Waterproof to an extreme depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea illustrates Rolex’s expertise in waterproofness.
Created in 2008, the Rolex Deepsea meets the exacting requirements demands of professional divers in terms of resistance to underwater pressure, precision and reliability, while featuring the aesthetic DNA and intrinsic characteristics of the watches in the Oyster Perpetual collection.
OYSTER CASE AND RINGLOCK SYSTEM
A new-generation divers’ watch, the Rolex Deepsea benefits from the Rolex-patented Ringlock System case architecture that allows it to resist the colossal pressure exerted by water at the depth of 3,900 metres, equivalent to a weight of approximately three tonnes on the crystal.
The Ringlock case architecture is based on a combination of three elements:
• a slightly domed 5.5 mm-thick sapphire crystal;
• a high-performance nitrogen-alloyed steel ring, positioned inside the middle case of the watch between the crystal and the case back, which withstands the water pressure;
• a case back made from a titanium alloy held tight against the high-performance ring by a screw-down Oystersteel ring.
These three components are superposed in a characteristically shaped middle case crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The Triplock winding crown, protected by a crown guard that is an integral part of the middle case, is equipped with three seals and screws down securely against the case, completing the waterproofness system and offering watertight security.
The Oyster case of the Rolex Deepsea is also equipped with the helium escape valve patented by Rolex in 1967. This safety valve allows excess pressure built up inside the watch case to escape during a diver’s decompression phase in a hyperbaric chamber to be released, without compromising the waterproofness of the watch.
STRINGENT WATERPROOFNESS TESTS
In deep-sea diving, absolute reliability and security are of the essence. Each Rolex Deepsea must therefore undergo the necessary waterproofness tests required for divers’ watches. To this end, a special hyperbaric test tank was developed in conjunction with COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), the world-renowned French company specializing in underwater engineering and hyperbaric technologies. Every single Rolex Deepsea is tested to ensure its waterproofness to a depth of 3,900 metres with an additional safety margin of 25 per cent.
BEZEL WITH CERACHROM INSERT
The unidirectional rotatable bezel of the Rolex Deepsea is fitted with a 60-minute graduated monobloc Cerachrom insert in black ceramic that allows divers to monitor their time underwater. The insert, patented by Rolex, is made of an extremely hard ceramic; it is virtually scratchproof and its colour is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. The moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum using a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process. The bezel’s knurled edge offers excellent grip and can be manipulated with ease, even when wearing gloves.
LEGIBLE AND FUNCTIONAL
Great attention was paid to the legibility of this professional divers’ watch. The Chromalight hour markers and hands are filled or coated with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting blue glow – lasting up to two times longer than traditional phosphorescent materials. On the bezel, the triangular zero marker of the graduation is visible in the dark thanks to an embedded capsule containing the same luminescent material.
THE ROLEX DEEPSEA, SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFIED
Like all Rolex watches, the Rolex Deepsea is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation attests that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria. These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The precision of every movement – officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) – is tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification. The tolerance for the average rate of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day. Its precision is tested by Rolex using an exclusive methodology that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and is much more representative of real-life experience.
The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex. The entirely automated series of tests also checks the waterproofness, the self-winding capacity and the power reserve of 100 per cent of Rolex watches. These tests systematically complement the qualification testing upstream during development and production, in order to ensure the watches’ reliability, robustness, and resistance to magnetic fields and shocks.
PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3235
The Rolex Deepsea is equipped with calibre 3235, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. A consummate demonstration of technology, this movement carries a number of patents. It offers fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
The oscillator of calibre 3235 has a large balance wheel with variable inertia regulated extremely precisely via gold Microstella nuts. It is held firmly in place by a height-adjustable traversing bridge enabling very stable positioning to increase shock resistance. The oscillator is also fitted on high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed and patented by Rolex.
Calibre 3235 has an optimized version of the blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring its regularity in any position.
This calibre incorporates the Chronergy escapement, made of nickel-phosphorus and patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability and is also insensitive to magnetic fields.
Calibre 3235 is fitted with a self-winding module featuring a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements of the wrist to provide constant energy. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of this movement extends to approximately 70 hours.
The Rolex Deepsea’s movement will be seen only by certified Rolex watchmakers, yet it is beautifully finished and decorated in keeping with the brand’s uncompromising quality standards.
BRACELET AND CLASP: SECURITY, COMFORT AND ERGONOMICS
The Rolex Deepsea is fitted on the three-piece link Oyster bracelet. Equipped with a Rolex-designed and -patented Oysterlock safety clasp that prevents accidental opening, this bracelet also features the Rolex Glidelock fine-adjustment system, developed and patented by the brand. This inventive toothed mechanism, located under the clasp cover, enables fine adjustment of the bracelet length, without tools. The Rolex Glidelock on the Oyster bracelet has 10 notches of approximately 2 mm each, allowing the bracelet length to be adjusted easily up to some 20 mm. The watch can therefore be worn over a diving suit up to 3 mm thick.
The Oyster bracelet of the Rolex Deepsea is additionally equipped with the Fliplock extension link, whose fold-out links enable the bracelet to be extended by approximately 26 mm, again without the use of tools. Together, the two extension systems allow the watch to be worn over a diving suit up to 7 mm thick.
FROM THE ROLEX DEEPSEA TO THE ROLEX DEEPSEA CHALLENGE
In 2012, the innovative case architecture of the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea and its Ringlock System directly inspired the design of the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea Challenge, an experimental divers’ watch guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 12,000 metres (39,370 feet). Entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex, this watch can resist the extreme pressure found in the deepest reaches of the oceans.
On 26 March 2012, attached to the manipulator arm of the submersible, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge accompanied filmmaker and explorer James Cameron on his solo 10,908-metre (35,787 feet) dive to Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest point, located in the Mariana Trench. “The Rolex Deepsea Challenge was the reliable companion throughout the dive,” said James Cameron after the historic event.
COMMEMORATIVE D-BLUE VERSION
In 2014, Rolex released a commemorative version of the Rolex Deepsea sporting a deep-blue to pitch-black gradient dial. This D-blue dial is reminiscent of the ocean’s twilight zone, where the last trickle of light from the surface disappears into the abyss; it so echoes James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition, partnered by Rolex and National Geographic Society. As a tribute to this partnership, the “DEEPSEA” marking on the dial adopts the colour of Cameron’s green submersible as it is perceived underwater.