Sea-Dweller & Rolex Deepsea

Deep-sea watches

The Sea-Dweller, Rolex Deepsea and Deepsea Challenge models are ultra-resistant professional divers’ watches.

Symbols of the long shared history between Rolex and deep-sea explorers, the Sea-Dweller, Rolex Deepsea and Deepsea Challenge models are ultra-resistant professional divers’ watches. The Sea-Dweller, launched in 1967, is waterproof to a depth of 1,220 metres (4,000 feet) – 610 metres (2,000 feet) originally. The Rolex Deepsea, unveiled in 2008, withstands the pressure at a depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), and the Deepsea Challenge, presented in 2022, can reach a depth of 11,000 metres (36,090 feet).

Rolex Deepsea

Benchmarks in the diving world

As profound as the depths of the ocean may be, they open up new horizons for humanity. But reaching these yet undiscovered locations requires withstanding extreme pressure. For almost 70 years, Rolex has accompanied explorers, developing ever more powerful tool watches. Models that became both watchmaking icons and benchmarks in the diving world, namely the Submariner (launched in 1953), the Sea-Dweller (1967) and the Rolex Deepsea (2008). A result of this expertise, the Deepsea Challenge represents a new milestone in the journey to the deep.

Journey to the deep

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. 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.

The ultimate diver, the Deepsea Challenge is an extension of the experimental watch created in 2012 to accompany James Cameron in the Mariana Trench.

Helium escape valve

Helium escape valve

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 atoms of this gas are so tiny 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.

Helium escape valve
Deepsea D-blue dial

Tested to extremes

In accordance with the standard for this type of watch, all Rolex divers’ watches are tested at their guaranteed waterproofness depth plus an additional 25 per cent. This effectively means that in the laboratory, every Rolex divers’ watch is immersed in water within a hyperbaric tank developed jointly by Rolex and Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises).

Tested to extremes