What may seem like a few minor design changes here and there actually mean a lot of serious firsts with the new-for-2017 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary model reference 126600, making this replacement of the Sea-Dweller 4000 one of the more important releases of Baselworld 2017.
First and foremost, let’s begin with the tech specs, as with this new reference 126660, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has received five major updates: first, it has grown from 40mm to 43 millimeters wide, making for a very considerable difference between the Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary and the Submariner (which is 40mm). Second, it received a cyclops over the date, a first for a Rolex Sea-Dweller and as controversial an update as the growth in size. Third, it is now powered not by the 3135 but the updated 3235 caliber (the same as the Datejust 41 reviewed here). Fourth, it has a redesigned bracelet that is now wider and makes for a more secure fit on the wrist. Last, but not least, it pays tribute to the original Sea-Dweller of 1967.
All this, of course, seriously changes the looks of the Rolex Sea-Dweller. The larger case and bracelet make it more proportionate by matching a greater diameter case with the existing thickness – that was arguably a bit disproportionate with the 40mm width of the previous 116600. Bear in mind that the thickness (no official figure on it yet but check the wristshots to get a good idea) is necessitated by the 4,000ft/1,220m water-resistance.
While in this regard the added width makes sense, the new-found cyclops – again, new for the Rolex Sea Dweller Mark 3 Replica Sea-Dweller altogether – arguably is an even more controversial decision. The Rolex Sea-Dweller, some argued, from the get-go should have been a larger alternative to the No-Date and Date Submariner models (instead, all three watches thus far had been 40mm wide) – but the cyclops, even Rolex admits, is a less obvious and more controversial addition.
A lesser-known fact is that the original Rolex Submariner Vs Rolex Sea Dweller 4000 Replica Sea-Dweller of 1967 did not have a cyclops because when Rolex added it to the plexiglass front, it caused structural weaknesses in it and ultimately caused it to shatter before reaching the desired depth rating – and so the cyclops was omitted. The Rolex Sea-Dweller all until 2017 has maintained its cyclops-free looks, making yet another reason for it to be a Submariner alternative (as, clearly, not everyone is a fan of the cyclops-look). Now, in this regard, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is more in line with all other collections, with only the Deepsea now standing out from the rest, as it still does not have a cyclops over its date aperture.
The movement, as we have noted, is the new 3235, an automatic, fully Rolex-designed and -made caliber that complies with Rolex’s -2/+2 second daily accuracy (all details here) and offers an extended 70 hours of power reserve over the previous Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea Blue Replica Replica Sea-Dweller’s 48 hours. It, hence, features Rolex’s high-capacity mainspring barrel, its Chronergy escapement with paramagnetic nickel-phosphorous pallet fork and escape wheel, Paraflex shock absorbers, Parachrom hairspring, a large balance wheel with Microstella variable inertia lugs and an operating frequency of 4Hz. It is the latest and greatest tech-fest that Rolex can offer at the moment.
The particulars of this new Sea-Dweller bracelet are this: it’s 904L stainless steel (like the instance) and made from strong links together with a taper at the buckle. These are horizontal brushed links, no centre polishing (as you will see, say, the brand new Daytona). This bracelet has an “Oysterlock” grip — Rolex’s term for a fold-over grip, and something the Sea-Dweller has had since its inception. As for the bracelet itself, it is all about functionality and relaxation, although I will admit to some small disappointment in the wear of this bracelet after a brief period of time — I’ll get to this soon. First, the let’s discuss particular characteristics of the bracelet. And this is Rolex after so you have not one but two clever little tips to make sure this bracelet works in almost any circumstance. The first is a system named Rolex Glidelock. This enables the wearer to adjust the bracelet from the grip, at 2mm intervals, all of the way up to 20mm. The second system, which will be particular to Rolex dive watches, is called a Fliplock link, and this quickly extends the entire length of the bracelet by 27mm! Don’t quite know how this works? Fear not, we have created a gif to get you.Both of these systems function just as you see above — with no use of one tool. The Fliplock extension link is perhaps a little unsightly with its large, flat surface, but if you are trying to put this opinion on over a dive suit at all, you probably do not care in any way. This link attaches to the very last Oyster link before the bracelet hits the clasp.These two systems make the Sea-Dweller bracelet hard to contend with from a performance stand point. And the Oysters are famously comfy to wear around every day. But something I’ve noticed on both my modern Rolex watches (Daytona and GMT-Master) and now this Sea-Dweller, is that the Oysterlock grip can sense a little tinny occasionally, and when open, can rub the bracelet links.
