Reference Points Understanding The Rolex Sea-Dweller

Reference Points Understanding The Rolex Sea-Dweller

The Sea-Dweller is unquestionably not the most popular Rolex watch. It sits a long ways behind the never-ending Datejust, the official Day-Date, and the James Bond-esque Submariner. However, its life span has nothing to do with possibility; it typifies what Rolex wishes to depend on: creating sturdy looks for everybody, even those at the edges, including few immersion divers.

The Sea-Dweller was not Rolex’s initial attack into specialty markets. One may recollect the True-Beat, with its bouncing seconds , which was made for specialists, or the counter magnetic Milgauss focused on researchers. The two watches offered immaculate specialized highlights, yet, in the long run, they were ceased given the intrinsically little size of their individual objective business sectors. It may then come as an unexpected that the Sea-Dweller has been around for as far back as 50 years, zeroed in on a limited statement of purpose: go further than the Submariner on the wrists of immersion jumpers and endure anything.

Rolex And Dive Watches

Rolex didn’t present the main jump watch when the Submariner was disclosed in 1954. No, Blancpain had appeared the Fifty Fathoms one year prior, and Omega had already disclosed the Marine over 20 years preior. There is no denying however that the Submariner turned into the quintessential jumper, with its stylish becoming the expected structure factor for plunge watches. Structure following capacity, the vast majority of its plan was conceived out of the need to comply with the ISO 6425 norm. Genuinely, its accomplishment was to nail specialized prerequisites and to accomplish a satisfying gander at the equivalent time.

When the Sea-Dweller showed up in the last part of the 1960s, the Submariner could already arrive at a noteworthy profundity of 200 meters/660 feet; not the slightest bit was it an inadequate jump companion. Accordingly, in soul the Sea-Dweller was not amending imperfections found on the Submariner but instead broadening its submerged utility. Numerous jumpers in the SeaLab undertakings had surely seen that one odd marvel continued happening to their darling Submariners – the gem would frequently jump out in the decompression chamber after a plunge . Clearly that is no good.

It should be underlined that we are not discussing easygoing plunges here, however no-nonsense submerged encounters, as the entire logical reason for SeaLab was to examine the impacts of remaining submerged for expanded timeframes (the previous Astronaut Scott Carpenter accomplished 30 successive days in 1965). This must be accomplished through immersion jumping, and this is the place where the Rolex Submariner met a genuine challenge.

Saturation jumping requires the utilization of helium in the breathing gas combination, and helium particles would gather inside the instance of a plunging watch during delayed openness. During decompression, the pressing factor inside the watch would need to be let out through the most fragile purpose of the watch, fiercely ousting the plexiglass as that helium gas constrained its direction out. 

Many model watches were made to attempt to settle this, and they were regularly nicknamed “Ocean Dweller” watches, given the multi-day stays submerged. Eventually, a fairly straightforward and productive component was created as a helium get away from valve on the case. Rolex’s development is Swiss patent CH492246, in the event that you’re interested. By letting the helium particles escape through a controlled component, the detonating plexi issue was solved.

The helium get away from valve on the reference 16660 Sea-Dweller.

And so started the genealogy of the Sea-Dweller, back in 1967. Now, after 50 years, there have been more advancements, more extraordinary profundity appraisals, and even a couple of uncommon releases worth nothing. Here’s a complete gander at the five-decade history of Rolex’s most devoted instrument watch.

Reference 1665 'Double Red' (1967-1977)

The absolute first creation Sea-Dweller was the Double Red Sea-Dweller (DRSD). The moniker alludes to the two red lines on the dial, which set it apart from the small bunch of models (read a top to bottom article here ) that highlight only one line of red content. Those are, as you’d expect, called “Single Red” Sea-Dwellers. Curiously, the helium get away from valve isn’t a characterizing highlight on every one of those models, yet it turned into the mark of the Sea-Dweller family as far as we might be concerned today, so we’re beginning with the primary legitimate, creation reference.

