rolex for almost a century.

The Oyster Perpetual 36mm

This watch is officially recognized by Rolex as the Oyster Perpetual 116600, but generally, most people are familiar with the OP36. Rolex launched this watch in 2014 at Baseworld, which signaled a whole new direction for the company’s most affordable elegant watch collection.

With a time-only dial display and a classic sporting case, the 36mm Oyster Perpetual is an ideal watch that suits both men and women.  Its smooth domed bezel plus the Oyster bracelet further complement the stainless steel appeal of the OP36 watch.

When Rolex first introduced this elegant watch, they decided to introduce a more youthful approach by offering multiple colors of the dial. These dial colors range from gray, neutral black, vibrant blue, red grape, yellow, to white. The Oyster Perpetual 116600 also has another option of an Explorer-dial displaying the 3/6/9 numerals with baton markers. The OP36 is powered by a Cal 3130 automatic movement that gives the watch a power reserve of up to 48 hours.

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The Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex

The Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex has 114300 as its official identity. It’s an extension of the Oyster Perpetual collection released in 2015. The OP39 was the first-ever release of the collection with a larger Oyster case. The 39mm case is perfectly suited for men, but women can also look glamorous with the watch on their wrists.

OP39 is much more similar to its 36mm counterpart and has a range of colors for the dial, including red grape, blue, dark rhodium, black, and white. If the dial color is more of a concern for you, just note that the Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex also features little conspicuous colors around the dial’s periphery. The dark rhodium, for instance, has numerous turquoise accents, the red grape dial has some red accents, while the blue dial features lime green accents.

The Oyster Perpetual  114300 also has identical features to the other contemporary Oyster Perpetual timepieces. It features a stainless steel Oyster bracelet and a smooth domed bezel. Unlike its smaller counterpart, the OP39 is powered by the Cal 3131 automatic movement.

The movement features Paraflex shock absorbers and a Parachrom hairspring which come in handy to make the watch withstand all the bustles of everyday life. The watch also has an accuracy rating of plus/minus two, with a power reserve that can last up to 48 hours.

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Choosing Between Oyster Perpetual 39 and 36

Like almost every other watch model produced by the luxury watch builder, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is generally a great investment to consider. The watch is a timeless piece and undeniably classic, meaning that you can never lack a market for it.

Both the Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex and the Oyster Perpetual 36mm have an excellent ability to retain their high quality and value for years, despite undergoing constant wear from daily use. The watches are robust, waterproof, and stable, hence a worthwhile investment to consider.

They both share similar dial characteristics, which may make it a little daunting to decide. For many years, Rolex has been creating blue-chip timepieces with a blue luminous substance known as Chromalight. The Oyster Perpetual brought about the green Super-LumiNova, which was a refresh to the dials, but you’ll also find the familiar blue glow still present in the 36mm and 39mm dials as well as the other OP models.

When it comes to choosing between the OP39 and OP36, it all depends on your size preference and some finer peculiarities that each watch has.

An important differentiator between the 36mm and 39mm models is the style of the markers. The 36mm has the double-baton-style marker set in which the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock markets appear in a double-barrel style. This style is also present in the 41mm model, but not in the 39mm. And that’s why OP39 lovers lament this design on the 36mm.


If you were to make a choice based on style, the Oyster Perpetual 39 Rolex is very similar to the Oyster Perpetual 36. The notable difference comes in the size of the case and the style of the 3/6/9 o’clock markers.  The price differences are also negligible between these two models. So, it will boil down to size preference-one that fits your wrist best.

Whichever choice you go with, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch is a great investment and a worthy choice to include in your Rolex collection. Just be sure that you spot the peculiar traits that make a Rolex genuine because the counterfeit manufacturers are becoming better every day in copying the authentic design of Rolex.

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