The Mariana Trench
A dark valley in the Pacific
The Mariana Trench, which stretches in an arc around the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. The deepest part of the trench, Challenger Deep, lies some 11,000 metres (nearly 7 miles) below the surface. If Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, were set in the trench, there would still be approximately 2,000 metres (1.3 miles) of water above it.
A feat of engineering
In 2012, the innovative case architecture of the Rolex Deepsea and its Ringlock system served as the blueprint for the design of the experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge, which was guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 12,000 metres (39,370 feet).
To achieve this level of performance, Rolex engineers only had to scale up the dimensions of the commercial Rolex Deepsea, from 44 to 51.4 mm, trading wearability for ultimate pressure resistance. The only practical limit to the Rolex Deepsea’s performance is the requirement that it fit on a human wrist.
The deepest solo dive
A watch for the deepest challenge
James Cameron’s submersible was carrying a specially made experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge watch on its hydraulic manipulator arm and two others attached to its hull. By scaling up the technology developed for the Rolex Deepsea divers’ watch, waterproof to 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), Rolex engineers created an experimental model capable of withstanding the crushing pressure of about 12 tonnes on the crystal. The Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches emerged unharmed from this cold, dark and barren world some 11 kilometres (7 miles) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. They kept time perfectly throughout nearly seven hours beneath the water, as Cameron demonstrated by looking at the watch on the manipulator arm at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.