ROLEX Sea Dweller

The Rolex Sea Dweller was first developed in the late 1960s as a big brother to the Submariner as another divers watch but with a greater water resistance. The Sea-Dweller was also the first watch to have the revolutionary helium escape valve. Notable models include the ‘double red’, ‘Comex’, ‘Sea-Dweller 4000’ and the ‘50th Anniversary’.




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The Rolex Sea Dweller reference 1665 was first released in 1967. The Sea Dweller might look like the Rolex Sub Mariner apart from Rolex removed the cyclops on the crystal and it came in a thicker case. The Sea Dweller was the first watch to house a helium escape valve, so the watch became even more water resistant then the sub mariner.
The 1665 Sea Dweller ran from 1967 until 1980. The watch had Rolex calibre 1575 automatic movement, a 40mm steel case with a helium escape valve, printed hour markers on a matte black dial and two lines of red text. Rolex fitted the case with a Tropical crystal with a depth rating of 2000ft or 610m. The oyster bracelet had a divers extension clasp fitted.
The name Double Red was given to this watch later in its life. Rolex changed the red writing to white in 1977.
1978 saw Rolex release the 16660. The overall depth rating increased to 1220m this was down the over sized helium escape valve and sapphire crystal. Rolex used their upgraded 3035 calibre. Earlier 16600 models had printed markers on matte dials but after 1988 white gold markers were applied on top of the matte dial.

Rolex went on to the new reference 16600 in 1988. The new 3135 calibre was fitted, they still used their 40mm case on an oyster bracelet. Most of the sea dwellers before 2000 were fitted with T25 Tritium dials but later watches you will see have SWISS MADE dials fitted. Rolex discontinued this watch in 2008.

Rolex kept quiet for a few years and surprised us with a much new look Rolex Sea Dweller 116660.
A new 44mm case which had a depth rating of 3900m. New Ceramic bezel, new look divers scale and
Oyster bracelet with glide lock clasp.

Rolex paid tribute to the famous director James Cameron. Cameron reached a depth of nearly 7 miles in his submarine the Deep Sea Challenger. The new Deepsea D-Blue was the same watch but has a graduated blue to black dial and the word DEEPSEA on the dial has been changed to green.

Rolex unveiled the 116600 or the SD4000 in 2014. Rolex went back to their 40mm steel case but had the make the case thicker so that the latest helium escape valve which would allow the case to surpass depths of 1220m. The new look watch has a black ceramic bezel, Mercedes style hands and the 3135 calibre fitted. After 2 years and 9 months Rolex discontinued this making it one of the shortest ran Rolex of all time.

2017 we saw Rolex celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sea Dweller at Basel world. They released the SD43 or the 126600. A new 43mm case was introduced, gloss black dial with sea Dweller printed in red writing. Wider lugs were applied to fit the new wider oyster bracelet and finally Rolex 3235 movement with a 70 hour power reserve was used. This was made available in all steel and steel and yellow gold.



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