OYSTER PERPETUAL DEEPSEA CHALLENGE
Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge,
the horizon of the deep
As profound as the depths of the ocean may be, they open up new horizons for humanity. But reaching these yet undiscovered locations requires withstanding extreme pressure. For almost 70 years, Rolex has accompanied explorers, developing ever more powerful tool watches. Models that became both watchmaking icons and benchmarks in the diving world, namely the Submariner, launched in 1953, the Sea-Dweller (1967) and the Rolex Deepsea (2008). A result of this expertise, the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge represents a new milestone in the journey to the deep.
TURNING PRESSURE INTO AN ALLY
THE DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, A WATCH THAT DEFIES THE LIMITS
Waterproof to 11,000 metres (36,090 feet) below sea level, the Deepsea Challenge far surpasses human capabilities to withstand pressure. For optimal comfort on the wrist while ensuring its promised performance, this new model in the Oyster Perpetual collection is made from RLX titanium.
The embodiment of Rolex’s quest for excellence, it views the depths of the ocean as a new frontier of exploration. These territories, deemed hostile and relatively unstudied, are actually a source of essential information necessary to the preservation of the planet. Withstanding extraordinary pressures, diving to the depths of human capabilities, expanding the boundaries of our knowledge: the Deepsea Challenge is fully capable of accompanying the pioneers of tomorrow in the face of these challenges.
THE JOURNEY TO THE DEEP
THE CULMINATION OF YEARS OF EXPERIMENTATION
Unveiled in 2022, the Deepsea Challenge is engraved with the words “Mariana Trench” as well as the dates “23-01-1960” and “26-03-2012” on the case back, in homage to the two historic dives into the Mariana Trench in which Rolex watches took part.
1960: THE RECORD SET BY JACQUES PICCARD AND DON WALSH
On 23 January 1960, the Deep Sea Special – an experimental Rolex watch designed to resist extreme pressure – accompanied the diving record set by the oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh in the Mariana Trench. Attached to the exterior of the bathyscaphe Trieste, it reached a depth of 10,916 metres (35,814 feet).
This mission off the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean created a window to the abyss, an underwater world that most researchers until this point considered void of all forms of life. After touching down on the bottom, the two men looked out into the darkness and were amazed to discover many living creatures. After the bathyscaphe’s ascent, Jacques Piccard sent a telegram to Rolex: “Happy to announce that your watch works as well at 11,000 metres as it does on the surface.”
2012: JAMES CAMERON’S SOLO FEAT
It wasn’t until 26 March 2012 that another explorer, filmmaker James Cameron, would decide to take his turn in the Mariana Trench, descending alone and reaching a depth of 10,908 metres (35,787 feet).
A new experimental Rolex watch was developed and attached to the manipulator arm of the submersible: the Rolex Deepsea Challenge. The fabrication of such a watch presented a two-fold challenge for the brand. That of abyssal pressure, of course – the watch would be tested to withstand a theoretic pressure of 15,000 metres (49,200 feet) and 17 tonnes of pressure on the crystal – but also that of time for its design, development and production. Thanks to its extensive experience in the domain of underwater exploration, Rolex successfully developed the watch in only a few weeks. It flawlessly withstood the tremendous pressure of the seven-hour dive, three hours of which were spent at the bottom, filming and collecting samples.
The Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge is an extension of the experimental watch created for James Cameron’s dive. It is a watch that pushes back the frontiers of innovation, as capable of resisting abyssal pressure as preventing the adverse effects related to helium. A guarantee of trust for underwater explorers, the Deepsea Challenge is also a source of daily inspiration for everyday wearers on their quest to defy the limits.
INNOVATION DEFYING PRESSURE
An adaptation of the experimental watch developed for James Cameron, the Deepsea Challenge is the fruit of Rolex’s extensive expertise and know-how in the world of divers’ watches. Crafted from RLX titanium and equipped with the helium escape valve and the Ringlock system, it is capable of accompanying divers in any environment – during freedives, submersible dives or in hyperbaric chambers. The design and proportions of the watch were also carefully considered to ensure that it is both comfortable to wear and visually harmonious.