Originally created in 1967 – in collaboration with the French diving company COMEX – the Sea-Dweller is a more robust version of the Submariner. While the Submariner is a professional dive watch, the Sea-Dweller is the thicker, more athletic, deeper diving brother.
Rolex is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sea-Dweller this year and at Baselworld 2017 launched an all-new, larger 43 mm version that is equipped with a new movement. The Ref. 126600 replaces the existing 40 mm Sea-Dweller Ref. 116600.
As a nod to the double red line text which read “SEA-DWELLER, SUBMARINER 2000” on the dial of the original Ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller from 1967, the new model reads “SEA-DWELLER” in red. As with the previous generation, there is no “SUBMARINER” on the dial.
Like the 116600, the water-resistance rating is twice that of the original, which was 610 meters, at 1220 meters (which is 4000 feet). The Rolex Deep Sea, has an even higher rating, at a ridiculous 3900 meters (12,800 feet), and a larger 44 mm case.
Both the Sea-Dweller and Deep Sea come with a helium escape valve, patented by Rolex in 1967, to regulate pressure accumulated during the decompression phases of deep-water saturation dives.
Powering the new Rolex professional dive watch is caliber 3235, which replaces caliber 3135 from the outgoing model. The new movement features Rolex’s Superlative chronometer certification and super rate of -2/+2. It now offers 70-hours compared to 50-hours of its predecessor.
Other additional features include a black gloss dial with 18K white gold applied indexes filled with Chromalight (Rolex’s proprietary blue luminescent material).
Rolex caliber 3235 has a bi-directional winding rotor and runs at a rate of 4Hz (28,800 vph). It is equipped with a blue Parachrom hairspring, Rolex overcoil, large balance wheel with variable inertia balance wheel with 4 gold microstella nuts, mounted on a traversing balance bridge, protected by Paraflex shock absorbers. Further, the movement features a chronergy escapement with optimized energy efficiency and paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus pallet fork and escape wheel.
The unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel has a new with Cerachrom black ceramic insert, engraved with numerals and graduations coated with platinum via magnetron sputtering.
One of the most polarizing elements of the new Sea-Dweller is the inclusion of the Cyclops lens on the crystal at 3 o’clock.
An Oysterlock bracelet (Ref. 97220) with three-piece solid links, and folding safety clasp with the Rolex Glidelock extension system (20 mm in increments of 2 mm), a Fliplock extension link (26 mm).
The case is made of 904L stainless steel (a more corrosion resistant steel than 316L) with a satin finish and polished edges. There is a 5-year international warranty, as with all Rolexes. The retail price is $11,350.