Rolex Sea Dweller Watches
All About Rolex Sea Dweller Watches
The top Swiss luxury watch brand Rolex is renowned for its professional sports watches, especially those for divers. Alongside with its later model Rolex DeepSea Dweller, the Sea Dweller watches are the extremist water resistant diver watches. Of all the Rolex diver watches, the Rolex Sea Dweller holds a special place in the history of the brand as well as that of horology.
First released in 1967, the Rolex Sea Dweller was the first watch featuring a helium escape valve in the world. The watch was researched and developed by the brand with the collaboration of diving professionals. The oyster case of the Sea Dweller with the patented ringlock system provides the highest level of water resistance out of all the diver watches at the time. The early Rolex Sea Dweller was already equipped with water resistance up to 4000 feet (1,220 meters) and the ultimate deep sea models even offered water resistance up to 12,800 feet (3,900 meters).
Throughout the years, Rolex Sea Dweller has been accompanying many professional divers in significant diving challenges, including the famous DSV Deepsea Challenger. This Rolex dive watch has already built a high reputation not only among divers, but also among all the watch collectors over the globe.
Among the renowned Rolex professional watches, the Rolex Sea Dweller is considered to be one of the true tool watches of the brand. The watch was originally built for the divers while containing all the functions that a diver would need underwater. Although the Rolex Sea Dweller is not as popular as the Rolex Submariner in the market due to its over-advancements to some consumers, it is a highly recognised watch and gained a huge group of supporters.
The Sea Dweller was developed during the 1960s especially for professional divers who worked at great depths underwater. At that time, the standard Rolex Submariner could endure 200m of water pressure already but the goal of Rolex was more than that. Keeping the needs of these divers in mind, Rolex developed its first 'ultra water resistant' tool watch that can conduct safe diving operations at depths above 300 m (1,000 ft).
The very first Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller was released in 1967 under the umbrella of the Rolex Submariner collection. This Sea Dweller Submariner 2000ft (610 m) was developed from the Submariner reference 5514 COMEX model, which was made for the Comex, a French company expert in deep sea diving operations.
The Sea Dweller watch was equipped with a Rolex invention helium escape valve which was experimented with COMEX. This later patented technology is meant for saturation diving that can further offer a higher level of water resistance. The watch is water resistant to depths of 2000 fts (610m).
This Rolex Sea Dweller reference 1665 is best known as its nickname “Double Red” due to its two lines of name marking in red on the dial. The early models of Sea Dweller Submariner were only produced to approximately 100 pieces per model.
They are very rare and highly desirable in the secondary market, especially the Sea Dweller Submariner 2000 with the distinguished “Double Red” feature.
The Sea Dweller are also differentiated with the absence of the Rolex Cyclops date magnifier. Although the Cyclops lens is present on most Rolex models with date display, it was impossible for the Sea Dweller to attach a cyclops lens on the top of a watch crystal exposed to the water pressure of its target depth.
Since its first launch, the Rolex Sea Dweller released a few upgraded versions that were greatly improved all around. In 1977, the updated Rolex Sea-Dweller was released without featuring red text markings as well as mention of “Submariner 2000” on the dial. It emphasized the independence of the Sea-Dweller. With the text on in white, this model was nicknamed the “Great White” amongst the Rolex collectors.
One year later in 1978, while the Submariner 2000 reference 1665 was still in production, Rolex introduced the new Sea-Dweller reference 16660 with an improved water resistance of depth rating of 4,000ft or 1,220m.
In 2008, the Rolex Sea Dweller was replaced by the larger Deepsea watch that was 44mm in diameter.
As a technical advanced diver watch lineup, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller has kept evolving with groundbreaking records. Its Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea model again reached a higher level of depth rating up to 3,900 m (12,800 ft).
The first DeepSea watch reference 116660 was introduced in the 2008 BaselWorld watch and jewelry show. It is a drastically updated version that came with a water resistance up to depth rating of 3,900 meters (12,800 ft). It is the most water resistant mechanical watch of the brand.
Despite its officially announced depth rating, the new Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea was actually tested to a depth of 4,875 meters (15,994 ft) with the testing equipment developed by COMEX. To secure the 25% safety reserve which is a requirement of the ISO 6425 divers watches standard, the watch was officially introduced to be 3,000 m of depth rating.
Another major feature of the Rolex Deepsea 2008 model was its patented Ring Lock System. This system was used for sealing its extra-thick sapphire crystal to the titanium case back by an extremely hard center ring. On top of it, to make the watch more durable under deep sea, more advancements are equipped including the Glidelock-clasp and diver extension link, scratch-proof cerachrom bezel as well as the blue chromalight indices and hands.
There are a few more variants of Rolex Deepsea released over these years. Rolex Deepsea D Blue 116660DB model was released in 2014. This Rolex Sea Dweller with a gradient dark blue dial has progressively remained iconic amongst all the watch collectors over the world.
The newer Rolex Deepsea model is the reference Rolex 126660 which was introduced at Baselworld 2018. This Deepsea watch is updated with a refined case and a broader bracelet, as well as a new movement calibre 3235.
In 2014, the standard Sea Dweller 4000 finally returned. This redesigned Sea Dweller 116600 had the same diameter case of 40 mm as the previous models, but the case was slightly thicker in order to accommodate the helium escape valve to ensure a depth rating of 1220m. The 2014 Sea Dweller 4000 also featured a refined look and was powered by the calibre 3135 automatic movement. This Sea-Dweller 4000 was very soon discontinued in 2017, as one of the shortest production runs among Rolex sports watches.
Rolex introduced an enlarged Sea Dweller 126600 at Baselworld 2017, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collection. The Rolex Sea Dweller 2017 model is equipped with a larger case in 43 mm that is why the watch is often referred as SD43. It also featured a date magnifier on a redesigned sapphire crystal and an updated automatic Calibre 3235 movement.
The ultra-resistant Rolex Sea Dweller dive watch is an amazing and reliable companion for any occasion. It can guide you in any challenge to the deep and on the other hand turns heads in public occasions.