You are currently viewing Tools for the Depths: The Dive Watches of Rolex | Features

Tools for the Depths: The Dive Watches of Rolex | Features

Dive watches from Rolex are extremely wanted. And it’s no surprise with such an thrilling historical past, various noteworthy collaborations, distinctive designs and sturdy, correct in-house actions. We discover the assorted fashions on this characteristic from the Options archives.

l-r:  Rolex Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and Deepsea fashions

Rolex at the moment produces 4 totally different dive watch fashions: the Submariner and Submariner Date, the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea (listed right here so as from lowest to highest in each dimension and worth). The Submariner and Submariner Date share the identical case dimension. Nearly all watches on this assortment provide variations with totally different supplies, dial and bezel colours. The Submariner and not using a date indication is the entry-level piece and is priced at $7,500. Launched in 1953, it was the primary dive watch from Rolex. At the moment, it had a bidirectional rotating bezel for measuring dive time. Initially, the Submariner was waterproof to 100 meters, however by 1954 Rolex had already elevated this degree to 200 meters. In 1955, the English Royal Navy started utilizing the Submariner as its official dive watch and the Royal Canadian Navy adopted swimsuit the next 12 months.

Rolex first grew to become well-known in 1927 for its water resistant watches with their patented screw-down crown, and the ingenious Oyster title was an efficient advertising and marketing software. Throughout her greater than 15-hour try and swim the English Channel, Mercedes Gleitze wore a water resistant Rolex that withstood the ordeal. Rolex took out a front-page advert within the London Day by day Mail to publicize the occasion that gained the watch nice acclaim.

Rolex Submariner - No Date

The Submariner with no date indication is probably the most economically priced Rolex dive watch ($7,500).

Rolex additionally developed the Deep-Sea Particular watch to discover the ocean depths. Between 1953 and 1960 it participated in a number of maritime expeditions, connected to the outer hull of submarines. The excessive level (or low level) was reached in 1960 when Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh maneuvered their Trieste submersible vessel down into the Mariana Trench to a depth of 10,916 meters, just some meters in need of the deepest level within the sea. The Deep-Sea Particular survived unscathed. Though a number of items of this mannequin had been constructed, it by no means went into serial manufacturing. With a semi-spherical crystal and an total top of 35 mm, it will nonetheless be too giant to be thought of wearable.

Rolex First Submariner 1953

The primary Submariner was launched in 1953.

Right this moment’s Submariner measures 40 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm in top, which is slim for a dive watch. The watch and not using a date indication is powered by the self-winding in-house 3130 motion and with a date, by the 3135. Each calibers boast an influence reserve of 48 hours. Chronometer certification from the unbiased testing company COSC ensures accuracy, alongside the corporate’s personal stricter requirements, which specify that each Rolex watch could not acquire or lose greater than 2 seconds per day. The Glidelock system can lengthen the bracelet for a exact match and permits the Submariner to be worn over a moist swimsuit. Like all Rolex dive watches, it has a steel bracelet and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic inlay.

Saturation diving was developed within the early Nineteen Sixties. When working at deep-sea areas, skilled diving firms took benefit of the truth that after 24 hours below stress, the human physique won’t soak up further nitrogen, thereby limiting the time required for decompression. So to arrange themselves for working for prolonged durations at deep areas, skilled divers would spend a number of days inside a stress chamber full of a helium-nitrogen-oxygen combination. As soon as their underwater activity had been accomplished, the stress within the chamber was regularly decreased to regular ranges. Throughout this course of, crystals from the divers’ watches would typically come out of their instances because of the helium trapped contained in the watches. Divers within the Sealab program skilled this downside whereas serving to the U.S. Marines perform analysis on the results of excessive stress and varied respiration gases on the human physique.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 2017

The 2017 Sea-Dweller with helium escape valve and Cyclops date ($11,350)

A Sealab diver reported the issue to Rolex and advised including a stress reduction valve to soundly launch the helium that had penetrated the watch. Rolex then developed its helium escape valve, which might be adopted by many different manufacturers.

Rolex started working with the French diving specialist Comex within the early Seventies and equipped watches to all Comex divers, who then shared their experiences and helped with the continued improvement of the watches. Comex laid underwater cables, took care of diving work on oil rigs and salvaged shipwrecks. Whereas doing so, they developed their very own particular instruments and experimented with respiration fuel mixtures. Comex set various depth information and a Sea-Dweller was on the wrists of their divers as they subjected themselves to every torturous trial. In 1972, two divers withstood 50 hours in a pressurized chamber measured at 610 meters deep. Later, Comex staff labored within the ocean at greater than 500 meters, and in 1992, a Comex diver achieved a depth of 701 meters inside a stress chamber. What Comex actually wanted was the Sea-Dweller with its thrice greater water resistance and a helium escape valve.

