Rolex Deepsea - ultimate in mechanical diver watches Featured

The fascinating history of a watch that has gone deeper than any others
by 22 March 2011

The classical setting of myths and legends, the oceans have sparked imagination since the dawn of time. They kindle in man an irrepressible desire for adventure, challenge and ever greater achievement, a drive throughout the ages to seek new heights and explore the deep.

Rolex’s conquest of the waters began... click on the page numbers or arrows below to continue reading

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Rolex’s conquest of the waters began in 1926, when the watchmaker invented the Rolex "Oyster" model,  the world’s first waterproof watch. This early watch would ultimately give birth to the legend. During the early 1950s, a highly sophisticated series of Professional watches were introduced. Among them was the Deep Sea Special – plundering new depths of resistance and, after several years of development, in 1960 reaching a record-breaking depth of 10,916 metres under the sea.

Some half a century later, the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea is unveiled - a product of man’s inherent desire to push the boundaries of what is physically possible. 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 and demonstrates an ever-present pursuit of excellence.

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, over half a century ago, plunged to the floor of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, some 200 metres from the island of Guam.

“Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 meters as it does on the surface”, the oceanographer Jacques Piccard wrote in a telegram to the Rolex headquarters in Geneva a few days later. It is an achievement that has remained unchallenged ever since. Today Rolex is still the number one watch brand among divers, having continuously sustained its commitment to being at the forefront of manufacturing watches that resist water and are ultimately compatible with water-related activities and underwater research. Lending new meaning to maritime, Rolex remains the king of the deep.

Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea - Technical features

Case architecture and waterproofness
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. This innovation patented by Rolex consists of a combination of three distinctive features:
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.