Rolex presents Deepsea Challenge, a professional-grade diving watch capable of withstanding the extreme depth of 11,000 metres (36,090 feet). Its case and bracelet are made from RLX titanium, a grade 5 titanium alloy selected by Rolex for its lightness and resistance to deformation and corrosion. This new deep-diver from the Oyster Perpetual range pays tribute to two historic underwater missions.
On 23 January 1960, the Deep Sea Special – an experimental Rolex watch designed to resist extreme pressure – accompanied oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh when they set their diving record in the Mariana Trench. Attached to the exterior of the bathyscaphe Trieste, it reached a depth of 10,916 metres (35,814 feet).
On 26 March 2012, filmmaker James Cameron explored the Mariana Trench, descending alone and reaching a depth of 10,908 metres (35,787 feet). A new experimental Rolex watch – the Rolex Deepsea Challenge – was developed and attached to the manipulator arm of the submersible. The Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge is an extension of the experimental watch created for James Cameron’s dive.
Crafted from RLX titanium and equipped with the helium escape valve and the Ringlock system, the Deepsea Challenge is capable of accompanying divers in any environment – during open-water diving, submersible dives or in hyperbaric chambers.
The experimental watch that accompanied James Cameron in the Mariana Trench posed a wearability problem due to its weight, as it was made from 904L steel.
To address this issue, Rolex has opted for RLX titanium to create the case and bracelet of the Deepsea Challenge. It is 30% lighter than the experimental watch that inspired it. This new watch has a particularly visible grain in the satin finish on the bracelet and middle case – with the exception of the crown guard. In order to highlight the curved profile of the lugs, the top edges have been chamfered and polished.
Rolex’s patented Ringlock system equips the brand’s divers’ watches designed for extreme depths. This system consists of a reinforced case architecture comprising a thick, slightly domed sapphire crystal, a nitrogen-alloyed steel compression ring, and a case back made from RLX titanium.
This construction allows the Deepsea Challenge to withstand the pressure exerted by water at 11,000 metres (36,090 feet), the depth to which it is guaranteed waterproof. In partnership with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), Rolex developed an ultra-high-pressure tank to test the waterproofness of the Deepsea Challenge. Each watch is tested, as required by the standards for divers’ watches, with an additional safety margin of 25%.
The helium escape valve overcomes limitations experienced by divers’ watches during saturation dives. In a hyperbaric chamber, watches progressively fill with helium, as the atoms of this gas, present in the mix that the divers breathe, are so tiny that they can pass through the watch’s waterproof seals. During decompression phases, if helium remains trapped, it can damage the watch and even cause the crystal to separate from the case.
Exclusive to Rolex and presented in 2008 for the launch of the Rolex Deepsea, the Chromalight display is characterized by its luminescent material, applied to the hands, the hour markers and the capsule on the rotatable bezel. It emits a characteristic blue glow that is exceptionally bright and long-lasting.
Made of RLX titanium, the Oyster bracelet of the Deepsea Challenge is equipped with both the Fliplock extension link and the Rolex Glidelock system. Thanks to the combination of these two extension systems, the watch can be worn comfortably over a diving suit up to 7 mm thick.
The Triplock waterproofness system provides strengthened impermeability. The watches fitted with this system have three markings located under the Rolex emblem on the face of the winding crown.
The Deepsea Challenge is equipped with calibre 3230, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. It features Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hairspring with a Rolex overcoil and oscillator with high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers. Power reserve of this movement is approximately 70 hours.
Made of RLX titanium, the Oyster-type case measures 50mm diameter. The Deepsea Challenge is engraved with the words “Mariana Trench” as well as the dates “23-01-1960” and “26-03-2012” on the case back, in homage to the two historic dives into the Mariana Trench in which Rolex watches took part.
Like all Rolex watches, the Deepsea Challenge is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015.
Model: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge
Oyster (monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown)
Integral crown guard
Helium escape valve
Ringlock case architecture with nitrogen-alloyed steel ring
Diameter 50 mm
Material: RLX titanium
Middle case: RLX titanium, satin and polished finish
Bezel: RLX titanium, unidirectional rotatable; 60-minute graduated monobloc Cerachrom insert in black ceramic; moulded, recessed graduations and numerals coated with platinum via PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition); capsule in 18 ct white gold, highly legible Chromalight (long-lasting luminescence, blue glow)
Case back: RLX titanium, solid, screw-down with fine fluting
Winding crown: Triplock in RLX titanium, screw-down, triple waterproofness system
Crystal: Domed 9.5-mm-thick scratch-resistant sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Waterproofness: 11,000 metres (36,090 feet)
Calibre 3230, Manufacture Rolex
Mechanical movement with bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor
Precision: −2 /+2 sec/day, after casing
Frequency: 28,800 beats/hour (4 Hz)
Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring
Large balance wheel with variable inertia
High-precision regulating via four gold Microstella nuts
Traversing balance bridge
High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers
Chronergy Escapement with optimized energy efficiency
Paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus pallet fork and escape wheel
Jewelling: 31 rubies
Power reserve: Approximately 70 hours
Centre hour, minute and seconds hands
Stop-seconds for exact time setting
Intense black, matt, fine satin finish
Hour markers in 18 ct white gold, highly legible Chromalight (long-lasting luminescence, blue glow)
Hands in 18 ct white gold, highly legible Chromalight (long-lasting luminescence, blue glow)
Oyster, three-piece solid links
RLX titanium, satin finish, ceramic inserts
Oysterlock folding safety clasp
Rolex Glidelock extension system (approx. 20 mm in increments of approx. 2 mm)
Fliplock extension link (approx. 26 mm)
Case reference: 126067
Bracelet reference: 97MB07 Oyster
Category: Oyster Perpetual Professional
Certification: Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)
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