Rolex Sea-Dweller

The new version of the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller perpetuates the heritage of the ultra-resistant professional divers’ watch designed by Rolex exactly 50 years ago, in 1967, to accompany deep-sea diving pioneers on the underwater missions and living experiments taking place at the time. The Sea-Dweller played an all-important role in the conquest of the deep ocean. Its Oyster case, waterproof to a depth of 610 metres (2,000 feet) – then to 1,220 metres, or 4,000 feet, in 1978 – was fitted with a decisive innovation developed and patented by Rolex: the helium escape valve. This ingenious safety valve, set in the watch case, allows the Sea-Dweller to safely “decompress”, just as the diver wearing it must also decompress following a dive at great depths. The Sea-Dweller’s functions therefore responded perfectly to the needs of saturation diving – a new, more technical and more demanding type of diving that opened the way to the deep.


In a hyperbaric chamber filled with special breathing mixes composed largely of helium, a divers’ watch behaves in a similar manner to a human body. Due to the volatility of this light gas, whose molecules are among the smallest in the world, the helium gradually penetrates the watch through the gaskets, and the inner part of the watch case becomes saturated with helium as the pressure inside the case equalizes with that inside the chamber. During the decompression phase, helium is eliminated from human tissue at a faster rate than it can escape from a waterproof watch, causing significant pressure to build up inside the watch case. Due to this internal pressure, divers often observed that during decompression the watch crystal could pop out like a champagne cork from a bottle. A watch, therefore, also needs to be able to eliminate the excess helium from inside the case.


In 2017, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sea-Dweller, Rolex is launching a new version of this legendary divers’ watch, the companion for the conquerors of the deep. Waterproof to 1,220 metres (4,000 feet), the new Sea-Dweller is equipped with a 904L steel case enlarged to 43 mm, and with Rolex’s latest-generation mechanical movement, calibre 3235, at the forefront of watchmaking technology and guaranteeing the highest standards of precision and reliability. For the first time, the crystal of the new Sea-Dweller is fitted with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock – a key characteristic of Rolex watches. In reference to the first model created 50 years ago, the name “Sea-Dweller” is inscribed in red on the dial. The model incorporates all of Rolex’s latest technical developments: a case and bracelet in highly corrosion-resistant 904L steel; a unidirectional rotatable bezel with a Cerachrom insert in ceramic, vir tually impervious to scratches and ultraviolet rays; a Chromalight display with long-lasting luminescence for optimum legibility in the dark; a Triplock winding crown with triple waterproofness system; an Oysterlock safety clasp that prevents accidental opening; and the Rolex Glidelock and Fliplock extension systems which, together, allow divers to extend the bracelet without the use of tools by a total of 46 mm in order to wear the watch over diving suits of up to 7 mm thick. Finally, the new Sea-Dweller is of course equipped with the function for which it is renowned: the helium escape valve. Still at the cutting edge of technology in 2017, just as it was in 1967, the Sea-Dweller remains one of the symbols of the privileged relationship that has always bound Rolex and the world of marine exploration.


Discover the Sea-Dweller family and more detailed info and pricing here: