You are currently viewing Into the Blue: Reviewing the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue | Features

Into the Blue: Reviewing the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue | Features

When author, director, and adventurer James Cameron reached the start of the “deep sea” at a depth of 1,000 meters on March 26, 2012, safely inside his submersible craft Deepsea Challenger, all of the remaining mild disappeared. However at that time, he hadn’t but accomplished one-tenth of his journey. At 10,908 meters, he landed softly on the ground of the Challenger Deep, the deepest level within the ocean, on the backside of the Mariana Trench. Earlier than the hydraulic arm on the submersible malfunctioned, he was in a position to accumulate a pattern from the underside of the ocean. The Rolex Deepsea Problem, a prototype watch that might face up to water strain to a depth of 15,000 meters, was strapped on the mechanical arm in addition to on Cameron’s wrist.

Solely two different folks had preceded Cameron on this endeavor – in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh reached this level with their underwater craft, Trieste. Then, too, an experimental dive watch from Rolex, the Deep Sea Particular, was hooked up to the skin of the pressurized chamber, and it withstood the dive in 1960 as unscathed because the Deepsea Problem did in 2012.

Neither watch was ever commercially produced. The Deep Sea Particular was just about unwearable due to its monumental 35-mm thickness and domed, semi-spherical crystal above the dial. The second model was significantly smaller. It was based mostly on the progressive case construction launched in 2008 for the mass-produced Deepsea mannequin, which has strain resistance to a depth of three,900 meters.

In 2008, the Deepsea was probably the most pressure-resistant mechanical business watch obtainable. Since then, producers reminiscent of Classic VDB and CX Swiss Navy Watch have been making watches that may face up to even higher depths (and Omega’s Seamaster Extremely Deep has since exceeded the Deepsea’s depth report by a number of valuable meters), however they tower over the wearable 18-mm-thick Rolex Deepsea by a minimum of 6 mm and seem clunky.

In 2014, Rolex launched a particular model of this excessive dive watch with a “D-Blue” dial as a tribute to Cameron’s deep dive. As a substitute of the utterly black dial, this watch has a dial that progressively adjustments coloration from darkish blue to black, the best way the ocean will get darker because it turns into deeper. The Deepsea lettering on the dial is identical inexperienced coloration because the paint on Cameron’s submersible. Whereas the usual Deepsea mannequin was not overly widespread, demand for the D-Blue has vastly exceeded provide, regardless of its larger worth.

Into the Depths

In 2018, Rolex modified each variations of the Deepsea and we examined the D-Blue mannequin. Whereas the obvious distinction is the broader bracelet with its bigger folding clasp, general, the proportions have a extra harmonious really feel. The bracelet finish items not protrude above the lugs. One other new characteristic is a tiny Rolex crown positioned on the fringe of the dial at 6 o’clock between the phrases “Swiss” and “made.”

The bracelet of the brand new Deepsea (proper) not protrudes above the lugs in comparison with its predecessor.

Rolex additionally tinkered with a number of the smaller particulars. the gap between the case and the bezel has been decreased, which limits the quantity of dust that may penetrate into the watch. The spherical luminous marker on the bezel can also be not as tall and is, due to this fact, much less vulnerable to break. The bracelet has been redesigned to be extra supple and cozy.

Excessive Stress

Producing an especially pressure-resistant watch is definitely not extraordinarily tough. The thickness of the case partitions and the exterior dimensions could be elevated to the purpose the place a watch could be made with very excessive water resistance. However Rolex didn’t strategy the issue this manner. From the start, the Deepsea engineers’ purpose was to create a wearable watch. They discovered success utilizing a diameter of 44 mm and a thickness of 18 mm, which can also be very snug to put on.

This required a totally new redesign of the case construction – ensuing within the Rolex-developed and patented “Ringlock System.” The system consists of three parts that soak up strain: the 5.5-mm-thick sapphire crystal, the three.28-mm-thick caseback fabricated from Grade 5 titanium and the interior ring of Biodur 108 metal. The system is surrounded by a 904L metal Rolex case. The titanium caseback shouldn’t be screwed down however is pressed onto the interior ring by a threaded ring fabricated from the identical metal because the case.