The new Rolex Sea Dweller Nato Replica Sea-Dweller’s 904L Oyster bracelet is fitted with an Oysterlock safety clasp, Fliplock extension system for an added 26mm of reach along with the Rolex Glidelock system for 2mm-increment fine adjustments over a distance of 20mm. Typical Rolex Sea-Dweller feats such as the black Cerachrom bezel with PVD-applied platinum numerals, flat front sapphire crystal and 1,220m of water resistance enforced by a helium escape valve inside the left side of the case (see its components below) remain present.
Available exclusively with a black dial with white gold hands and indices and Chromalight lume, the stand-out feature (if we can call it that) here is the red Sea-Dweller designation over the usual depth rating and COSC certification reminder.
Lastly, along with the red lettering and among all other novelty factors of this Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600, we should consider the name and presentation because, in this special case, that matters too. Simply called the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, Rolex actually presented it as the 50th anniversary model in their windows around their Baselworld booth.
The Sea-Dweller began at 40mm and remained there at its initial size for approximately half a century. Even the Milgaus, when it was brought back to life, seemed in a larger size.The GMT-Master and Submariner were both born little (37mm) and fast upsized to 40mm in the 1960s in which they remain, more or less now. But if we’ve got a Submariner in 40mm, does not it make sense the more rugged and heavier rated Sea-Dweller is somewhat larger? As much as it might frustrate many of us, it does seem to compute.Now that is not to say I really like it. But one thing I’ve heard concerning the watch business is that there is always something for everybody, and I know that tens of thousands of people out there’re thrilled that the new SD is 43mm. Actually, in our introducing article from BaselWorld this season, there was a shocking quantity of support over the 187 comments concerning the bigger dimensions. With the new size comes a larger lug diameter — 20mm to 22mm — although the new measurements don’t create the piece that outlandish on the wrist.
In an interview conducted by Jason Heaton back in 2012, Barth tells of how he and his fellow crew members, while undergoing decompression in a decompression chamber, could occasionally hear a quick “pop” just to find that the crystal of somebody’s watch — Submariners, Blancpains, and Tudors, largely — had come off. Helium forms very tiny molecules, which can over time permeate the seals of a dive watch and build up in the circumstance. Divers would spend several days in a decompression chamber, in which air pressure could gradually be lowered from that at working thickness, to air pressure at sea level. The helium wouldn’t have the ability to leak back out of the watch case quickly enough and the result was increasingly increased pressure inside the watch instance — frequently, enough to pop the crystal off. It had been the SEALAB missions that first called for a helium escape valve, which was introduced within the Rolex range on the Sea-Dweller and remains a staple of the model to this day. The Sea-Dweller reference 1665 was released in 1967 as Rolex’s biggest, baddest, most capable dive watch. The bracelet needed an extension clasp that enabled the owner to quickly open the bracelet up to allow it to fit on the outside of a diving suit. This is the way the Sea-Dweller was created and how it stayed for a while (we would shed the red lettering in the mid 70s across precisely the same period the 1680 dropped its reddish from the dial) and over the years we’d see continuing improvements to water resistant technology in Rolex’s most specialist line. That is, of course, before Rolex murdered the Sea-Dweller because we know it.
This new caliber has plenty to offer — in the middle of the improvements is the Chronergy escapement, a stream-lined version of the standard Swiss lever escapement. The escape wheel is skeletonized to reduce inertia, and Rolex claims it is far more efficient this way. We also have parts manufactured from a nickel-phosphorus metal, which make the motion more immune to magnetism than a conventional caliber, and naturally, we have the in-house Rolex Parachrom equilibrium spring (also amagnetic). The outcome is a power reserve of 70 hours (up from 40) plus a motion that is rated to not just COSC standards but also to “Superlative Chronometer” standards of -2/+2 moments per day, or approximately two times as accurate as COSC. (The COSC also tests only movements whereas the Superlative Chronometer rating is for the whole watch). The Sea-Dweller is the very first sports watch to be given a caliber with those updates, also since this is Rolex, there is absolutely no way you would know it by taking a look at the watch since it’s all hidden behind a hermetically sealed caseback. Beautiful, isn’t it?Again, most Sea-Dweller buyers likely care little for anti-magnetism, improved escapement geometry, and nickel-phosphorus alloys, but if you are buying a Rolex, you do care about efficiency and durability, and the caliber 3235 has that in spades. Then again, so does the Day-Date 40mm, which you may read about here thanks to my colleague Jack Forster.
While the model name doesn’t include that anniversary reference, it’s still an interesting development in the sense that although Rolex has naturally been perpetually changing and fine-tuning long-established collections (like the Daytona, Submariner, Sea-Dweller, Datejust, Day-Date, and more), it’s been exceedingly rare for an all-new Rolex Sea Dweller F Serial Replica model to decidedly pay tribute to a previous version’s design element like the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 does with its red Sea-Dweller text.
