Home » The New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

The New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

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In the next four years, Rolex will undoubtedly commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first timepiece that was 100 percent water resistant, the Rolex Oyster, which was launched in 1926. A tightly sealed casing protected it; thus, getting it wet was feasible without worrying about damaging it. One year later, in 1927, it was put to the analysis on the wrist of diver Mercedes Gleitze as she navigated the seas over 22 miles of the English Channel towards safety. Surprisingly, the watch made it through without any problems.

Photo: Monochrome

Generally, technology and innovation in artistry have historically been crucial partners in humankind’s desire to go further—faster, higher, and, obviously, deeper. Making timepieces work in ever-higher extremities of water pressure entails continuously pushing the limits of physics and metals. Hence, the Deepsea Challenge, a startling first for the brand and only introduced recently, is the latest addition to Rolex’s lineup of durable yet opulent tool pieces. Indeed, Rolex has always been at the frontline of innovation in this area.

This newest model from Rolex breaks the previous record for a commercialized watch’s depth grade by a wide margin. Initially, the Deepsea, which could descend as far as a shallow depth of 3,900M (or 12,800 feet), was the deepest swimmer offered by Rolex. However, the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge is designed to descend 11,000M (or 36,090 feet) three times further. Perhaps collectors won’t also worry about wearing this piece in the bathtub or swimming pool any longer.

To put in perspective the enormous jump, Rolex is thriving, considering the commercial watch former record, which was established only 6 months before. The Omega Seamaster Ultra Deep, which can go 6,000 meters (19685 feet) below, was published earlier in the year. However, the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea almost doubles that capability.

Photo: Hodinkee

In addition, this Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea is enormous to fit its increased powers. It has a diameter of 50 mm and a thickness of 23 mm. Nevertheless, there is a reason for all that additional weight and girth. Individuals outside the watch industry may view the crown as a creator of delicate premium products and gem-set masterpieces. However, enthusiasts who pursue the company know Rolex’s roots are in tool timepieces. Sir Edmund Hillary wore the iconic Oyster Perpetual in 1953 as he emerged as the first man to conquer Everest, while Mercedes Gleitze wore it while swimming across the English Channel. Hence, the legacy of the latest Deepsea Challenge is much more impressive.

Rolex created the Deep Sea Special, a timepiece featuring a convex bubble-like crystal designed to withstand the extreme pressure of the deepest ocean diving in 1960. This watch’s creation extends to 1960. The words “Mariana Trench,” which is the world’s deepest part, and the dates “23-01-1960”, as well as “26-03-2012”, are etched on the caseback of this modern watch.

When Jacques Piccard (oceanographer) and Don Walsh (the US lieutenant) got on the submarine-like Trieste and dove 35,814 feet to the ocean’s floor, the watch was fastened on its exterior. However, Rolex’s Deep Sea Special was still running flawlessly when the Trieste resurfaced from the water.

On the other hand, James Cameron, the filmmaker of Avatar, finished the same journey to the Mariana Trench in 2012. He intended to carry a Rolex with him just as his antecedents had. So within only a few months, Rolex put it all together for him to take on his 7-hour diving. The timepiece emerged just well, much like the 1960 Deep Sea Special. Consequently, these trials made the innovative Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge practicable even though Cameron’s creation remained only a prototype.

On the contrary, these were not the only timepieces that played a role in the creation of this masterpiece. Ben Ainslie, the British sailor, had worn a Rolex Yachtmaster model outdoors without anyone’s knowledge, something Rolex Magazine learned last autumn. Given that it was the inaugural Rolex timepiece created out of titanium, this piece is significant to history. Likewise, it was important to Ainslie due to how light titanium is.

Photo: Time And Watches

According to Ainslie, each amount of weight they could save enabled them to travel more quickly. Thus, it’s crucial to reduce the mass of a wristwatch, such as the newest OP Deepsea Challenge, since it is thick. Also, as per the press statement from Rolex, using titanium made the device 30 percent lightweight compared to the experimental prototype of 2012.

Numerous improvements were implemented to the device to make it more comfortable than the experimental variant. One of the adjustments was a slimmer sapphire crystal that looks spectacular at 9.5 millimeters. The watch is enormous if you consider it on the basis of conventional manufacturing standards. However, the object gets even more amazing when you factor in 11,000M waterproofing.

Furthermore, Rolex had to improve the casing’s design to accomplish such exceptional pressure tolerance. The Ringlock mechanism is also present in the new Deepsea Challenge, just like in the trial prototype.

A helium escaping valve included in the watch’s innovative case construction allows it to resist high pressure. Throughout a swimmer decompress process, the Triplock crown, with triple sealed zones, as well as an ultra-thick caseback, enable extra gas to exit from the device.

Photo: Time And Watches

Generally, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge fits seamlessly into the company’s professional lineup. While the style is traditional, some distinguishing features, including the polished bevel and edges, pay homage to historical pieces. Also, a unidirectional bezel is obviously, included in the timepiece.

The Deepsea Challenge is secured by an Oysterlock protection fastening featuring a Rolex Glidelock expansion mechanism and a Fliplock extension connection. It is donned on a 3-link Oyster bracelet made of RLX titanium with completely polished faces (including the link’s edges). On a black Cerachrom inlay, the 60-minute display is inscribed and then covered with platinum.

Similarly, the dial is still a vintage Rolex diving watch, and a metallic (operational) part encloses it. Its hands are Chromalight-filled, and white gold markings have been added. The dial is also “deep black” in color and has a matte rather than the customary glossy coating.

Photo: Forbes

The in-house Superlative Chronometer caliber 3230, like the one featured in Explorer, is still a movement from the normal range underneath it. Besides, the 70-hour power reserve, 4Hz speed, and Chronergy escapement are all indicated.


Bottom Line

In the end, this meticulous development over a considerable amount of time makes the brand-new Oyster Perpetual Deepsea appear so alluring. It’s also quite fascinating to observe how plainly a watch from 1960 served as a foundation for a timepiece that only fully reaches its potential 60 years later.



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