The bracelet of the up to date Rolex Deepsea D-Blue (left) is wider and has a extra harmonious look.

The supplies are fastidiously chosen for his or her excessive sturdiness and resilience in order that they don’t grow to be distorted or break underneath strain. Biodur 108 is roughly 3 times extra pressure proof than the metal used for the case, and Grade 5 titanium – a titanium alloy with vanadium and aluminum – is 4 occasions as sturdy. This difficult development permits a case to be made that’s greater than 10 p.c thinner than a traditional one. The Deepsea is definitely designed for a water depth of 4,900 meters, and each watch is examined underwater at this 25-percent larger strain. Rolex consulted with the French diving gear firm Comex for the design of its water strain testing devices.

Prolonged Use

The metal alloy used for the Deepsea may be very effectively fitted to deep sea diving. Each the bracelet and the case of the Deepsea are fabricated from 904L metal, which Rolex calls “Oystersteel.” It’s tougher to course of however is much less vulnerable to saltwater corrosion than the 316L metal that’s often used for watches. Along with the 1.8-cm fold-out extension of the Fliplock bracelet, the Glidelock clasp additionally has a 1.8-cm extension piece. That is handy because the bracelet could be lengthened shortly when the temperature rises. This mechanism may even be used whereas sporting the watch on the wrist.

Platinum and Ceramic

Rolex has given the complete high of the case and bracelet a brushed end. The perimeters are extremely polished, and the scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic monitor ring on the unidirectional rotating dive bezel shines, too. The numerals and indexes are milled and are coated with platinum. The colour of the bezel varies between black and anthracite, relying on how the sunshine hits it.

The brand new wider bracelet has an extended, fine-adjustment extension and makes the Deepsea really feel much less high heavy.

The now-complete minutes monitor is interesting to divers and others alike. Rolex has additionally set the benchmark for bezels – with clean and strong ratchets in half-minute increments that sound agency and exact when turning.

The crystal of the Deepsea doesn’t lengthen as far above the bezel as on different Rolex fashions, which helps stop harm. Sadly, the crystal displays mild underneath some circumstances. However the coloration change on the dial doesn’t have an effect on its legibility.

The arms are barely curved and, due to this fact, don’t seem black, as some at arms do. The arms and markers are fabricated from gold, as is at all times the case with Rolex. The design – with the “Mercedes” hand for the hours, the spherical hour markers, the bar markers at 6 and 9 o’clock and the triangle at 12 o’clock – principally comes from the primary Submariner. Rolex has maintained continuity for over 60 years. What might probably be improved by way of useful or aesthetic design?

The caseback is fabricated from titanium.

The luminous materials on the arms, markers and nil marker on the bezel have a blue glow. The benefit for divers is that water absorbs long-wave mild higher than short-wave mild, so blue mild is the best to see underwater. The Deepsea has a timeless look, regardless of its historic dial design. This is because of its modern measurement, domed crystal, high-tech bezel and visual interior ring of the Ringlock System. The long-lasting Rolex textual content on the dial stays a matter of style. The Deepsea D-Blue dial is wordier than ever. There are 5 traces of textual content simply on the decrease half of the dial, plus the knowledge on the interior ring. However this doesn’t influence the profitable evolution of this design.

New Caliber

As with the design, little enchancment wanted to be made to the motion, however Rolex did a primary remodeling of the caliber that was already identified for its sturdiness and accuracy, Caliber 3135. Caliber 3235 replaces the 3135. In 2015, Rolex started introducing the brand new technology of calibers in its up to date fashions. Amongst its metal watches, it has been positioned within the new Sea-Dweller and within the new GMT-Grasp II with the blue-red bezel, along with the Datejust. With Caliber 3235, solely 10 p.c of the elements of the 3135 remained unchanged. Total, Rolex has obtained a complete of 14 patents for this caliber.

