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Rolex Sea-Dweller “Red Writing” 126600

50 years ago, Rolex introduced the first Sea-Dweller. A professional divers’ watch that could (and can) be seen as the Submariner’s big brother. For its 50th anniversary, Rolex came up with a new reference of the Sea-Dweller – 126600, bringing back some ‘history’ to the watch as well. More about that later. The previous Sea-Dweller…

50 years ago, Rolex introduced the first Sea-Dweller. A professional divers’ watch that could (and can) be seen as the Submariner’s big brother. For its 50th anniversary, Rolex came up with a new reference of the Sea-Dweller – 126600, bringing back some ‘history’ to the watch as well. More about that later.

The previous Sea-Dweller (reference 116600) was only introduced in 2014 and already being discontinued (collectors and investor buyers pay attention!), it is probably one of the Rolex watches with the shortest production. Anyway, the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 was introduced last Baselworld and received with mixed feelings.

To some, this Sea-Dweller ref. 126600 is soothing, as it finally has a mature diameter size (of 43mm). To others, it is almost blasphemy as it is 43mm and has a cyclops. The Sea-Dweller was never equipped with a cyclops before, it was one of those things some people perceived as ‘cool’ and others rather would have one to be able to read the date through its 2.5x magnifying lens. According to Rolex Geneva, the cyclops required a thicker crystal for this specific watch. Too much pressure (and there will be pressure at 1220 meters) on one point, the crystal, will cause it to crack. With this thicker crystal, they solved the issue.

Then, there is the red writing of ‘Sea-Dweller’ on the dial. A little nod to the very sought-after Rolex Sea-Dweller reference 1665 that had this red writing as well, also referred to as the ‘Double Red Sea-Dweller’ as it had two lines printed in red.

Interesting to note is that in its 50 years of existence, there was no ‘regular’ Sea-Dweller in the collection from 2009 to 2014. The Rolex Sea-Dweller is not familiar to everyone, especially not to the one-time only Rolex buyers, that often opt for its smaller brother (Submariner) or one of the other more obvious choices such as the GMT-Master II and Explorer II. There was, however, a Sea-Dweller Deepsea model, which is the even more professional spec’ed watch from Rolex. With a 44mm diameter case and incredible height, it has a water resistance of 3900 meters. It isn’t for the faint-hearted.

With this new Rolex Sea-Dweller reference 126600, the most famous Swiss company did a brilliant move in terms of their proposition. With this new reference, Rolex can offer diving watches in 40mm, 43mm and 44mm. The 40mm and 43mm show little differences except for the size (based on its popularity, people prefer the Submariner, so why not make the Sea-Dweller a bit more like it?). The 44mm Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea remains without cyclops.

In terms of technical specifications, much remained the same aside from the differences already mentioned: 1220 meters water resistance, 904L stainless steel for the case and bracelet and use of a ceramic bezel. Under the hood, we find a change as well. The movement is Rolex Caliber 3235, which has a power reserve of 70 hours. This movement is the successor of Rolex Caliber 3135. The calibre 3235 has a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and a Chronergy escapement with optimised energy efficiency. Although the movement has been certified by COSC (-4/+6 seconds a day deviation on average), Rolex ensures these watches are accurate up to -2/+2 seconds a day on average after the movement has been cased. Rolex gives a warranty of 5 years on this watch, including on its accuracy. Of course, the Rolex Sea-Dweller reference 126600 comes on the praised Oyster bracelet, with Glidelock extension system for easy adjustment.