A little disappointed in what you got for Christmas? Feeling you want to treat yourself for the new year? If you are a Rolex lover, you may be scouring the pre-owned market — or even the new watches market — for a Rolex Sea-Dweller to join you on your 2021 adventures. If so, we have all the news about what you need to know before buying a new or used Rolex Sea-Dweller, the epitome of diver watches. The hallmark descriptions of the Sea-Dweller: excellence, precision and high-tech, high-mech performance.
History Of Rolex Sea-Dweller Watches
Rolex has long accompanied explorers to the depths of the seas and the top of the Earth and has built its watches to go the distance. This is the brand, after all, that created the first water-resistant watch — slipping it on the wrist of swimmer Mercedes Gleitze in 1927 as she swam the English Channel. When she exited the water after 10 long hours, the Rolex continued to work perfectly. It later became named the Oyster waterproof watch. That was just the start of Rolex’s long relationship with the seas.
More than three decades later, in 1960, Rolex strapped a specially made watch to the hull of the Trieste Bathyscaphe that trekked to the deepest depths of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. It resurfaced working perfectly. After that success, Rolex created the first Rolex Sea-Dweller watch in 1967. It was water resistant to 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
More than 50 years after that, in 2012, Titanic director James Cameron –now an ocean explorer thanks to a stirring interest when filming the Titanic movie — also descended to the depths of the ocean in the DeepSea Challenger vessel. A specially made Rolex watch, called the Rolex DeepSea Challenge, was developed for the expedition and a prototype was strapped to the Challenger. That watch was water resistant to 12,000 meters. Upon its return to the surface, Rolex built the Rolex DeepSea Sea-Dweller watch with D-blue gradient dial.
Rolex Sea-Dweller and DeepSea Sea-Dweller Watches
Today’s Rolex Sea-Dweller watches are 43mm in diameter and are created in Oystersteel and in Oystersteel with yellow gold. They continue to be water resistant to 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) and are equipped with a black Cerachrom insert on the unidirectional 60-minute bezel that is used to track dive and decompression times.
The Rolex DeepSea Sea-Dweller is slightly larger at 44m in diameter and are much more water resistant: to 12,800 feet (3,900 meters). This incredible depth is made possible by the complex Rolex waterproof system that includes a middle case crafted of a solid block of steel and a hermetically screed down case back. It also features the brand’s patented Ringlock System and a helium escape valve. Luminescent hands and markers make for easy underwater reading. Dials include the Blue-D gradient dial or a black dial.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Features
The Sea-Dweller watches are equipped with Rolex’s Oyster bracelet with three rows of links and the Oysterlock folding clasp that can be adjusted to fit over a wet suit. A cyclops magnifying lens over the date makes it easy to read at a glance. The Caliber 3235 self-winding movement powers the Sea-Dweller. That mechanical movement consists of Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement and is shock- and magnetic-resistant. Thanks to rigorous testing, all Sea-Dweller watches are Certified Rolex Superlative Chronometers.
Additionally, Rolex works in tandem with COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), whose specially built hyperbaric tanks test every Sea-Dweller to a pressure equivalent to 16,000 feet. The Rolex Sea-Dweller in its different versions is the king of diving watches. The Sea-Dweller new in Oystersteel retails for $11,700, while the steel and gold version sells for $12,900. The DeepSea Sea-Dweller retails fro $16,600 new. Unfortunately, finding one of any version might prove tricky.