Skip to main content

Celebrating the Brilliance of the Rolex Pearlmaster Collection

By Ming Lui | 4 minute read

Pearlmaster Main Hub Image.png

Thirty years after its launch, the “pearl of the Oyster collection” continues to shine a light on the brand’s gem-setting genius, says Ming Lui.

Bejewelled watches have always turned heads, but the most beautiful are really having their moment right now. It’s fitting, then, that the Rolex Pearlmaster – considered the ‘crowning jewellery watch’ of the Oyster collection – is celebrating its 30th birthday this year.

Distinguishable by its 18ct white or Everose gold case and bracelet, and the flair and precision afforded by the setting of its precious gemstones, the Rolex Pearlmaster has been described by Watches of Switzerland Group senior watch buyer Faye Soteri, as “truly an exquisite creation.” Elegant models set with classic mother-of-pearl dials sit alongside rarer interpretations, such as one with a lotus pattern etched onto a moody and dark mother-of-pearl dial. Or there are brighter, more vivid models with sapphire-set bezels that exude warm sunset shades or majestic blue-violets. But to properly channel 2022’s maximalist mood, cue the wall-to-wall diamond Pearlmaster 39 ‘pavé’, set with no less than 713 stones on the dial and a further 36 on the bezel - not to mention those embedded over every inch of the bracelet.

The Rolex Pearlmaster made its first appearance in 1992, with roots in the Oyster Perpetual Datejust, an ultra-classic collection that helped shape Rolex history. Created in 1945, the Datejust was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the date in a window at 3 o’clock on the dial; in 1953, Rolex added a magnifying lens – and today, that Cyclops lens is among the brand’s most standout signatures and fitted to every Pearlmaster.

The Pearlmaster’s water-resistance and chronometer specifications also offer a meander through the history books of Rolex. Robustness comes courtesy of a middle case crafted from a solid block of either 18 ct white or Everose gold, fitted with a Twinlock winding crown, first patented in 1953, ensuring waterproofness to 100 metres/330 feet.

The Pearlmaster’s self-winding movements have also evolved with Rolex patent history. The 34 mm and 39 mm models in particular are powered by calibres 2236 and 3235, respectively – which today feature the watchmaker’s most enhanced specifications. Calibre 2236 has been equipped with a Syloxi hairspring in silicon, a five-patent invention that Rolex unveiled in 2014 for precision in smaller watches. Meanwhile, calibre 3235 has the latest version of the brand’s blue Parachrom hairspring, in a paramagnetic alloy, which Rolex first patented in 2000. What’s more, both hairsprings can withstand an impressive range of temperature variations and boast up to 10 times more precision than a traditional hairspring when subject to shock testing.

Speaking of testing, since 2015, the Pearlmaster collection has further benefited from the Rolex Superlative Chronometer certification, which puts every watch through its paces using proprietary equipment and stringent tests that simulate real-life wear. In this way, Rolex watches undergo a rigorous testing regime that’s above and beyond the industry standard known as COSC ( Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute)

But what’s perhaps most synonymous with the Pearlmaster collection is preciousness: the collection was one of the first to be crafted in the Everose alloy, Rolex’s exclusive blend of 18 ct pure gold, copper and platinum, which is used for the Pearlmaster’s case and bracelet. The latter, especially, is an exquisite combination of soft curves and engineering: conceived in 1992, the Pearlmaster bracelet features a rounded, five-piece link design fitted with ceramic inserts within the links for added flexibility and durability. The bracelet’s most standout feature, however, is also its most subtle: the ultra-chic Crownclasp that releases the bracelet via a barely-there, crown-shaped lever.

For 30 years, the Pearlmaster has allured both women and men with its sparkle and shine, and today the collection is a true showcase of the brand’s gem-setting savoir-faire – an area often overshadowed by its ever-evolving technology. As Lisa Broun, Watches of Switzerland Group senior buyer of luxury watches explains: “The attention to detail is simply phenomenal, with each stone cut, shaped and set to an exceptionally high standard. Whenever you wear a diamond-set Rolex, you are showcasing the expertise of those who perfected each and every glittering gem.”

A Pearl in the Oyster indeed.

Discover more about the Rolex Pearlmaster collection here at Goldsmiths.

Author Credit: Ming Liu writes about watches and jewellery, contributing regularly to the Financial Times, International New York Times, and Vogue. She is the contributing watches and jewellery editor for the London Style magazine, The Glossary, and her watch column, Talking Time with Ming Liu, can be found on the Hong Kong-based watch platform @Wristcheck. Her most recent book is Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewellery Art of Wallace Chan, co-authored with Emily Stoehrer, Melanie Grant, Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld and Vanessa Cron.

Respect for your Data: Capturing personal information from you helps us provide the best possible service, we respect and do all we can to protect your privacy. For full details of your rights in relation to the information collected, how we use it, who we share it with, how long we keep it and how to end any use of that information by us, please read our Privacy Policy.

Back To Top