It may be all new but the 2017 Rolex Sea-Dweller still looks a lot like the old one. This is a very good thing. The Sea Dweller was and still is a very handsome Diver’s watch. And if it ain’t broke. But then, what’s changed? Well, in acknowledgement to the style of the times, it’s become bigger. The case is now 43 mm. And housed within this bigger shell is an all-new movement – calibre 3235. The most obvious visual change, for Rolex dive watch aficionados, is the addition of a Cyclops lens. Other changes include a dial that bears the name Sea-Dweller in red, a reference to the first model.
Waterproof to a depth of 1,220 metres, the Sea-Dweller continues to be equipped with one of the inventions that contributed to its iconic stature: the helium escape valve, patented by Rolex in 1967. This feature regulates the pressure accumulated in the case during the decompression phases of deep-water saturation dives.
The Sea-Dweller’s case is crafted from a solid block of corrosion-resistant 904L steel and the fluted case back is hermetically screwed down with a special tool so that only Rolex watchmakers may access the movement. The winding crown is protected by a crown guard and the Triplock waterproofing system provides watertight security that Rolex says, is akin to a submarine’s hatch.
Equipped with a black Cerachrom bezel made of scratchproof ceramic, the bezel’s graduation is coated with a thin layer of platinum applied by a process known as Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD). The black dial’s Chromalight hour markers and hands are filled with luminescent material that emit a blue glow for legibility in the dark.
The engine of the Sea-Dweller, the new calibre 3235, was developed and manufactured entirely in-house and boasts 14 patents that Rolex say, offer gains in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. Among others, the watch incorporates the new Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference. The escapement’s superior efficiency combined with a new barrel architecture has resulted in the 3235 offering a power reserve of approximately 70 hours, up from the 48 hours of the previous model.
The solid-link Oyster bracelet, made of 904L steel, is fitted with an Oysterlock safety clasp. A double extension system allows adjustments to be made without the use of tools, so that the watch can be worn comfortably over a diving suit up to seven mm thick.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller
Case: Oyster (monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown)
Diameter: 43 mm
Material: 904L steel, satin and polished finish
Safety: Helium escape valve
Bezel: Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, with Cerachrom insert in black ceramic, engraved numerals and graduations coated with platinum via magnetron sputtering
Case back: Screw-down with Rolex fluting
Winding crown: Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system
Waterproofing: 1,220 metres (4,000 feet)
Power reserve: Approximately 70 hours
Calibre: 3235, Manufacture Rolex Mechanical movement with bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor
Precision: −2/+2 sec/day, after casing
Oscillator: Frequency: 28,800 beats/hour (4 Hz) Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring Rolex overcoil, large balance wheel with variable inertia high-precision regulating via four gold Microstella nuts, traversing balance bridge, high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers
Escapement: Chronergy with optimized energy efficiency, paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus pallet
fork and escape wheel