Rolex Sea-Dweller Oyster Perpetual Watches
As its name suggests, the Rolex Perpetual Oyster Automatic Sea Dweller Watch was developed to resist changes in deep sea pressure condition and was released by Rolex in the 1960's for deep sea divers. Rolex collaborated with one of the leading deep sea diving companies of the time, Comex, to develop revolutionary decompression technologies which resulted in the evolution of some of the legendary deep sea watches in the series of the Rolex Sea Dweller models.
The design of the Rolex Perpetual Oyster Automatic Sea Dweller watch is very similar to that of the Rolex Automatic Submariner Watch with a few subtle modifications such a thicker crystal head to protect the black dial of the watch and a Helium escape valve to release excess pressure from the case of the watch. The Helium escape valve became a crucial addition to the Sea Dweller watch after field test conducted by Rolex, during diving missions, it become apparent that small Helium molecules can force their way past the seals of the Sea Dweller watch during decompression from dives. Rolex realized that the pressure inside the decompression chamber would diminish faster than the pressure inside the Sea Dweller watch often causing the crystal of the watch to be forced away from the watch at a high speeds. With the introduction of the Sea Dweller watch, Rolex sought to solidify its pioneering status in the field deep sea exploration with watches able to handle the extreme pressure of profession dives.
Any watch used for diving purpose must be dimensionally large to cope with the greatly increased water pressure, and the Sea Dweller watch is no exception. The black dial and stainless steel hands of these watches are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure and the increased thickness of the crystalline head of the watch as well as the Helium release valve on the watches are able to compensate for this condition. Like the Submariner watch, the Sea Dweller watch also features a stainless steel Oyster Bracelet holding the timepiece of these watches. These watches also come with the option of a rubber gasket and a diving suit extension link for the Oyster Bracelet of the watch making it an easily adaptable watch to wear while deep sea diving.
Over the years Rolex has released a number of different models and variations of the Rolex Sea Dweller watch including the "Single Red" version that featured the words ‘Sea-Dweller’ in red which differs from all other Sea Dweller watches in that its depth rating is 1,650 feet. One theory about the genesis of the Rolex Sea Dweller watch is that the shallower depth rating infers that these watches may have been experimental models were not sold to the public, but instead the watch was distributed to professional divers to provide feedback for Rolex. In 1971 Rolex brought out the Double Red Sea Dweller watch and augmented the designed in 1977 when Rolex premiered the "Great "White" Sea Dweller watch. This Model of the Rolex Sea Dweller watch from Rolex saw the end of the inscription Rolex Submariner 2000 on the back of the watch, setting the Rolex Sea Dweller watch out on its own and providing a greater distinction between the Rolex Submariner watch and the Rolex Sea Dweller watch. By 1978, Rolex had gone back to work designed the features of the Rolex Sea Dweller watch with a bigger helium release valve on the watch along with upgraded depth rating for the watch. Rolex did not alter the design of the Rolex Sea Dweller watches for another 30 years when in 2008 Rolex discontinued the manufacturing of the Rolex Sea Dweller watch replacing it with the Rolex Deepsea that had an unheard of depth ranking of 14000 feet. Though the Rolex Sea Dweller has become known for its aesthetic appeal rather than functional diving features, Rolex still strives to maintain these elements to cement the great legacy of the deep sea exploration.
The Rolex Sea Dweller watch has always been the choice watch for professional diving purposes having a resistance in water up to 14000 feet beneath the ocean surface with a thick sapphire crystal glass shielding the case and the dial of the watch from the harsh and unforgiving deep sea with its extremely pressurized condition.