Waterproof to an extreme depth of 3,900 metres (12,800 feet), the Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea illustrates Rolex’s expertise in waterproofness.
OYSTER CASE AND RINGLOCK SYSTEM
The Rolex Deepsea benefits from the Ringlock system, a patented case architecture developed by Rolex 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 system is based on a combination of three elements:
• a slightly domed 5.5 mm-thick sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating;
• 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 RLX titanium held tight against the high-performance ring by a screw-down Oystersteel ring.
These three components are superposed in a middle case crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The Triplock winding crown, protected by an integral crown guard, screws down against the case, completing the waterproofness system.
The Oyster case of the Rolex Deepsea, 44 mm in diameter, is also equipped with the helium escape valve patented 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 – a process inherent to saturation diving – 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.
CERACHROM BEZEL 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. This patented insert is made of an extremely hard, virtually scratchproof ceramic whose colour is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. In addition, thanks to its chemical composition, the high-tech ceramic is inert and cannot corrode. The moulded, recessed numerals and graduations 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 – for 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 precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone.
The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex and according to an exclusive methodology that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and more closely represents real-life experience. 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 outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks, 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 highperformance Paraflex shock absorbers, designed by Rolex and patented.
Calibre 3235 has an optimized version of the blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring its regularity in any position.
This calibre incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, made of nickel-phosphorus, 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 AND COMFORT
The Rolex Deepsea is fitted on the three-piece link Oyster bracelet. Equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp, designed by Rolex and patented, which prevents accidental opening, this bracelet also features the Rolex Glidelock fine-adjustment system, developed by the brand and patented. 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.
A concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case.
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 developed and manufactured by Rolex, this watch is designed to 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 echoes James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition to the deepest point in the ocean, partnered by Rolex and the National Geographic Society. As a tribute to this partnership, the ‘DEEPSEA’ marking was added to the dial in a colour inspired by Cameron’s green submersible.