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by Aleta Saeger June 26, 2020 3 min read

Rolex aficionados were delighted when Rolex announced a redesign of the classic Sea-Dweller, a watch first made in 1967. Carefully designed for commercial deep sea diving, it was the gold standard for dives over one thousand feet deep in the late sixties and early seventies. After years of small changes, Rolex revisited the Sea-Dweller in 2017, debuting a brand new look and design for the watch’s 50th anniversary. Does it still hold up in terms of performance and style, three years after its original launch? We definitely think so. Here are four things we still love about the redesign of the Sea-Dweller 126600: 

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That Black Ceramic Bezel & Gorgeous Black Dial 

No one’s arguing that an all-blue Submariner isn’t a thing of beauty. But there’s something about the crushed-velvet look of an all-black dial paired with a gleaming black bezel that we never get sick of. No watch nails that combination better than the redesigned Sea-Dweller. With a cerachrom bezel, wearers don’t have to worry about the effects of H2O or UV light on this jet black number. Plus, the all-black watch face is offset by the model name in a deep crimson red. Yep, we’re still swooning, even three years later.  

The Helium Escape Valve We’ll Never Use, But We Love To Know Is There 

Call us sentimental, but half of the reason we’re crazy about Rolexes is their impressive history as diving instruments. A Patek or an Omega looks great on any wrist, but the Rolex history of performance and impeccable design operates on a whole different level.The Sea-Dweller is a watch that fully acknowledges Rolex’s history as an unparalleled diver’s companion. After all, it’s the watch that pioneered the inclusion of the HEV in its construction, in order to prevent watch crystal from cracking during dive decompressions. 

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Sure, most Rolex buyers aren’t going to be doing tank decompression, but there’s something really impressive about knowing if wehadto dive 4,000 feet, the Sea-Dweller would be ready for the descent. After all, Rolex isn’t just a piece of jewelry. It’s a carefully designed machine, subject to unbelievable rigorous environmental testing. And it’s still used daily by deep divers today. Knowing we have that level of performance on our wrist is impressive, even if the most adventurous place we take it to is on the links.   

The Way It Makes The Most of Those 3 Extra Millimeters

The 126600 raised eyebrows among Rolex traditionalists when it gained 3 extra millimeters in the caseand included a Cyclops at 3 o’clock. But our original skepticism turned into admiration when we saw what a difference the extra space makes. With more room to play, the SD43 makes the most of the new available space on the dial. Quick time-checks are a cinch, and the extra breathing room between each marker makes the luminescence even more striking in the dark. The larger size of the case also offers a slightly more prominent silhouette on the wrist. It still helps wearers sport a subtle look, but provides just a little more heft and sheen underneath a cuff for a bigger impact. 

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How It Captures The Best of Rolex In A Single Watch

Submariner waitlists can be a mile long, and it’s easy to see why. They’re a gorgeous, classic choice to have in your collection. But if you’re waiting too long for an AD to give you a call about one, consider a Sea-Dweller or Deepsea in the meantime. There’s been lots of debate about why the Sea-Dweller is a superior watch, even though the Submariner gets more attention. The Sea-Dweller had 70 hours of power to the Submariner’s 50. It boasts a full 60 seconds on the bezel to the Submariner’s 15. The case is more substantial and durable, with crystal that’s 4mm thicker. Overall, it’s got the Submariner’s good looks with a little bit more happening under the glass. In the final analysis, you just might find yourself preferring the siren song of the Sea-Dweller to the more commonly-seen Submariner. If you’re a new Sea-Dweller convert, check out our curved end rubber strap for the Sea-Dweller 43mm to switch up the profile of your new acquisition.

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Written by Meghan Clark

Aleta Saeger
Aleta Saeger



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