In comparison to the standard Submariner of the time, the DRSD and its 40mm steel case could be recognized by the undeniable valve on the left caseband. It likewise offered a date show at three o’clock, vital data for jumpers estimating their extensive stays submerged. Curiously, the plexi didn’t highlight the typical cyclops over the date window, as it would not have supported the submerged pressing factor (at the time the cyclops was essentially stuck onto the gem). Instead there were thick domed plexiglass gems that authorities today truly like. 

A few dial renditions are known, in view of little varieties of the red composition. There are ordered from Mark 0 to Mark 4, with Mark 5, 6, and 7 being later substitution dials from Rolex. Similarly as with most vintage watches, the prior the arrangement, the most significant the watch – so you can expect costs for Mark 1 and 2 to be ordinarily that of the more normal Mark 4, while Single Red Sea-Dwellers never show available to be purchased. At this point, a completely right Single Red would probably bring over 1,000,000 dollars at auction.

Reference 1665 'Great White' (1977-1983)

Again, the moniker here comes from the dial, as the red lines from the past models are presently imprinted in white. There is likewise a differentiation between early Mark 0, and later Mark 1, 2, 3, 4 arrangements . The Mark 2 gets a ton of consideration from authorities for the course of action of its Chronometer line – the arrangement of the words on the two lines are portrayed as a “rail ,” a common element with the desired Comex dials. These are classified “rail dial” Sea-Dwellers and they’re conceivably the best Great White variation. In reality, the Compagnie d’Exploration was an excellent customer for the gas get away from valve and in the wake of buying a couple of Submariners custom-fitted with a valve, it chose the Sea-Dweller long term.

Red shading aside, the “Incomparable White” is fundamentally the same as the DRSD: It held a similar 1665 reference number, a similar water opposition, and a similar case qualities. The market estimation of these is far beneath that of any DRSD, except for those Great Whites with Comex-marked dials. The “Incomparable White” is remarkably the absolute last Sea-Dweller to include a plexiglass gem, an element considered by numerous individuals as a vital component of a vintage watch.

Reference 16660 'Triple Six' (1978-1989)

The “Triple 6” is substantially less fiendish than its name would propose, yet it addresses a radical takeoff from the previously mentioned reference 1665. From multiple points of view, the reference 16660 is the paradigm of the “advanced” Sea-Dweller, since it includes a sapphire gem – making it among the primary Rolex watches to highlight it. This component, and its greater case, permitted it to flaunt an expanded water opposition 4,000 feet/1,220 meters – twofold the constraint of its predecessors.

A few different changes ought to be underlined between the references 1665 and 16660: the date circle lost its shiny completion to become grayish, the bezel got unidirectional, and the helium valve filled in size. The reference 16660 likewise uses the type 3035, which offers a quicker beat-rate than the past type 1575, and a fast set component, adding significantly more comfort to the Sea-Dweller.

Let’s further separate the reference 16660 into two distinct varieties: those with the early matte dial with painted lists and those with the later shiny dial with white-gold encompasses. In fact, it makes substantially more than a tasteful distinction, as painted files are another component commonly thought to characterize vintage Rolex watches. So one can consider the 16660 with both sapphire precious stone and shiny dial as the unadulterated current Sea-Dweller, while the previous matte dial is to a greater degree a momentary arrangement offering vintage looks yet present day security. Consequently, their worth likewise mirrors that circumstance, with the matte 16660 dragging along the “Incomparable White” 1665, and the reflexive 16660 trading for recognizably lower amounts.

Reference 16600 (1989-2009)

Launched in the last part of the 1980s, the reference 16600 is essentially indistinguishable from the late “Triple Six,” keeping up its sapphire precious stone and its 1,220 meter water opposition. Over its amazingly long creation period, the brilliant material advanced from tritium to Luminova, and afterward to SuperLuminova. You can undoubtedly tell which will be which by taking a gander at the lower part of the dial –  T Swiss T<25 demonstrates Tritium, Swiss shows Luminova, and Swiss Made shows SuperLuminova. Not all that intense, right?

The reference 16600 additionally uses the type 3135, a marginally improved variant of the type 3035. It has a more drawn out force save and an undeniable equilibrium connect, instead of the equilibrium chicken. The reference 16600 was suspended following 20 years in Rolex indexes, making it the longest enduring Sea-Dweller reference, and a simple model to discover used. Similarly as with current watches, a full set (with unique box and papers) is desirable over a “bare” watch, regardless of whether it implies paying a little premium (on account of vintage watches, this premium can be radically higher given the impressive time since the creation of the piece).

