During Baselworld 2008, Rolex unveiled the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea watch, a new evolution of its deep diving watch series, the Sea-Dweller.
Waterproof to an extreme depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), this new-generation diver’s watch confirms the supremacy of Rolex in the mastery of waterproofness.
Entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, the Rolex Deepsea is a totally new watch that benefits from important technical innovations. It is equipped with a Ringlock System, a new case architecture patented by Rolex, which allows the watch to resist the colossal pressure exerted by water at great depths.
It is the first watch to feature a bracelet with a double extension system making it easily adaptable for greater comfort in wear over a diving suit. The Rolex Deepsea responds to the most exacting demands of professional divers in terms of robustness, precision and reliability.
With its intrinsic capabilities, the Rolex Deepsea takes a rightful place in the prestigious Oyster family. It illustrates the pioneering spirit that led Rolex to develop, as early as the 1950s, divers’ watches like the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller.
Its name pays tribute to the Deep Sea Special, the experimental prototype that in 1960 plunged to a depth of 10,916 metres in the Mariana Trench.
A watch developed for extreme depths, guaranteed waterproof to 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), the Rolex Deepsea required the design of a case with a unique architecture, the Ringlock System.
Model: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea watch
The high-performance ring
Set inside the middle case of the watch between the crystal and the case back, the high-performance nitrogen-alloyed stainless steel ring withstands the pressure exerted by water on the crystal and the case back. The middle case is made from 904L steel.
The sapphire crystal
To resist pressure, the synthetic sapphire crystal is slightly domed and substantially thicker than the crystals of other Oyster models.
The case back
The case back is made of a titanium alloy, an extremely resistant stainless material. It is held in place against the high-performance ring by means of a 904L-steel ring. The helium valve is made of high-performance stainless steel. Its size is adapted to the dimensions of the case to achieve optimal waterproofness. The helium valve is a safety feature which, during the decompression phase, releases the gases that infiltrate into the watch during caisson dives.
Indeed, between dives at great depths, professional divers use pressurised caissons in which they breathe high-pressure gas mixtures, notably containing helium, a very volatile gas that penetrates into the watch. As the diver resurfaces, the helium valve prevents damage to the watch.The Triplock winding crown, equipped with three seals and screwed onto the case, completes this ingenious waterproof system.
The Rolex Deepsea is equipped with a unidirectional rotatable bezel with a 60-minute graduated black Cerachrom disc that allows the diver to precisely track his dive time.
Engraved in the Cerachrom, the numerals and the graduations are filled with platinum through the use of a PVD technique patented by Rolex. The zero marker of the graduated bezel, represented by a triangle, is visible longer at night or in the depths of the ocean thanks to a capsule containing a new luminescent material that emits a blue glow.
To enhance legibility, the gold indexes and hands are wider and partially coated with the same new luminescent material and also emit a blue colour.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea (reference 116660) is equipped with calibre 3135, known for its chronometric precision, its reliability and its robustness; it also features a Parachrom hairspring with high resistance to shocks and magnetic fields. Certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), the movement has a 48-hour power reserve.
Manufactured from solid 904L steel, the Rolex Deepsea bracelet can be adjusted for wear over a diving suit up to 7 mm thick thanks to a double extension system with Fliplock extension links and the new Glidelock clasp, allowing fine adjustments.
A series of rigorous tests
Because deep-sea diving requires absolute reliability and safety, each Rolex Deepsea must pass Rolex’s rigorous waterproofness tests. To this end, special equipment has been developed with the help of COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise), a world-renowned French company specialising in underwater engineering and hyperbaric technologies.
(A) THE UNIDIRECTIONAL ROTATABLE BEZEL
The Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea allows a diver to safely track his dive time thanks to the unidirectional graduated bezel featured on the watch.
At the beginning of a dive: Once in the water, before beginning his descent, the diver turns the bezel to align the triangle on the graduated bezel to the minute hand, thus indicating the start time of his dive.
During the dive: The dive time can be read against the graduated bezel. Since the Rolex Deepsea bezel turns only counterclockwise, any accidental rotation can only have the effect of shortening the dive time.
(B) THE GLIDELOCK CLASP
The new Glidelock clasp allows for fine adjustments to the bracelet length, up to 18 mm by increments of 1.8 mm, without removing the watch.
1. Pull up the clasp’s safety catch.
2. Pull up the centre panel of the clasp cover. The teeth located underneath it become visible.
3. Pull gently on the 12-o’clock side of the bracelet to lengthen it, or slide it into the clasp to shorten it. Adjustments can be made in 1.8 mm increments, up to a total of 18 mm.
4. Once the bracelet has been adjusted to the desired length, close the centre panel.
5. Close the safety catch.