Two years ago, Rolex updated its venerable and record-setting divers’ watch, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, with a new movement and redesigned case. This year, the Swiss watchmaking titan adds a touch of luxury to its most purpose-driven timepiece with the launch of the Sea-Dweller in Rolesor, aka a combination of Rolex “Oystersteel” and 18k yellow gold. Unveiled this week at Baselworld 2019, the model represents the first use of yellow gold in the Sea-Dweller range.
Other than the use of yellow gold on the rotating dive-scale bezel, the screw-down crown and the Oyster bracelet’s center links, the other notable departure from the 2017 Sea-Dweller model is the use of yellow-gold-colored text for the words “Sea-Dweller” — replacing the red text that referenced the original model from 1967. Designed as a tough and useful tool watch for that era’s professional deep-sea divers, that watch included among its noteworthy attributes a helium escape valve, patented by Rolex, which helped regulate the built-up air pressure accumulated inside its case during the decompression phases of deep-water saturation dives. This feature (seen below) remains on modern versions of the Sea-Dweller.
Like its predecessor, the Rolesor version of the Sea-Dweller has a case measuring 43 mm in diameter — 3 mm larger than the 40-mm of the earlier version. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the deep black dial is equipped with a Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock, enhancing its legibility. The 60-minute diving scale on the unidirectional rotating bezel is on a black ceramic insert made of Cerachrom. The watch is waterproof to 1,200 meters (4,400), an increase from the original’s 610 meters. The crown is fitted with the Triplock triple waterproofness system and protected by a crown guard.
Powering the watch is Rolex Caliber 3235, the brand’s recently introduced self-winding movement boasting a number of innovative technical details, some of them patented. Like all of the company’s in-house movements since 2015, it incorporates the patented Chronergy Escapement, made of magnetism-resistant nickel phosphorus that renders the movement both highly energy efficient and extremely durable. The oscillator uses a blued hairspring made of Parachrom, a Rolex-exclusive paramagnetic alloy, which resists shocks better than a traditional hairspring and thus, according to Rolex, increases the timekeeping precision by a factor of 10. The movement’s improved barrel architecture allows for a power reserve of 70 hours when the watch is fully wound. The caliber has, like all Rolex in-house movements, weathered the battery of tests to earn Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” designation, whose criteria were updated in 2015 to be more than twice as stringent as those required for the more widely used COSC certification — in other words, precision between -2/+2 seconds per day.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller in Rolesor is priced at $16,050.