Deepsea Reference 116660 (2008-Present)

Introduced in 2008, the Deepsea took the Sea-Dweller to another level, dramatically multiplying its water protection from an amazing 12,800 feet/3,990 meters. This clearly is the aftereffect of a decent amount of designing wonders, including the 5mm-thick sapphire gem to help the submerged pressing factor helped by an obvious Ringlock framework that keeps the watch’s thickness underneath 18mm. Furthermore, obviously, the watch includes a Cerachrom bezel, and the new Chromalight lume. To put it plainly, this was the Formula 1 of Rolex jumpers, in a 44mm case (with titanium caseback to help deal with the weight).

A uncommon release was disclosed in 2014 to commemorate James Cameron’s 2012 undertaking into the Mariana Trench. The D-Blue release (envisioned here) was an occasion in itself, as Rolex never does things like this. The watch wasn’t carefully restricted in number, and stays accessible right up ’til the present time, with its gradient blue dial having discovered some fanatic fans. Also, in the event that you feel 44mm may be too large, this must be compared to the 51mm estimations of the custom Deepsea Challenge that endure a profundity of 10,908 meters in favor of James Cameron’s vessel. That is no joke.

Reference 116600 (2014-2017)

After a five-year nonattendance, the Sea-Dweller returned in 2014, with the presentation of the reference 116600. Obviously, the watch got a bezel upgrade to Cerachrom earthenware instead of the aluminum of the previous Sea-Dweller. The case returned to 40mm, with carries more slender than those of the Rolex Submariner. It offered numerous subtleties that vintage fans could identify with, from the Maxi dial with curiously large records to the entire moment markings on the bezel, additionally found on the vintage MilSub . It additionally includes the cutting edge comfort of the Glidelock adjustment on the catch and the productive blue Chromalight lume.

Yet, the reference 116600 is additionally the most brief Sea-Dweller ever, supplanted only a few of years after its underlying dispatch. Regardless of its specialized accomplishments, it never figured out how to legitimize its value premium over the Submariner, frequently exclusively being recognized as the “Submariner without cyclops.” However, when the information on its vanishing hit Basel this year, the recycled estimation of the reference 116600 unexpectedly soared.

Reference 126600 (2017-Present)

Ben looked into the new reference 126600 top to bottom recently, and you presumably recall the watch’s most striking curiosity: a cyclops over the date. It turned into the absolute first Sea-Dweller to include one, a radical takeoff from the first reference 1665. However, its single red line additionally offers an enchanting gesture to the primary model Sea-Dwellers.

Very clearly the watch has developed to 43mm, separating it considerably more from the Submariner, which has remained at 40mm. Stylishly, the drag size additionally developed to 22mm, which protected the watch’s extents simultaneously. The practical upgrades additionally incorporate the development, with the type 3135 offering route to the type 3235. The 3135 highlights a more extended force hold, higher magnetic opposition, and higher accuracy. It’s an inside and out upgrade.

The new reference is clearly a takeoff from the first structure factor of the Sea-Dweller, however it is generally an essential move to make the Sea-Dweller hang out in the momentum Rolex line-up – particularly against the Submariner – and offer a possibility for a greater watch without all the specialized over the top excess of the Deepsea.

Gathering The Rolex Sea-Dweller

Now, Sea-Dwellers vary from Subs, GMTs, and Explorers since they were brought into the world in the “matte dial” period. This implies there is nothing of the sort as a plated dial Sea-Dweller. That doesn’t sound that significant, yet consider that the Subs that go for boatloads of money these days are only plated dial watches from the 1950s and mid ’60s. So what makes a truly collectible Sea-Dweller? There are a couple of things that can do it: twofold marks, extraordinary orders, and age. 

