Deepsea Challenge

The ultimate diver

Deepsea Challenge

An adaptation of the experimental watch developed for James Cameron’s 10,908-metre (35,787 feet) descent on 26 March 2012, the Deepsea Challenge is the fruit of Rolex’s extensive expertise and know-how in the world of divers’ watches.

RLX Titanium

RLX titanium
Ultralight resistance

RLX titanium is a grade 5 titanium alloy selected by Rolex for its weightlessness and resistance to deformation and corrosion. Although insensitive to abyssal pressure, the experimental watch that accompanied James Cameron in the Mariana Trench still posed a wearability problem due to its weight, as it was made of 904L steel. The use of RLX titanium to create the case and bracelet of the Deepsea Challenge considerably lightened its weight: it is 30 per cent lighter than the experimental watch that inspired it. The watch also features a particularly visible grain in the satin finish on the bracelet and the case – with the exception of the crown guard. In order to highlight the curved profile of the lugs, the top edges have been chamfered and polished.

Made of RLX titanium and equipped with the helium escape valve and the Ringlock system, it is capable of accompanying divers in any environment – during freedives, submersible dives or in hyperbaric chambers.

Ringlock system
Controlled pressure

Rolex’s patented Ringlock system equips all of the brand’s divers’ watches designed for extreme depths. An extension of the research dedicated to the waterproofness of the Oyster, this system is a reinforced case architecture comprising a thick, slightly domed sapphire crystal, a nitrogen-alloyed steel compression ring, and a case back made from RLX titanium. This construction allows the Deepsea Challenge to withstand the pressure exerted by water at 11,000 metres (36,090 feet), the depth to which it is guaranteed waterproof. In partnership with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), Rolex developed an ultra-high-pressure tank to test the waterproofness of the Deepsea Challenge. Each watch is tested, as required by the standards for divers’ watches, with an additional safety margin of 25 per cent, meaning that it is subjected to a pressure equivalent to that exerted at a depth of 13,750 metres (45,112 feet).

helium escape valve

Helium escape valve
Managing decompression

Professional saturation divers spend long periods of time in a hyperbaric chamber, where the gas mixture they breathe contains a significant proportion of helium. The molecules are so small that they penetrate the watch case. During the decompression phase that enables divers to gradually eliminate the gas mixture absorbed by their bodies and returns them to normal atmospheric pressure, the helium cannot always escape from the watch case sufficiently quickly. This phenomenon can result in a build-up of pressure inside the timepiece, leading to damage or even separating the crystal from the case. To allow the gas to be released without compromising the waterproofness of the watch, the Sea-Dweller, Rolex Deepsea, and Deepsea Challenge are equipped with the helium escape valve. This unidirectional valve activates automatically when the pressure inside the case is too high.

Triplock crown

Triplock crown
Reinforced waterproofness

Unveiled in 1970, the Triplock winding crown includes two sealed zones inside the crown tube and a third inside the crown itself. This triple waterproofness system provides Rolex divers’ watches strengthened impermeability. The watches fitted with this system have three markings located under the Rolex emblem on the face of the winding crown. The creation of the winding crown, a technological masterpiece, requires the skills of almost all of the experts specialized in case and bracelet manufacture.

Guaranteed security

Bracelet and extension system
The innovative Rolex Glidelock and Fliplock extension systems require no tools for use. Made of RLX titanium, the Deepsea Challenge’s Oyster bracelet is equipped with both the Fliplock extension link and the Rolex Glidelock system. Thanks to the combination of these two extension systems, the watch can be worn comfortably over a diving suit up to 7  mm thick.
Unidirectional bezel
Equipped with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert, the rotatable bezel of the Deepsea Challenge is unidirectional. The insert allows for enhanced readability of immersion time. As for the bezel, it only turns in one direction, preventing accidental rotation that might alter the immersion time. Developed by Rolex and patented, the bezel insert is made of high-technology black ceramic. It is virtually scratchproof and its colour, insensitive to ultraviolet rays, remains stable over time.
Exclusive to Rolex and presented in 2008 for the launch of the Rolex Deepsea, the Chromalight display is characterized by its luminescent material, applied to the hands, the hour markers and the capsule on the rotatable bezel. Containing aluminium, strontium, dysprosium and europium, this substance, the result of a complex and delicate manufacturing process, emits a characteristic blue glow that is exceptionally bright and long-lasting, far outperforming watchmaking standards.
Deepsea challenge ambiance

Calibre 3230
Long-lasting power reserve

Introduced in 2020, calibre 3230 guarantees a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. This feat was achieved thanks to two key features: a barrel with thinner walls, which can better accommodate a longer spring and thus store more energy, and the integration of the Chronergy escapement. Made of nickel-phosphorous and patented, the Chronergy escapement combines high energy efficiency with great dependability and is unaffected by magnetic fields.