Performance of a Similar Model
The Sea-Dweller Deepsea is Rolex's most impressive diving watch. Water-resistant to 3,900 m (39 bar, 12,800 ft), the Deepsea is definitely a watch for diving pros. The Deepsea D-Blue is particularly popular and fetches the highest prices.
Rolex has a long tradition of producing superb diving watches. Along with the Deepsea Challenge introduced in 2022, the Sea-Dweller Deepsea is the most high-performance model made by the Genevan manufacturer. Released in 2008, its 44-mm stainless steel case is water-resistant to 3,900 m (390 bar, 12,800 ft). This far exceeds the capabilities of the standard Rolex Sea-Dweller, which has a depth rating of 1,220 m (122 bar, 4,000 ft).
The depth rating is made possible thanks to a special case construction Rolex calls the Ringlock system. Rolex tests the watch in a pressurized container developed by French company COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises) to guarantee that every Deepsea can cope with the extreme conditions experienced deep beneath the waves.
An automatic helium escape valve on the left side of the case is a necessary feature for saturation diving and underscores the Deepsea's professional nature. What's more, each movement comes with chronometer certification from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). These movements are especially precise and deviate from the reference time by no more than +/-2 seconds per day. The collection's top model is the D-Blue edition, which features a blue-to-black gradient dial and is highly popular among collectors.
Between 2020 and 2022, prices for the Sea-Dweller rallied, but this had mostly subsided by the spring of 2023. Since then, it's been possible once again to buy one at a relatively low price.
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Dial color, caliber|
|Deepsea D-Blue, 116660||17,800 USD||Blue, 3135|
|Deepsea D-Blue, 126660||17,000 USD||Blue, 3235|
|Deepsea, 126660||15,300 USD||Black, 3235|
|Deepsea, 116660||12,900 USD||Black, 3135|
In May 2023, an unworn first-generation Sea-Dweller Deepsea with the reference number 116660 and a black dial cost roughly 12,900 USD. If you'd prefer the D-Blue version with a blue-black dial, plan to shell out about 17,800 USD for a specimen in mint condition.
Rolex introduced a new version of the Deepsea in spring 2018. These watches have the reference number 126660 and come with the new caliber 3235. As with its predecessor, this Deepsea is available with a plain black dial or a D-Blue gradient dial. The former changed hands on Chrono24 for approximately 15,300 USD in May 2023. A ref. 126660 with a blue-black gradient dial will set you back about 17,000 USD.
The Sea-Dweller Deepsea can survive at depths to 3,900 m (390 bar, 12,800 ft). This is possible thanks to what Rolex calls the Ringlock system. The watch features a nitrogen-alloyed stainless steel ring at its center, lending the 44-mm 904L stainless steel case its exceptional stability. Combined with a grade-5 titanium case back and 5.5-mm thick sapphire crystal without a Cyclops lens, this watch can withstand three tons of water pressure.
Rolex offers the Sea-Dweller Deepsea in two basic designs. The standard edition has a black dial and a date display at 3 o'clock. There is a white "Deepsea" inscription directly below the brand inscription and the words "Oyster Perpetual Date" at 12 o'clock. The water resistance "12800ft = 3900m," the model name "Sea-Dweller," and its chronometer inscription all sit above 6 o'clock. Finally, the dial's stainless steel edge includes the engravings "Original Gas Escape Valve" and "Ring Lock System."
The Deepsea has a screw-down crown, helium escape valve, and black unidirectional Cerachrom bezel with platinum-coated 60-minute markers. It also comes with a typical Rolex stainless steel Oyster bracelet, which is easy to adjust thanks to its Oysterlock fold-over clasp and practical Glidelock and Fliplock extension systems. Glidelock makes it possible to lengthen the bracelet up to 20 mm in 2-mm increments. Fliplock, on the other hand, allows the bracelet to be lengthened by 26 mm all at once.
The second option is the Deepsea D-Blue. This model differs from the standard model primarily in its dial – even the reference numbers are the same. As indicated by its name, Rolex chose a dial with a gradient that goes from dark blue to black. The only other difference is the relocation of the "Deepsea" inscription to above 6 o'clock, where it shines in bright green. Since Rolex developed this watch in honor of Hollywood legend and "Titanic" director James Cameron's dive into the Mariana Trench, Rolex fans have given the Deepsea D-Blue the nickname "Cameron."
Rolex released the second generation of Sea-Dweller Deepsea watches in 2018. These models bear the reference number 126660 and share much of their design with their predecessor, the ref. 116660. The only difference is that the current edition has thinner lugs and case sides.
Perhaps the most significant change took place inside the case. While the ref. 116660 uses the caliber 3135, the ref. 126660 features the caliber 3235. Both movements are certified Superlative Chronometers, tick at 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph), and feature a blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock protection system. However, the 3235 far exceeds its predecessor in terms of power reserve. Thanks to its Chronergy escapement and longer mainspring, this movement can continue to run for 70 hours when fully wound.
The history of the Rolex Deepsea began back in 1960, when marine researchers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh dove roughly 11,000 m (36,090 ft) into the Mariana Trench in their bathyscaphe, the "Trieste." Rolex had developed the experimental Deep Sea Special specifically for this occasion. The watch was attached to the outside of the submersible and survived the dive completely unscathed. Many of the findings from this experiment later aided in the development of the Rolex Submariner and Sea-Dweller diving watches, which ultimately led to the Rolex Deepsea.
On March 26, 2012, Rolex sent yet another watch into the depths of the Mariana Trench. This time it was on the arm of the Deepsea Challenger submarine piloted by Hollywood director James Cameron. The watch, known as the Deepsea Challenge, was enormous at 51.4 mm in diameter and 28.5 mm thick. The sapphire crystal alone accounted for 14.3 mm. The Deepsea Challenge followed in the footsteps of its ancestor from 52 years prior and withstood the trip to the deepest point on Earth without any problems. Unfortunately, this watch is not for sale.
In 2022, Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge. The titanium watch measures 50 mm in diameter and can withstand depths of 11,000 m (1,100 bar, 36,090 ft.).