The history of Rolex developing watches to help divers conquer the depths of the sea, first to 2,000 ft. and then increased to 4,000ft, is well documented. The brand developed the Rolex Sea-Dweller in 1968 for professionals and put it on the general market in 1971 as the model reference 16600. Rolex was the first to successfully patent and incorporate a helium valve, which was placed on the Sea-Dweller to keep the crystal from popping off during the rise to the surface. When Rolex took the 16600 out of production and replaced it with the Deepsea Sea-Dweller model 116660, aficionados of the Sea-Dweller grieved. The new model bulked up from 40mm to 43mm and also changed to a glossy dial from the one with matte finish.
2014 was the year when Sea-Dweller fans put up a collective cheer. Faithful to the original aesthetics at 40mm and with a matte dial, helium valve and back to a non-magnified date at 3 o’clock, the new Sea-Dweller model reference 116600 gets the benefit of all the technical refinements Rolex has made over the years. It now has a scratch resistant ceramic bezel with Cerachrom inserts, Chromalight on the hands and hour indexes along with thicker case lugs, which give the watch a slightly larger look but it really is 40mm. Measure it if you doubt the specs. And, of course, the iconic Oyster bracelet with the advanced Glidelock extension and fliplock extension link—with the original completely satin finish unlike the polished middle link of the previous iteration. Both case and bracelet are constructed from the toughest and highest-grade 904L steel.
The Deep-Sea Dweller is water resistant to that eardrum punishing 4,000ft, so no fear in getting it wet topside or underwater at any possible depth. Inside ticks the in-house produced automatic Calibre 3135 with a 48-hour power reserve, a COSC certified workhorse that will keep you alive exploring underwater in a wetsuit or “alive” with your boss when you need get that report to him on time. A screw down crown with fluting and an internal gasket ensure the mechanics stay dry.
Though first devised as a tool watch for diving, the Deep-Sea Dweller is such a handsome and practical watch that it has become an all-around player that can transition from sport to more formal occasions when required. It even looks snazzy on women who are more progressive in their dress and enjoy a larger than traditional feminine sized watch and appreciate mechanics.
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Rolex website.