Baselworld 2017: Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 50th Anniversary Watch

By Jovan Krstevski

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller is a beast of a diver’s watch hands down. And for its 50th anniversary, the watch gets a redesigned bolder case which now comes in a more robust 43 mm dimension and of course a lot of updates over and under the hood.

Sea-Dweller – 1967

This legendary diver’s watch is a professional choice mainly because of its helium escape valve technology (patented by Rolex way back in 1967) enabling it to dive up to 1,220 meters (4,000 feet). At these depths, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller becomes a serious tool for professional deep-sea diving although no one is stopping you to use it for leisure diving purposes.

The new Sea-Dweller now features a larger 43 mm 904L steel case. Other than its bigger size, it still comes in a typical Oyster architecture featuring Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown. The design is classic as ever. The alternating brush and polish looks simply scream “look at me now” although its purpose is totally for some serious diving reasons. The elements are fully functional like the unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel sporting scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic. Its numerals and graduations are also coated in platinum, very tough to beat indeed. The knurled edge of the bezel seems like a unique touch but its designed for better grip under water, even with gloves. Next is the fluted case back which is screwed down with a special tool so only Rolex watchmakers can access the movement for service, talk about proprietary solutions. There is also the handsome crown sporting triplock triple waterproofness system, it looks darn great with the Rolex branding.

As for the sleek black dial underneath the scratch-resistant sapphire with Cyclops lens over the date at 3, it perfectly defines the Rolex Oyster design. The dial sports large Chromalight hour markers and hands filled with luminescent material aiding for maximum visibility underwater. The luminescent material used for the hands emits a longer-lasting blue glow which is better for darker conditions underwater. I normally would prefer green glow but I don’t know the real conditions of professional deep diving in excess of 1000 meters, so blue it is.

The true colors of the new Sea-Dweller is of course found on its new Calibre 3235. It packs more than enough patents to secure its place amongst legendary movements however it gets its real power from an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring fitted to the oscillator. Its paramagnetic alloy material is up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring. The Calibre 3235 comes equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. There is also a new barrel architecture and of course the escapement’s undoubtable performance. With all these technologies employed on the movement, 70 hours of power reserve is attainable which is very impressive.

On the comfort and style level, the new Sea-Dweller comes with a better bracelet featuring solid-link Oyster bracelet in 904L steel. It is also protected by an Oysterlock safety clasp preventing any accidental openings. When diving suits are involved so a double extension system really shines here since it allows adjustments to be made without using tools. 26 mm extension is possible thanks to the Fliplock extension link plus the fine adjustment of the Rolex Glidelock system.

Most importantly, the new Sea-Dweller comes with a Superlative Chronometer certification. This ensures that the watch exceeds watchmaking norms and standards and applies to the fully assembled watch in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. Throw in an international five-year guarantee and we get ourselves a very nice deal indeed. For more info, please visit