The All New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Is Back But Now In 43 mm And Has The Single Line Text ‘Sea Dweller’ In Red
At the Baselworld 2017 that transpired between 23rd to 30th March 2017, Rolex introduced the latest generation of its Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a legendary timepiece that has been appealing professional divers ever since it was created 50 years ago in 1967.
Since late 50’s and early 60’s witnessed greatest outer space or underwater explorations by astronauts and aquanauts respectively, the introduction of Sea Dweller reference 1665 in 1967 featuring a depth range of 610 meters, a helium escape valve and a Trip-Lock Crown was undoubtedly coherent with such endeavors.
Rolex Sea Dweller 1665 From 1967, Image Source – rolex.com
Though this professional line of watches from Rolex was sort of killed for half a decade between 2009 and 2014 as the luxury watchmaker did not roll out any variant of the Sea Dweller, the Baselworld 2014 did witness Rolex introducing the Sea Dweller 4000 reference 116600.
The Sea Dweller reference 116600 was 40 mm in diameter and featured a cyclops-less crystal, a ceramic bezel and a depth range of 4000 feet or 1220 meters. This reference was certainly not one of the most fascinating variants of the Sea Dweller range, but it certainly filled the gap that existed for half a decade for Rolex’s Sea Dweller line.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600, Image Source – rolex.com
And here comes 2017 and Rolex introduces the Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 at the Baselworld 2017 thereby marking the 50th anniversary of the first Sea Dweller Reference 1665 since its launch in 1967.
The all new Sea Dweller comes packed with updated features compared to its previous generation Reference 116600 launched in 2014. So what features incorporate the new Sea Dweller ref 126600, let’s begin uncovering them one by one.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Watch Case, Image Source – rolex.com
First things first, what allures the beholder is the build quality and the excellent finish of the new SD. All thanks to the superalloy 904L stainless steel that offers maximum resistance to corrosion and is highly polishable. The superalloy makes the new Sea Dweller extremely resistant even in the harshest of the environments.
As is the case with the SD 4000 reference 116600, the new SD is also water resistant upto a depth range of 4000 feet or 1220 meters. Although the depth rating remains the same as of the previous generation SD, the new SD’s rating is fantastically deep and hence makes it a technical dive watch to be used by professional deep-sea divers.
Also, the new Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller comes equipped with helium escape valve patented by Rolex in 1967. Now, this ingenious safety valve regulates the pressure accumulated in the watch case when professional divers spend several days in a decompression chamber.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Helium Valve, Image Source – ablogtowatch.com
To be more comprehensive, professional divers spend long periods in a decompression chamber to overcome Decompression Sickness that is caused by absorbing nitrogen from breathing compressed air underwater. Due to the increased surrounding water pressure
underwater, the nitrogen remains in the body’s fatty tissues and blood.
On ascent of the diver to the water surface, the surrounding water pressure decreases and hence the nitrogen starts coming out of the tissues into the bloodstream. Due to rapid transition from a high-pressure environment to one of lower pressure, the nitrogen starts forming bubbles in the tissues and bloodstream.
In the chamber, the divers are surrounded by helium-rich gas as they breath a combination of helium and oxygen rather than normal air. The high-pressure environment inside the chamber causes the size of the gas bubbles formed in the tissues to shrink and hence reduces the damage done to the cells and tissues.
Once the process is completed, the air inside the chamber is gradually released which is called Decompression.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Helium Valve Components, Image Source – ablogtowatch.com
Now, during this entire regimen, the helium molecules tend to penetrate the seals of a dive watch and are not able to leak back out of the watch case quickly. This causes the pressure inside the watch case to build up and hence the watch crystal pops off.