Rolex Sea-Dweller - steel-gold

The latest Sea-Dweller has been obtainable in a steel-and-gold model since 2019 ($16,050).

Within the mid-Nineteen Sixties, Rolex equipped Comex with specifically geared up Submariner fashions to check the helium escape valve. Right this moment, these “Rolex Comex” watches (Ref. 5514) are as costly as they’re uncommon. The Sea-Dweller went into mass manufacturing in 1967, geared up with a helium escape valve. The brand new mannequin was in a position to stand up to stress to a depth of 610 meters. It remained related in design to the Submariner. In 1980, Rolex doubled the Sea-Dweller’s water resistance to 1,220 meters. And to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Sea-Dweller in 2017, Rolex issued a brand new mannequin that changed the earlier mannequin launched in 2014. With a present diameter of 43 mm and a top of 15 mm, and with the long-lasting Rolex Cyclops date magnifier, the watch seems very like an enlarged Submariner however with steady 60-minute markers on the divers’ bezel and pink lettering on the dial.

Rolex Deepsea - blue dial

Due to a particular case, the Deepsea can attain an underwater depth of three,900 meters (with D-blue dial, $12,550).

The utmost depth restrict remained unchanged till 2008, when the Deepsea mannequin was launched with a water resistance of three,900 meters. Rolex developed a totally new case design to make sure that the watch wouldn’t be too giant regardless of its large water resistance. Its patented “Ringlock” system consists of three parts that may take the stress: a 5.5-mm-thick sapphire crystal, a 3.28-mm grade 5 titan-ium caseback and an internal ring manufactured from BioDur 108 metal. The system is surrounded by the 904L metal that Rolex makes use of for the case. The titanium caseback is pressure-fit to the internal ring by a threaded 904L metal caseback ring.

Rolex Deep Sea Special - 1960

Proper: In 1960, the Deep-Sea Particular prototype reached a depth of 10,916 meters.

The supplies are rigorously chosen; they exhibit each power and resilience and don’t simply deform or break below stress. The difficult design permits a 44-mm-by-18-mm case that’s each placing and 10-percent thinner than different instances with an analogous building. The Deepsea is designed to face up to depths of as much as 4,900 meters. Every particular person watch undergoes rigorous underwater testing at this 25-percent greater stress. The Deepsea was up to date in 2018 and now has a extra balanced case and a brand new in-house motion with an influence reserve of 70 hours. Just like the Sea-Dweller, the Deepsea has a Fliplock extension piece that allows nice incremental extension of the bracelet as much as an extra 26 mm.

The 12 months 2012 marked one other necessary underwater venture, the “Deepsea Problem.” And Rolex was a associate as soon as once more. The filmmaker James Cameron was the primary particular person to efficiently attain what was at the moment the deepest level beneath sea degree after the primary well-known expedition in 1960. Hooked up to the skin of his submersible car was one other specifically designed idea watch by Rolex: the Deepsea Problem, which was waterproof to a depth of 12,000 meters. It relied on the Ringlock system and achieved wearable dimensions of 51.4 mm in diameter and 28.5 mm in top.

Rolex Deepsea Challenge

Beneath: In 2012, this prototype reached the deepest level within the ocean at the moment.

Excluding the Submariner with no date, each Rolex dive watch affords totally different choices. The Deepsea is on the market with a black dial or with one which transitions from black to blue. As of 2019, the Sea-Dweller is on the market in each metal and steel-and-gold variations. The metal Submariner is obtainable with a black or inexperienced dial and matching bezel. It’s also obtainable in yellow gold and in metal and gold, and with both choice the shopper can select a black or blue dial and bezel. A white-gold model is obtainable with a blue dial and bezel solely. All in all, the dive watch assortment consists of 12 totally different variations.

Rolex Submariner Dates

The Submariner with a inexperienced bezel and black dial (often called the “Kermit”) and the all-green Submariner (the “Hulk”), priced at $9,050, are extremely wanted.

Costs start at $7,500 for the no-date Submariner, adopted by the Submariner Date at $9,050. Fashions with a helium escape valve are significantly costlier – the Sea-Dweller is obtainable at $11,350 and the Deepsea at $12,250. The costliest mannequin is the white-gold Submariner at $36,850. Regardless of the restricted optical number of these choices, there’s a appropriate divers’ watch from Rolex for each dimension wrist and nearly each pockets.

Rolex Submariner Date - blue

The costliest Rolex dive watch is the Submariner Date in white gold ($36,850)..

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