How does this profit the wearer? Resistance to impacts and reliability are elevated. The winding mechanism is extra environment friendly and builds up its energy reserve extra shortly, primarily as a result of new ball-bearing oscillator. Most of all, the utmost energy reserve has elevated from the usual 48 hours to 70 hours. Rolex has achieved this by the usage of a thinner barrel wall, which allows the usage of an extended mainspring, in addition to with its progressive Chronergy escapement, which will increase the effectivity of the Swiss lever escapement by 15 p.c. That is made potential by modified geometry and a skeletonized form that reduces its weight. The sunshine-weight escapement can also be notable for its a lot quieter ticking sound.

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Rolex Caliber 3235

The nickel-phosphorus alloy escape wheel is produced utilizing the LIGA course of (the German acronym for lithography, electroplating, and molding) and has no response to magnetic fields. The brand new stability workers additionally improves magnetic area safety. The blue Parachrom hairspring comprised of a niobium-zirconium alloy is already acquainted from different fashions, as is the Paraflex shock absorber. The top shake of the stability could be adjusted with one screw as a substitute of two. And the overcoil ensures concentric respiratory of the hairspring, as does the free-sprung oscillator with Microstella screws.

Though the brand new caliber works beneath a strong metal caseback, like all Oyster fashions, it’s embellished – with a sunburst end on the partially skeletonized oscillator, and on the automated bridge, matte line finishes on metal elements, together with some beveled edges and polished screw heads.

Stable Price Outcomes

In 2015, Rolex launched stricter rules for all its fashions. Along with chronometer certification from the impartial Swiss testing company COSC, which assessments the motion, Rolex watchmakers regulate the cased motion to much more exact values: the speed could deviate not more than between -2 and +2 seconds per day. A specifically designed system that simulates precise sporting circumstances is used.

Our take a look at watch simply achieved these values on the timing machine. The typical deviation measured at solely -0.7 seconds per day, and the best deviation was solely 4 seconds. When worn on the wrist, the watch confirmed solely slight good points or losses, so on common, this resulted in just about no deviation.

Due to its excessive diploma of sporting consolation, the Deepsea D-Blue works as a wonderful look ahead to every day put on, which is fairly surprising for such an excessive mannequin. And the value? It’s $12,550 – fairly excessive for a metal sports activities watch. In distinction to the Rolex Submariner Date – with a water resistance score of 300 meters and the older motion at a price of $8,550 – this can be a hefty distinction. In contrast with the newly revised Sea-Dweller, which is water-resistant to 1,220 meters with the brand new motion and a worth of $11,350, the extra price is much less noticeable. Total, the value of the Deepsea is truthful.

Whether or not you’re keen to spend $300 extra for the D-Blue that we examined over the Deepsea with a black dial is just a matter of particular person style. In our opinion, the blue model has higher character that units it other than the opposite Rolex dive watches. Revision was an amazing benefit for this watch. Extra constant proportions and the upper energy reserve could encourage you to dive into higher adventures.

SPECS:
Producer: Rolex S.A., Rue François Dussaud 3-7, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Reference quantity: 126660
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Motion: In-house Caliber 3235, computerized, chronometer, 28,800 vph, 31 jewels, hack mechanism, fast date adjustment, Paraflex shock absorber, Glucydur stability with Microstella regulating screws, blue Parachrom hairspring with overcoil, COSC certification, 70-hour energy reserve
Case: Chrome steel 904L, domed sapphire crystal with Cyclops magnifier, no anti-reflective coating, helium valve, screw-down Triplock crown, totally threaded caseback, strain system with Biodur 108 interior ring and Grade 5 titanium base, water-resistant to three,900 m
Bracelet and clasp: Bracelet fabricated from 904L chrome steel with security folding clasp and 10-step extension piece, extra fold-out extension piece
Price outcomes (deviation in seconds per 24 hours):
Dial up: 0
Dial down: -1
Crown up: -1
Crown down: 0
Crown left: +1
Crown proper: -3
Biggest deviation: 4
Common deviation: -0.7
Common amplitude:
Flat positions: 281°
Hanging positions: 264°
Dimensions: Diameter = 44 mm, top = 18 mm, weight = 228 g
Value: $12,550