The Rolex Deepsea epitomizes the exacting technical standards that are constantly updated when designing our Professional watches dedicated to diving.
Fitted with the helium escape valve and the Ringlock system, it can withstand the extreme pressure of deep water, to a depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), pushing back the limits of underwater exploration.
Helium escape valve Mastering pressure
Exclusive to Rolex and patented in 1967, the helium escape valve that equips the Rolex Deepsea is an essential invention for saturation diving. It is screwed to the case and consists of a hermetic cylinder, a piston, a gasket and a spring, acting as a safety valve in case of excess internal pressure.
During descent, the hyperbaric chamber is filled with a mixture of gases, composed primarily of helium, which is vital for the diver’s survival. The helium molecules are so small that they penetrate the watch case. During the decompression process, if the helium does not escape fairly rapidly, it can damage the watch, even separating the crystal from the case under the effects of expansion.
The helium escape valve is unidirectional and is automatically activated when the pressure inside the case is greater than the external pressure. It releases the helium atoms, thereby preserving the integrity of the watch during the return to the surface.
Ringlock system Making pressure an ally
In addition to its helium escape valve, the Rolex Deepsea is fitted with a Ringlock system: an innovative case architecture that gives the Oyster case increased resistance to pressure in the ocean depths.
This ingenious device, developed by Rolex and patented, relies on a combination of three parts. With the Rolex Deepsea, it is composed of a virtually scratchproof 5.5 mm-thick sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, a highly resistant compression ring made of nitrogen-enriched steel, which alone bears the pressure exerted by the water, and finally a case back in RLX titanium, a lightweight, particularly robust corrosion-resistant material – held in place against the compression ring by a screw-down ring in Oystersteel.
These three parts, superimposed in the middle case, enhance the watch’s performance in terms of resistance and allow it to withstand great depths. For the Rolex Deepsea, this means 3,900 metres (12,800 feet) below the surface, where there is immense pressure, equivalent to approximately three tonnes, on the sapphire crystal.
Graduated bezel and Chromalight display All-round legibility
A key feature of the Rolex Deepsea and all Rolex divers’ watches, the unidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated monobloc Cerachrom bezel insert. This vital tool measures immersion time with precision.
Manufactured by Rolex and patented, the Cerachrom bezel insert is made of high-technology ceramic. It is extremely hard, virtually scratchproof, and its colour is inalterable. The moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with a contrasting precious metal via PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition).
The bezel can also be turned with ease, even when wearing gloves, thanks to a knurled edge that offers excellent grip.
The Chromalight display gives the Rolex Deepsea optimal legibility in any circumstances. The luminescent material used is a brilliant white in daylight and emits an intense blue glow in the dark.
Exclusive to Rolex and introduced in 2008, the Chromalight display was optimized in 2021 with the use of a new substance that produces a longer-lasting blue emission intensity and an even brighter white hue in daylight. The performance of this luminescent material clearly exceeds the standards required by watchmaking norms.
The result of a complex manufacturing process, this material is obtained by firing an ultra-fine powder – composed of aluminium, strontium, dysprosium and europium – at a high temperature and then mixing it with liquid resin. The hour markers, hands, capsule and bezel are filled or covered by hand. This operation requires great precision in order to perfectly dose the quantity of material and obtain a uniform result that meets Rolex’s criteria of excellence.
D-blue dial The nuances of the ocean
Like Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh before him on their expedition with the bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960, James Cameron made a record dive to the Mariana Trench in 2012. At the helm of his submersible DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, the filmmaker and explorer succeeded in reaching the extreme depth of 10,908 metres (35,787 ft) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Attached to the robotic manipulator arm of the submersible was an experimental divers’ watch: the Rolex Deepsea Challenge.
To celebrate this historic dive, Rolex presented a new version of the Rolex Deepsea in 2014 with a dial known as “D-blue”. With a subtle colour gradient ranging from midnight blue to intense black, it evokes the deep-sea twilight zone, where the last light particles shining down from the surface disappear and darkness takes over.
In tribute to the collaboration between Rolex and the adventurous filmmaker, the word “DEEPSEA” is written on the dial in a shade of green inspired by the colour of James Cameron’s submersible.
Oysterlock clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system Security and reliability in all circumstances
The Rolex Deepsea’s Oyster bracelet is fitted with the patented Oysterlock safety clasp. It also presents a Rolex Glidelock extension system developed by Rolex, which allows the watch to be worn comfortably over a diving suit.
Reserved for Rolex Professional watches, the Oysterlock clasp is synonymous with cutting-edge technology. It features a folding clasp mechanism and a safety catch that prevents accidental opening. It guarantees both reliable fastening and comfortable handling, including underwater.
Integrated into the Oysterlock is the Rolex Glidelock extension system, a sophisticated device consisting of a rack that allows the length of the bracelet to be finely adjusted without the need for tools. The Rolex Glidelock on the Oyster bracelet has 10 notches of approximately 2 mm each.
Designed for dives to great depths, the Rolex Deepsea is fitted with a Triplock winding crown that reinforces the impermeability of its Oyster case. This screw-down crown was invented in 1970 and comprises three sealed zones.
Featured on all Rolex divers’ watches, it is composed of about 10 components made from materials selected for their intrinsic properties: polymers for the waterproof seals, Oystersteel, precious metals and RLX titanium for the mechanical and aesthetic parts.
Screwed to the case for perfect waterproofness, the Triplock crown is recognizable by its three raised symbols under the Rolex emblem on the front.
The Rolex Deepsea is made of Oystersteel, a special alloy that belongs to the 904L steel family, most commonly used in high-technology environments, such as in the aerospace and chemical industries.
In 1985, Rolex became the first watchmaking brand to use solid blocks of 904L steel for certain cases.
Oystersteel is extremely corrosion-resistant and gives the Rolex Deepsea a unique radiance, which retains its lustre even when the watch is put to extreme use.
The calibre 3235 that drives the Rolex Deepsea is a self-winding movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Its architecture, manufacturing and innovative features make it exceptionally precise and reliable.
With 14 patents at the time of its launch in 2015, calibre 3235 is a movement fitted with the Parachrom hairspring and the Chronergy escapement, both of which are resistant to strong magnetic fields. It also boasts Paraflex shock absorbers, which protect the oscillator from impact.
The Rolex Deepsea is a certified Superlative Chronometer that offers excellent performance, particularly in terms of precision (-2/+2 seconds per day) and autonomy (approximately 70 hours).