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Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue

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9.5
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The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue specifications

Brand: Rolex
Model: Deepsea
Reference Number: 126660

Diameter: 44mm
Case Material: Rolex Osytersteel (904L)
Dial Color: Black or gradient blue/black “D-blue”
Indexes: Applied
Lume: Chromalight on hour markers and hands
Water Resistance: 3,900 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Oystersteel (904L) bracelet with Glidelock and Fliplock extensions

The Movement

Caliber: 3225
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800)
Jewels: 31
COSC Chronometer Certified (plus Rolex certification with the movement in the watch)

Pricing & Availability

Price: $11,700 (black), $12,000 (D-blue)

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue is one of our favorite of all luxury dive watches, as this watch has a waterproof to a full 3,900 meters or 12,800 feet, the Rolex Deepsea is entirely worthy of its name. The 44mm wide steel watch has a helium escape valve, which lets the gas out when a diver goes through decompression after a deep dive. The power reserve is approximately 44 hours.

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue dial, case, and hands

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue dial design is meant to mimic the voyage of James Cameron in his Deepsea Challenger submersible mission from 2012. The blue to the black gradient of the dial is meant to resemble ocean water that gets black as you go deeper because sunlight can only penetrate so far. The green color of the “DEEPSEA” label is the same color as the Deepsea Challenger submersible. Janes Cameron himself is an avid watch lover and has been a Rolex guy for a while. His main watch seem to be a Rolex Deepsea.

There is no denying that the Deepsea s a huge watch. Its Oystersteel case measures in at 44mm wide and 17.7mm thick, offering a tremendous amount of wrist presence. Oystersteel is Rolex-jargon for 904L stainless steel, which it uses exclusively for its watches. A black Cerachrom insert incorporated onto the uni-directional stainless steel bezel completes its outlook. It is easy to manipulate with a good grip and produces 120 distinct clicks per revolution. The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue is equipped on the Oyster bracelet with accompanying the FLiplock dive extension link and Glidelock adjustment.

The biggest differentiating factor of the new ref. 126660 are its re-designed lugs with have been slightly thinned and narrowed. As a result, the lug width is now 22mm instead of 21mm. To account for that, the oyster bracelet and Oysterlock clasp have also been widened and tapered, and for a better fit, sits flush to the case. Though minor, these cosmetic upgrades enhance the visual balance and improve the comfort of the watch.

Perhaps the more prominent aspect would be its dial, Rolex sport watches generally have black or white dials. The Deepsea ref. 126660, aptly named “D-blue”, sports a handsome, visually striking gradient dial that goes from blue to black. It is a fitting tribute to film director James Cameron’s historic dive and stands out from the norm of other dive watches. The text “DEEPSEA” is printed at the 6 o’clock position in a bright green color similar to Cameron’s submersible.

Legibility is superb. The applique markers are maxi-sized and have been filled with blue Chromalight, a Rolex proprietary variant of the conventional Superluminova lume which is said to glow for 8 hours. The hands set on the ref. 1266660 has also undergone an aesthetic enhancement, being made slightly longer allowing them to align flawlessly with the chapter ring. Likewise, they are filled with Chromalight. Both the marker frames and hands are made out of 18k white gold to prevent tarnishing.

Finishing and build quality of the dial, hands, and the case is superlative with impressive attention to detail. The Oyster bracelet remains as the standard across the industry for its comfort and robustness. Simply put, the Deepsea is a superbly engineered watch entirely.

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue movement

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue movement is C.3235 an in-house developed automatic movement launched in 2017. It runs at 28,800 boh and features a respectable 70-hour power reserve. To boot,  an accuracy rating of +/- 2 seconds per day, surpassing COSC certification standards. There is no clear case back to view the movement, however, it is finished to a high engineering standard.

The key highlight on the C.3235 is its patented Chronergy escapement, which runs 15% more efficiently than previous calibers. Paired with an improved gear-train and blue Parachrom hairspring, the movement is even more sturdy, reliable and dependable. As with all Rolexes, the Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue is backed a five-year warranty.

The Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue 3900/12,800ft of waterproof-ness

The chunky case constitutes only half of the ingredients necessary for its extraordinary depth rating. The other and perhaps not-so-subtle clues lie visibly beneath its crystal, the metal ring, handily engraved “RING LOCK SYSTEM”. The Ringlock system is essential, an inner ring to which the crystal and case back are mounted. Its objective is to reduce stress exerted by extreme pressures on the watch at extreme depths and ironically, minimize case thickness.

The Ring Lock is made out of high-performance nitrogen-alloyed steel and is purported to be able to withstand three times the stress of 904L stainless steel. The deeper the watch is submerged, the more the crystal and case back will tense due to the pressure, and therefore push harder on the robust metal ring, the pressure is transferred onto the ring instead of being exerted on the case. As a result, the two opposing forces exerted on the ring would cancel each other out, reducing the possibility of the case deforming. Thus, the case can be made slimmer by 10%, translating into increased practicality and comfort for the wearer.

However, the crystal and case back still takes the brunt of the pressure from the ocean This would explain the usage of a 5.5mm thick sapphire crystal. As for the case back, it is a split into 2 parts, an inner 3.28mm thick back made from Grade 5 titanium which is mounted onto the Ringlock, and, a screw-down stainless steel back to protect it. The 2 part design reduces the possibility of leaks caused by warping of the metal.

9.5Expert Score
Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue
Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue
Rolex Deep Sea-Dweller D-Blue is a nice watch if you already like the standard Deepsea but it is so much more than that, it's a turning point in the previously staid development of Rolex.
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PROS
  • A condensed sportive watchmaking technology
  • The legibility
  • The outcome of the Rolex's sport range
CONS
  • The size might be too large for some
  • The weight
  • The overabundance of literature on the dial and the central ring.