Two years after it unveiled a new generation Sea-Dweller to mark the iconic diver’s 50thanniversary, Rolex has given it a luxurious update by introducing a new model in yellow Rolesor, the brand’s version of 18K yellow gold and Oystersteel watches. This is the first Sea-Dweller range to feature an 18K yellow gold case.
Unlike the 2017, which featured the Sea-Dweller lettering in red as homage to the original model, this one has its in yellow to echo the color scheme of the watch. The original Rolex Sea-Dweller, created in 1967, was born out of Rolex’s relationship with Comex, a professional French diving company. The initial models of the first ever reference (Ref. 1665) was developed from the Submariner and was almost exclusively supplied only to divers.
Among its many notable features was a helium escape valve, patented by Rolex that same year, which preserved the watch’s water-resistance while regulating the air pressure accumulated inside its case during the decompression phases of deep-water saturation dives.
The Rolesor Sea-Dweller also uses a 43-mm Oyster case as the updated version from 2017. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of corrosion-resistant 904L steel; the fluted case back is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement.
The bezel, winding crown and centre links of the bracelet are in 18 ct yellow gold. The unidirectional rotatable bezel has a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in black ceramic and the recessed markings on this ceramic insert are coated with yellow gold via a PVD process.
The scratchproof sapphire crystal has a Cyclops lens that sits over the date window at 3 for enhanced legibility. The high gloss black dial has large 18K yellow gold hour markers filled with Chromalight, a Rolex-developed luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions. Time is indicated by 18K yellow gold hands that also contain the same luminescent material.
The watch is equipped with the new Rolex Caliber 3235, a self-winding movement that boasts 14 patents. Like all new Rolex watches, this Sea-Dweller carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, instituted by Rolex in 2015, which ensures a high level of precision and timekeeping performance (-2/+2 seconds per day).
A 4 Hz movement, it uses Rolex’s patented blue Parachrom hairspring, which Rolex says is up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring when subjected to shocks, and has a power reserve of 70 hours.
The watch is paired with an Oyster three-link bracelet; the polished center links are made from 18K yellow gold and are helmed in by links in Oystersteel. The Oysterlock safety clasp prevents accidental opening. The bracelet also features a double-extension system that allows adjustments to be made without the use of tools, allowing the watch to be worn comfortably over a diving suit up to 7 mm thick. Rolex’s Fliplock extension link extends the bracelet by 26 mm, while its Glidelock system allows fine adjustment of the bracelet length in 2-mm increments, for a total of approximately 20 mm.
The new Rolex Sea-Dweller (case reference: 126603, bracelet reference: 97223) is priced at $15,300.