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Watch Review

Rolex Pearlmaster: The Most Luxurious Timepiece

Paul Altieri

The Pearlmaster is the ultimate luxury-oriented Rolex timepiece. Sitting somewhere at the crossroads of watchmaking and jewelry, the Rolex Pearlmaster is exclusively craft from precious metals and always adorned with expertly set gemstones (either diamonds, sapphires, or rubies). Although the Pearlmaster is easily the most lavish and gem-encrusted line of Rolex watches, relatively little media coverage surrounds it, as its sheer opulence places it outside the reach of many consumers.

Rolex Pearlmaster 80299

The Rolex Pearlmaster

The Pearlmaster was originally introduced in 1992 as a new and slightly larger interpretation of Rolex’s Lady-Datejust line of watches. Over the course of the last quarter of a century, the Pearlmaster has grown in size and evolved in concept to become an entirely separate collection of ultra-premium Datejust watches that blurs the lines between a wristwatch and a piece of jewelry. The “Pearlmaster” name actually comes from the watch’s unique bracelet design with rounded five-piece links and a concealed Crownclasp, which to this day, is specifically reserved for Rolex’s crowning jewelry watches.

Rolex Pearlmaster Bracelet

Today, the Pearlmaster is manufactured in 34mm and 39mm case sizes and is exclusively craft from solid 18 karat gold (yellow, white, or Everose). As far as internal mechanics, the Pearlmaster 34 is powered by Rolex’s Caliber 2235, while the Pearlmaster 39 receives the Caliber 3235. Despite the difference in movements, both watches boast Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” certification, which guarantees timekeeping performance to a maximum variance of -2/+2 seconds per day (after casing).

As the Rolex Pearlmaster is just as much an item of jewelry as it is a precision timekeeping instrument, every single Rolex watch in the collection is set with some amount of diamonds/gemstones. The degree of gem-setting (and the type/color of the gems themselves) can vary significantly from one Pearlmaster watch to the next. A modest example may “only” have 12 diamonds set into its solid-gold bezel, while the more extravagant and expensive models can have completely diamond-encrusted cases and bracelets, with rainbow-colored sapphire-set bezels, and diamond-paved dials.

Diamond Rolex Pearlmaster Watches

At its core, the Pearlmaster is essentially an ultra-premium, luxury-oriented Datejust. Like other Datejust watches, the Rolex Pearlmaster is fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a Cyclops magnification lens and a Twinlock winding crown that uses a system of gaskets to create two sealed zones to protect against moisture intrusion. Consequently, despite its solid 18k gold construction and lavish application of various gemstones, the Rolex Pearlmaster still has a water-resistance rating of 100 meters and is just as functional for everyday use as any other Rolex watch.

While it may have identical functionality to the standard Datejust collection, the Pearlmaster is about as far a departure from Rolex’s tool-watch history and aesthetics as you are likely to find in their contemporary catalog. However, as Rolex continues to assume a more luxury-oriented position within the high-end timepiece market, the use of precious metals and gemstones in their watches is becoming an increasingly common practice. The Rolex Pearlmaster has as much to offer in terms of gold-work and gem-setting as it does in the precision timekeeping department, making it the perfect timepiece for those that want a watch that sits at the crossroads of jewelry and horology.

Diamond Rolex Pearlmaster Watches Mother of Pearl Dials

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Paul Altieri