Rolex Deep Dive Type Real Waterproof Artifact
In 2008, the Rolex Deepsea was introduced for the first time. Ten years later, at Baselworld 2018, Rolex launched a new deep dive watch. The new watch looks similar to its predecessor, but has been significantly upgraded: Calibre 3235. This movement not only provides an impressive 70-hour power reserve, but also applies a number of new patented technologies to take the deep dive watch a step further, proving Rolex’s determination and strength to continuously push the boundaries.
Deep diving, Submariner and Sea-Dweller have attracted a large number of loyal fans among collectors and enthusiasts. When it comes to deep diving, many people’s first impression is that the size (case diameter 44 mm) is too large to be comfortable enough to wear. Indeed, the deep dive is like a monster, but for good reason. The deep dive watch has an impressive water resistance rating of 3,900 meters (12,800 feet) and can withstand tremendous stress in extremely harsh environments.
The first sea-dweller watch, 1967
The Sea-Dweller came out in 1967 and was introduced to the market under the name of a watch specially made for professional divers. Initially, the sea-dwelling design was able to withstand a depth of 610 meters (2,000 feet) and was equipped with a helium exhaust valve co-developed by Rolex. In 1978, its waterproof depth was upgraded to 1,220 meters (4,000 feet). Since then, the sea-dweller has always maintained a waterproof crown, until the birth of the deep diving type in 2008. The deep diving type is impressively waterproof, thanks to the unique Ringlock system, which consists of a sapphire crystal, an inner ring and a case back.
Rolex Dive Watch, 2008
Three tons of water pressure
The domed sapphire crystal of the deep diving watch is 5.5 mm thick. Compared with the submersible watch’s mirror surface (thickness less than 2 mm), the deep submersible watch’s mirror surface can be called heavy, but it is necessary to consider the pressure of three tons of water. Defective mirrors or deep scratches can cause the watch to fail the water resistance test. In this case, the only solution was to replace a new, undamaged mirror.
Sandwiched between the mirror and the bottom cover is a steel compression ring to help the case withstand the tremendous pressure exerted deep in the water. Many watches are equipped with an inner ring that holds the movement tightly. In deep-dive watches, the structure of the case inner ring helps reduce the pressure on the case. The inner ring itself is made of nitrogen-containing steel. This alloy is more resistant to corrosion and stronger than high carbon steel. The presence of the inner ring of the case shares tremendous pressure on the mirror and the bottom cover.
Back of deep dive watch
Generally speaking, wristwatches rely on the case to withstand pressure, and the mirror and bottom cover are installed in the middle of the case through washers. In the deep dive watch, the mirror and bottom cover are separated from the case, and the inner ring is compressed to bear the pressure. This structure keeps the watch in a relatively normal size, compared to the conventional sea-dweller watch, the diameter of the deep dive watch is only 1 mm larger.
Titanium case back
The submersible and sea-dwelling bottom covers are made of 904L high-grade stainless steel (also known as oystersteel). The options for deep diving are not the same because they need to dive deeper. Rolex chooses grade 5 titanium, which has better compression and tensile strength than stainless steel, and a higher upper limit of elasticity. As mentioned earlier, the titanium bottom cover is located directly below the inner ring of the nitrogen-containing steel (separated by a gasket). The stainless steel outer ring is then screwed onto the housing to hold the titanium ring in place.
During my visit to the Rolex Geneva watch factory, I saw a sea-dweller watch being brought to the water-repellent depth of a deep-dive watch, and the result was eye-opening. The bottom cover shattered directly, just like someone hit with a hammer. The movement protrudes from the front of the case, and the dial is forced through a broken mirror. This scene left a deep impression on the author, and it also made people sincerely admire the mechanical properties of the deep dive watch.
Do ordinary PADI (International Association of Professional Dive Instructor) divers need a watch that is water-resistant to 3,900 meters (12,800 feet)? Not really. In fact, Rolex has no reason to create a deep-dive watch for the average consumer, but this move really pleases labor fans. In a sense, this is both a professional watch and a ‘dazzling’ watch. With the upgrade of the 3235 movement this year, I believe many labor fans can’t wait for the new deep diving watch. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)