Lost treasures: The Sea-Dweller 4000

Lost treasures: The Sea-Dweller 4000

In 2014, a new version of the beloved Rolex Sea-Dweller was introduced. The Sea-Dweller 4000 reference 116600 was in retrospect a new Rolex sport model that hit many of the right notes for dive watch enthusiasts. Not only does it still achieve the technical marvel of having a depth-rating of 4,000 feet, the case diameter remained at the Goldilocks size of 40mm. It is a chunky watch but quite manageable for daily wear. For comparison’s sake, it’s just over 1mm in height when compared to a ceramic bezel Submariner.

Sea-Dweller 4000

Photo by @parkershang97

At the time, not many would have predicted the extreme shortage of steel Rolex sport models that exist in the current marketplace, with inflated secondary market prices. So when the SD4000 was announced at $10,400, it appears to be a strong value proposition in hindsight. At the time of this article’s publication, the now-discontinued SD4000 has an upcharge of over $5,000 on the secondary market.

For those Sea-Dweller fans the SD4000 has many attractive attributes including the modern Rolex bracelet with Glidelock adjustments, ceramic bezel insert (with full graduated markings), maxi dial to match, and, most notably, no cyclops date window magnifier, a traditional feature of the Sea-Dweller family that was broken in 2017 with the introduction of the Sea-Dweller 43 reference 126600. The latest Sea-Dweller iteration has a significantly larger case size and a cyclops date-window magnifier.

Sea-Dweller 43

Photo by @thewatchbloke

In hindsight

When the SD4000 was introduced the entire marketplace was very different. One could walk into an authorized dealer and comparison shop between various Rolex dive watches. Not that long ago, you could walk into a Rolex dealer and walk out with a Submariner 116610 for about $8,550. So the SD4000 seemed like it was overpriced for those who wanted a daily-wear dive watch with high brand prestige.

Sea-Dweller 4000 Hulk Black Bay 58 Navy

Photo by @simplewatchguy

Sea-Dweller fans who love the fact that at first glance it looks like a typical Submariner but upon closer inspection those in the know will recognize that it’s not a Sub. The SD4000 had a very short production run of 2014 to 2017, so those who are lucky enough to own one have a watch that represents a modern Sea-Dweller in the classic case size.

The lesson

Never settle. Sometimes in the watch collecting hobby it’s worth it to jump on the watch that has most of the attributes you want because you never know when the manufacturer is going to discontinue your ideal configuration.

It’s not easy to speculate on the future when it comes to what Rolex will do, so know in your gut what attributes you are looking for when hunting for your ideal Rolex. Be patient and remember to never settle.

If you are looking for a curved endlink rubber strap for your Sea-Dweller 400, check out our offerings here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.