Watchuwant is now WatchBox! Shop our Rolex Selection here: https://goo.gl/Xj6YRv
This Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 (Ref. 116600) was among the most warmly received debuts at Baselworld 2014. Having been supplanted in the Rolex catalog by the 44 mm DeepSea in 2009, the older 16600 Sea-Dweller has remained a firm favorite on the pre-owned watch market since that time. Rolex, sensing an opportunity to pick low-hanging fruit and generate some buzz, reintroduced the 40 mm model with little advance notice at the 2014 Baselworld trade show.
Initially rated to 1,650 meters (quickly revised to 2000m), the first reference 1665 Rolex Sea-Dweller officially was an extension of the Submariner line, and it was only available to COMEX personnel in prototype form. A thicker crystal that omitted the Rolex “Cyclops Eye” date magnifier, special case construction to survive extreme depths, and a helium-release valve at 9 o’clock on the case flank were to become iconic of the model.
In 1971, the Sea-Dweller (Ref. 1665) joined the Rolex public catalog as a production model in its own right, and 1978 brought the introduction of the original Sea-Dweller 4000 meter (Rolex Ref. 16660). This model's successor, the much-loved 16600, remained in production until the 2009 arrival of the DeepSea.
As of March 2014, Rolex has yielded to those customers seeking a link to the Sea-Dweller heritage without the mass and dimensions of the DeepSea. The new Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 features the same compact dimensions of its celebrated predecessor while including all contemporary Rolex refinements. The burly crystal, unmarred by a Cyclops magnifier, presents a handsome alternative to the Submariner’s (Ref. 116610) domed visage. Although thick, the watch wears like a Submariner on the wrist, and it never approaches the bulk of the DeepSea.
A helium-release valve is present and correct, and while the device may be of true utility to few owners, it remains a champion conversation-starter.
Developed expressly for original client COMEX, the signature helium-release provided relief for the watch’s crystal during the process of decompressing divers. Due to the mix of gas used in diving chambers (bells) at depth, the content of the watch case begins to mirror the dissolved helium gas in the blood of deep sea divers. While the gas can escape naturally during measured decompression of the affected personnel, the consequence for traditional dive watches is a crystal blowout. Rolex’s helium-release valve allows the inert gas to vent outward while retaining the hermeticity of the watch against inward water pressure.
Naturally, the Sea-Dweller also features Rolex’s latest refinements including a scratch resistant ceramic-coated bezel, the shock and magnetism-defying Parachrom Blue balance spring, and Rolex’s Paraflex shock absorption system. A Caliber 3135 automatic movement features a 48-hour power reserve. Owners of the original Sea-Dweller models can only dream of a bracelet and clasp as robust and innovative as this 4K’s Oyster bracelet and Oysterlock clasp. The bracelet features a gorgeous combination of polished and brushed facets, and its silken feel against the skin is a testament to Rolex’s philosophy of continuous refinement. The clasp features a 26 mm diving extension for use over a wet suit or winter coat. Separately, the clasp’s Glidelock system allows micro-adjustments in 2 mm increments up to 20 mm, which can eliminate the need to travel to jewelers for occasional adjustment.
This Sea-Dweller 4000 arrived in watchuwant’s Hollywood, Florida headquarters only hours ago, making it one of the very Sea-Dweller 4000s to hit the pre-owned market. This is as close to a new Sea-Dweller 4000 as you can get right now without a friend in Geneva. Our Sea-Dweller is complete with original box, technical documents, and origin papers. This boxed set is complete, with factory warranty, and we mean complete; even the sales hang tag and factory polishing cloth are present and flawless. Video and content by Tim Mosso.