A exceptional Tiffany-marked early Sea-Dweller. (Photograph: politeness of

A 1665 for Oman that sold for 377,000 CHF in May 2015. (Photograph: graciousness of Phillips)

Let’s discussion about dials first. Any twofold marked Sea-Dweller is uncommon. The model above, retailed and endorsed by Tiffany & Co., is an extremely extraordinary watch. To start with, Sea-Dwellers were not actually commercial items for Rolex – they were given and relegated to people in exceptional powers and specialized pursuits. Purchasing a uber jumper at Tiffany & Co. in New York City during the 1970s is abnormal, and that is the reason they are pursued. Additionally, the Sea-Dweller has more content on its dial than some other games Rolex. There are seven lines immediately Red – add a Tiffany mark, and you’re up to eight. That is a great deal of text. And keeping in mind that it’s not however everybody would prefer, it sure is bizarre. Furthermore, in this world, abnormal methods collectible. There are apparently some Cartier-marked Sea-Dwellers out there as well, however I would be very cautious about those. However, truly, I’d be cautious with practically any twofold marked watch except if from the first owner. 

Sea-Dwellers were additionally, now and again, given to imperial families and illustrious partners. The watch you see at directly above is a 1665 modified for the Sultan of Oman during the 1970s, and it is the perfect inverse of the Tiffany watch in light of the fact that there is practically no content on the dial. Instead, you have a Khanjar, the public image of Oman. Omani Sea-Dwellers are positively in the more elite classes of plunge watch gathering, and the common reasoning is that around 90 Omani Sea-Dwellers with red Khanjars were delivered, while somewhere in the range of nine and 12 dials like the one above in green were made. This watch sold for 377,000 CHF at Phillips in May 2015 .

If an appropriately recorded Single-Red Sea-Dweller were to come up at closeout, its outcome is anyone’s guess.

In addition to twofold marked and uncommon commission watches – like those given to COMEX, a point deserving of a whole devoted story – the basic truth with Sea-Dwellers is that previous equivalents more important. Further, those watches with stories to them command critical charges. The more unique period photos, plunge logs, and genuine provenance the better. For instance, I can’t recall Jason Heaton truly being more energized than when Philippe-Pierre Cousteau’s Double-Red Sea-Dweller came available to be purchased . The beat-up Rolex sold for more than $180,000 in those days in 2014. It was, obviously, an early “patent-forthcoming” model, which are the two words that make any Sea-Dweller devotee liven up. Only this previous week in New York, a “patent-forthcoming” Sea-Dweller MK1 sold for $143,000 a couple of parts after the Paul Newman Daytona hit $17 million. We’ve seen them go significantly higher as a decent full set.

Still, Comex, Oman, and any extraordinary Double-Red have nothing on the all-powerful Sea-Dweller, the “Single Red.” As referenced over, the most punctual instances of the Sea-Dweller created even before the Double-Red watches had only one line of red content on the dial. They were evaluated to only 500 feet instead of 600, however they are so profane uncommon that any time one surfaces it is not kidding watch-fellow news. 

This Patent Pending Double-Red with full provenance sold for $225,000 in 2015.

We’ve been expounding on them on HODINKEE for more than five years and covering their records as a matter of course. In 2012, AQ sold one for more than $500,000 . By then, it was among the main three most costly Rolex watches ever. In 2013, Sotheby’s sold one without a bezel for nearly $400,000 . Recently, Rolex Passion Report distributed an entrancing glance at a newfound Single-Red with astounding provenance . The watch was immediately offered to a gatherer in Asia for an undisclosed price.

It is evident that any Sea-Dweller with an incredible story of adventure is worth more than one without. At that point we have the Comex and Omani watches. At that point the Patent-Pending watches, with additional focuses for an early patent-forthcoming wristband. In any case, the sacred goal of these mega Rolex jumpers is without question the Single-Red Sea-Dweller, which is the reason it was so magnificent to see Rolex close the circle this year by adding only a solitary line of red content to the 126600.

Ocean Dweller Reference Table

Special because of the numerous proprietors who confided in us with their valued individual watches, and specifically Mr. Massena from Vesper Watches , Mr. Kozubek from HQ Milton , Mr. Morgan from IconicWatches , Mr. Ku from 10PastTen , and Mr. Pereztroika from Perezscope . Furthermore, obviously thank you to Rolex for loaning us the cutting edge pieces highlighted here.