However, this reaction out of Cost Of A Rolex Sea Dweller Replica is a tiny bit like Ferrari citing performance because of its usage of Formula 1-style transmissions over a three-pedal manual — yes, it is quicker, but there a considerable percentage of this sports car purchasing public that believes we reached “quickly enough” years back and would trade .03 off their automobile’s 0-60mph time if they could delight in the sense of rowing their particular gears.If Rolex really wanted to create the most accurate watch in precisely the same way Ferrari wishes to make the most high performing car, would not the Sea-Dweller be thrown? Here in lies the fantastic irony of Swiss watchmaking — they want to push performance and efficiency as far as possible, but not so much that they start to play in a area where they are no longer the pros — basically till they start sacrifice of some of their own traditions. If Ferrari, for example, was established in Geneva instead of Maranello, perhaps we would see the new 812 Superfast with a six speed transmission and carburetors since “that is how a real car ought to be made.” But that is another story for another day. The new Sea-Dweller includes a cyclops window, like it not.Ah, the bracelet, the one piece of any Rolex watch that is practically impervious to critique from anybody. What is there to say, really? The matter is that a modern marvel. Rolex has long been at the forefront of bracelet engineering and really they have a complete team of dedicated engineers, scientists and craftsman in Geneva that guarantee what they create is the bar where all other bracelets are measured. And yes, if you did not know this, merry Freres, the manufacturer of those incredible vintage bracelets that you see not just about Rolex watches but also many others (such as vintage Pateks) was obtained by Rolex some years back.
Last year, when everyone was expecting a new Daytona, I don’t find it a stretch to say that many were looking forward to seeing something really quite close to the Newman Daytonas of old, or at least a perfect panda dial – and yet, Rolex Sea Dweller Kw Replica has decided to tip-toe their way around that. A few years ago, the re-launch of the Pepsi-bezel GMT was also close to its predecessor but very clearly different in its colors than the original. Here, however, we are looking at a clear reference to one of the defining aesthetic elements of an early Rolex collection, making it a small change, but possibly a significant one to many Rolex fans.
Of course, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the first Sea-Dweller 1665. But it is important to be aware that we got a whole new Sea-Dweller at 2014 — that is a heck of a brief run for a Rolex Sea Dweller Black Replica reference when you recall that the very first Sea-Dweller was made from 1967 all the way up until the 1980s. The 5513 ran from the early ’60s during the late ’80s. This can be Rolex, dammit, and items should not change too quickly — but they did. It’s a helium escape valve as it should and it is water resistant to 1,300 feet deeper than the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is high. The thing is unbelievable, definitely. But we gained three millimeters in diameter in 2014 to 2017, which means it’s no more the exact same case size as the first. Further we have a cyclops window on the crystal, which in case you’re a Sea-Dweller man, may be viewed as something of a catastrophe. Let’s go through the reference 126600 in detail, so now that I have had a chance to spend a week sporting it.Forty three millimeters isn’t huge. But it is not small either. It’s a full 3mm larger in diameter than the previous generation Sea-Dweller, also, all Sea-Dwellers that came before it. It remains 15mm thick (as quantified by myself; situation thickness isn’t a number Rolex stocks), and while my first response to this upsizing of a historic tool watch is, “gah, Rolex, why did you do that!?” Let’s consider the following.
Anyhow, the 43mm-wide Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 is the new and only Rolex Sea-Dweller in town from now on, as it fully replaces the 40mm-wide Sea-Dweller 4000. It looks bold and feels heavy on the wrist, but it carries that heft in a much more balanced manner when compared to how its predecessor had done.
What truly makes it an interesting step on Rolex’s part is how the new Rolex Sea Dweller Vs Daytona Replica Sea-Dweller now blends more into the Rolex dive watch range with its cyclops fitted over its date, and how it stands out with its boldly different 43mm-wide diameter. In closing, it is worth imagining what this watch would have been like without the red text and the cyclops but everything as it is now – it would have made for a long-expected update bringing on better proportions and a larger alternative to those who have been on the lookout for something larger than a Submariner but not as bold as the Deepsea.
As it stands now, however, it certainly cannot be called another safe step from Rolex Sea Dweller 43mm Replica – they admittedly made the controversial decision of not only considerably upping the size but also adding the cyclops, rendering this a truly new Rolex Sea-Dweller that offers more than a mere face-lift (and not just by Rolex standards). Price for the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 is CHF10,800 including tax. rolex.com