To overcome such an effect, Rolex first introduced the helium valve in its Sea Dweller range and since then it has been a predominant feature for the model.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Watch Case Is 43 mm In Diameter, Image Source – rolex.com
Coming to the watch case size, the new Sea Dweller is 43 mm in diameter which makes it 3 mm larger than all the previous generation of Sea Dwellers. It’s waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection to the high precision movement assembled inside the case. Also, the SD’s case back incorporates a fluted design that allows only the Rolex watchmakers to access the movement inside by screwing it down hermetically with a special tool.
And how can we forget the luxury watchmakers’ patented Triplock screw-in crown in the Sea Dweller that protects the case against dust and potential water penetration as a result of utilizing the winding stem. Just the way a traditional submarine’s hatch door closes, the screw-in crown compresses against the rubber gaskets and hence the threaded case tube to ensure water proofness to a greater depth.
Look for those three dots that sit just below the five pointed Rolex Logo crown to distinguish a TripLock crown.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Watch Dial, Image Source – monochrome-watches.com
There are only rare earliest known Sea Dwellers that had ‘Single Red’ line of text just reading “Sea Dweller” though mid 70’s saw the Sea Dweller losing its red color from the dial.
Since the new SD is 43mm in diameter, the black dial has slightly upsized hands and indices in order to maintain the proportion. The innovative Chromalight display of the hour markers and hands on the dial emit distinctive blue glow that lasts up to eight hours with a uniform luminosity, practically twice as long as that of standard luminescent materials, thus providing excellent legibility in dark conditions.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Blue Luminiscence, Image Source – rolex.com
Another feature that was integrated into the new Sea Dweller was a magnifying Cyclops lens that sits at 3 o’clock atop the date window for easy reading of the date by the divers both above and underwater.
And to enable them to precisely and safely monitor their dive and decompression times, the Sea Dweller comes integrated with the 60-minute graduated, unidirectional rotatable bezel in black cerachrom that is virtually scratchproof.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Glidelock Extension, Image Source – rolex.com
As the luxury watchmaker is known for its bracelet engineering, the new Sea-Dweller’s solid-link Oyster bracelet is crafted in extremely resistant 904L stainless steel super alloy, same as the watch case.
The Oysterlock safety clasp prevents accidental opening and its double extension system allows adjustments to be made by the diver without the use of tools. Hence, divers can wear the watch comfortably over a diving suit that is up to 7 mm thick.
Now, the bracelet incorporates two important systems to ensure that the bracelet works in any possible circumstance. Firstly, the Rolex Glidelock system allows the user to adjust the bracelet from the clasp, at 2mm intervals, for a total of approximately 20mm. Second, the Fliplock extension link extends the entire length of the bracelet by 26 mm.
Both the systems work without the use of any tool and hence bring to the forefront the watchmakers’ architectural capability in terms of design.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Ref 126600 Calibre 3235, Image Source – monochrome-watches.com
The new Sea-Dweller comes equipped with self winding calibre 3235, a new-generation movement that incorporates the all new Chronergy escapement and a technology that demonstrates 14 patents offering fundamental gains in terms of precision, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
The new escapement comprises of a skeletonized escape wheel that Rolex claims helps combining high energy efficiency and presents greater dependability. Designed using nickel-phosphorus, the escape wheel is also insensitive to magnetic interference.
At the heart of the watch, an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring developed using paramagnetic alloy is fitted to the oscillator which makes it 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. Hence, the new Sea Dweller’s barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency extend the power reserve of calibre 3235 upto approximately 70 hours.
All this makes not only the movement in the new Sea Dweller to rate for COSC Standards, but also the new Sea Dweller watch as a whole to secure the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015 which applies to the fully assembled watch.
This designation is an authentication to the fact that the watch has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex itself in its own laboratories according to its own criteria which certainly exceed the watchmaking norms and standards.
The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer after casing is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day, or more than twice that required of an official chronometer. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is
coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
Though, the Sea Dweller has a limited commercial appeal, but it certainly has everything for professional divers – precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The Sea Dweller Ref 126600 will retail for $11, 350 or INR 717,200.