By Meor Amri Meor Ayob
In this article, I will provide a hands-on opinion on two monsters of the deep, the Rolex Deepsea and the Deep Blue Depthmaster.
|The Rolex Deepsea is water resistant to a depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet). The 44 mm case is made out of 904L stainless steel with thick domed sapphire crystal and unidirectional rotatable bezel with a 60-minute graduated black Cerachrom insert.|
|The Deep Blue Depthmaster is water resistant to a depth of 3,000 metres (10,000 feet). The 49 mm case is made out of 316L stainless steel with thick domed sapphire crystal and unidirectional rotatable bezel with sapphire insert.|
These two watches were designed with the singular purpose; to enable extreme divers to make them their first choice watch for diving. However, here is where the similarity ends. From this point on, Rolex incorporates the need for styling to cater for connoisseurs whereas Deep Blue went on the need to make its creation tool-like and affordable for the normal Joe.
Rolex made the effort to create a patented divers extension whereas Deep Blue is contented to use the typical one-size only extension mechanism in the clasp.
The helium escape valve mechanism utilized is also different. For Rolex, its engineers created a gas escape valve fitted with a spring: it opens when the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the watch reaches 3 to 5 bars, allowing the helium to escape, thereby protecting the watch. For Deep Blue, a manual system is used. A special crown at the 10 o’clock position needs to be manipulated manually if the user feels the pressure require equalization. Although this potentially puts the Depthmaster at risk if users forget to engage the valve when required, the assumption is that only professional divers will ever be in that position anyway and training will make them do the necessary to ensure all their equipment are protected.
The patented Rolex Glidelock fine adjustment system allows divers to adjust the length of the bracelet to fit over a diving suit, without using any tools. A toothed panel under the clasp cover provides an extension of up to 20 mm in 2 mm increments.
Deep Blue provide a typical solid diver extension that extends to a additional 23 mm.
Nevertheless, the wearing experience is not at all different between these two watches. Both are heavyweights and the weight is obvious to the wearers (if you do wear it often, it’ll become natural after a while). Like I mentioned earlier, these are tool watches hence cannot be used in all occasions. Contrary to popular believe (or what the Rolex advert tries to portray), the Deepsea cannot be used properly if you are wearing tuxedos or suits. The height of the watch is too high and can never slip pass the cuffs (if you decide to use a wider cuff, it can disappear in it but then you won’t look good – style wise).
In the following set of four pictures, you can clearly see the height of these two watches. Interestingly, the case-back for the Depthmaster is extremely domed when compared to the Deepsea but does not drastically affect the ride of the watch on one’s wrist.
The width of the bracelet also plays a role. The Rolex’s lug width is 21 mm whereas the Depthmaster is 26 mm. To me, the Rolex appears slightly unbalanced while the Deep Blue looks normal and hides its true size. A 22 mm or 24 mm would have been better suited for the Deepsea.
In conclusion, that of you into big watches, wearing any of these two watches gives you confidence. The size, the weight and the sheer wrist presence makes them Kings-of-the-Deep. Nevertheless, given the choice, most, if not all will love to have the Deepsea. For practical reasons, the Depthmaster wins when it comes to value-for-money. For every one Deepsea, you can get fifteen (!) Depthmasters. Do you get the same ratio in terms of capabilities? Definitely not. What is important is the question every prospective owner should ask: Should I pay the high premium just for the brand Rolex or should it be put to better use somewhere else?