Discover more about the Rolex Sea-Dweller
Buy Rolex Sea-Dweller watches new, vintage and in excellent certified pre-owned condition
Since the development of the Rolex Oyster Case in the early 20th century, Rolex has pioneered the production of waterproof diving watches. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was developed on the base of the already 1953 introduced Rolex Submariner and evened the way for the exploration of greater depths. The current collection is waterproof up to 1.220 m and is equipped with the typical helium valve.
Dive deep with the Rolex Sea-Dweller
The Rolex Submariner had already established itself as a diver's watch, but Rolex wanted to achieve even lower depths. At a certain depth, the helium-oxygen mixture, which professional divers are breathing during longer dives is penetrating through the silicone and rubber gaskets of the watch into the housing and can´t escape quickly enough during the decompression. So the crystal of the watch would pop out or break. In the early 1960s, therefore, began the development of a prototype made for more depth: Submariners with the ref. 5513 were equipped with helium valves and delivered to Comex, a French company for deep-sea exploration technology. The basis for the Rolex Sea-Dweller was created. The Submariner was depending on the reference, only capable of depths between 100 and 200m.
In 1967, in collaboration with Comex, the first official Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000 (Ref 1665) was launched, with water tightness guaranteed up to depths of 2,000 feet or 610 meters. Vintage specimens of the 1665 are rare and in high demand. They have two red lines of text which gave them their nickname "Double Red". In the mid-1970s the nickname “Submariner 2000” disappeared with the iconic red lettering on the dial of the watch. With 40 mm case diameter, the early Sea Dweller had the same dimensions as the recently enlarged Submariner.
Over the years interesting variations of Sea-Dweller have been published. Dial variations come with different fonts and sizes that can enhance the value of vintage models significantly. Especially rare and sought after are Rolex Sea-Dwellers with Comex logo. It is printed on the dial and engraved in the bottom.
In 1978, at the same time as the Ref. 1665, the Sea-Dweller 16660 with the nickname "Triple Six" was introduced. It was the first Rolex with a sapphire crystal, massive band stops and a water resistance of 4,000 feet or 1,220 m. Originally this reference has a matte dial, tritium-filled luminous indices; it is much more sought after by collectors because it often got a replacement dial over the years.
Since 1992 Comex divers have been receiving the ref. 16600, introduced four years earlier, as the last official Comex reference.
In 2008, the Sea-Dweller series was replaced by the Sea-Dweller DeepSea (Ref. 116660), which had a pressure resistance of stunning 3,900 m. With its 44mm case diameter is is not only bigger but also taller and more robust than its sister. Even for professional use these values are not necessary, but with this watch Rolex follows its own standard: to constantly redefine the limits of the possible.
Already in 2014, the Sea-Dweller 4000 had its comeback: The Ref. 116600 was equipped with a new Cerachrom bezel and kept in the design of its predecessors.
In 2017, for the 50th anniversary of the series, the new Sea-Dweller 126600 was introduced, which brought some radical changes. Its case has been enlarged to 43 mm in diameter, the model name on the dial shines red again as with the early references and, above all, it is the first watch of the series with the typical Rolex Cyclops on top of the date display.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller as a record watch
The Sea-Dweller witnessed many record attempts on the wrist of professional divers. For example, a team of Comex divers set a record in the Mediterranean Sea when they worked on a pipeline link in a whopping depth of 534m. All divers were equipped with Rolex Sea-Dwellers.
In 1992, another record was set by Theo Mavrostomos with Sea-Dweller on his arm. The Comex diver tested the composition of a new respiratory mixture (oxygen, helium and hydrogen) at 701 m diving depth, but in the dry in a high pressure chamber in Marseilles.
Interesting models of Sea-Dweller at a glance
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is an interesting sports watch, which is also suitable for use in the professional field. Over the years, it has been repeatedly revised and equipped with the latest Rolex technologies. In addition to new models of the current collection, vintage references are very popular with collectors and are often rare. Not only models wearing the Comex logo on the dial but engraved on the back are a good investment.
- The Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 has a waterproofness and pressure resistance of exceptional 1,220 m. Its case is made of stainless steel and measures 40 mm in diameter, it is equipped with an Oyster bracelet, also made of stainless steel.
- The Rolex Sea-Dweller 116600 was produced between 2014 and 2017. Unlike its predecessor, the 16600, it is equipped with a Cerachrom bezel. Case and bracelet are made of stainless steel and the watch can withstand the pressure of depths up to 1,220 m.
- The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 is the latest reference in the series from the current collection and with a 43mm case diameter slightly larger than its predecessors. The dial now adorns the model name in bright red, the date display is for the first time provided with the cyclops magnifying glass. It is waterproof up to a depth of 1,220 m and consists of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. As the first sports model from Rolex, it is equipped with the new caliber 3235.
- The Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660, also known as "Tripple Six", is a vintage model that is particularly popular with collectors with its original dial. At auctions, it always produces high prices, as it is difficult to find very well-preserved watches with the original matte dial.
More exciting Rolex series
- The Rolex Submariner is another diver's watch that can be worn both sporty and elegant. Even the most famous spy in the world, James Bond, proved that it cuts a fine figure with both the diving suit and the tuxedo. Even collectors get their money's worth with the traditional Sub, exciting vintage references are exciting and often a worthwhile investment.
- The GMT Master wants to fly high as a pilot's watch. It is still often associated with pilots of the luxury airline PanAm. Originally developed for pilots and frequent travelers, it refers to two time zones simultaneously and helps you to keep the overview.
- The Rolex Milgauss was formerly aimed at scientists, as even strong magnetic fields of up to 1,000 Gauss do not affect its accuracy. It catches the eye with its characteristic orange second hand in lightning form and the green colored sapphire crystal.
- The Rolex Explorer is not only for adventurers a good choice: It accompanied reliably Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the first ascent of Everest, even in everyday life, it is an elegant companion for all walks of life.
- The Rolex Datejust was the first Rolex watch to carry the date display used on many models. The watch is elegant and simple; The Lady Datejust is also very popular as a ladies' watch.