We have now arrived at the fourth chapter of our in-depth look at the history of the Rolex Sea-Dweller Replica. Next in line—after the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “DRSD,” ref. 1665 “Great White,” and the 16660 “Triple Six“—was the Rolex SD ref. 16600. If you haven’t read the previous installments of this series, we recommend that you do before diving into this one. Let’s examine the details of the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600
The Rolex Replica Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 was presented in 1988 to replace the preceding ref. 16660 “Triple Six” Sea-Dweller. While both the ref. 16660 and the ref. 16600 were very similar in aesthetic, there are a few subtle differences.
The ref. 16600 strikes a great balance between having modern Rolex enhancements, while still sporting a touch of vintage appeal. For instance. the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 sports an Oyster bracelet with the solid end links. In fact, quick side note: the Sea-Dweller was the first Rolex to include the solid end links—well before the Submariner and GMT-Master II. On the flip side, the ref. 16600 still has lug holes—something not available on modern Rolex watches—thus, making bracelet switching a breeze. And the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 on a NATO strap looks particularly awesome. The Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 also retains the chamfered edges on the lugs, which is especially appealing to vintage Rolex watch enthusiasts.
The Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 had a long production run, from 1988 until 2008, and during that time, the luminescence material on the dial changed. Up until about 1998, the Sea-Dweller dials included tritium for lume, which was eventually replaced by SuperLumiNova. The presence of tritium is signified by the “SWISS-T < 25” label below the 6 o’clock marker. Naturally, when Rolex used SuperLumiNova instead, the label changed to just say “SWISS” and then a while later “SWISS MADE.”
Since the design differences from its predecessor were so minimal, it can be assumed that the main reason Rolex changed the reference number from 16660 to 16600 was due to its new caliber. The Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 ran on Caliber 3135 rather than the Caliber 3035 of the previous ref. 16660.
The Rolex Caliber 3135 automatic mechanical chronometer movement has 31 jewels, a frequency of 28,000 beats per hour, and a power reserve of 48 hours. The ultimate Rolex workhorse, the Caliber 3135 is still used in today’s Rolex’s watches—almost 30 years after its 1988 debut.
Goodbye Sea-Dweller…For Now
In 2008, to the dismay of many, Rolex shelved the Sea-Dweller as we knew it and replaced it with the larger and more water resistant Deepsea Sea-Dweller (DSSD)—a very different diving watch model. However, it turned out to be only a six-year break, since Rolex surprised everyone with the Sea-Dweller 4000 ref. 116600 in 2014. And that Sea-Dweller 4000 ref. 116600 will, of course, be the subject of our next article, so don’t miss it!
Do you own a Rolex Sea-Dweller? If so, which reference is it? We’d love to hear from you in our comment section below!
Of all the dive copy watches ever created, one holds a special place in history, as both an icon of all things horologically cool but also a great in the field of research and innovation. That is the Rolex Sea-Dweller, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (1967-2017). We explain why it’s an icon and speculate on how Rolex will celebrate this anniversary.
A purpose-built watch for pros
The Sea-Dweller’s history is deeply linked to the history of diving on its own, and essential to the development of the dive watch that started in the 1950s. After WWII, leisure diving grew in popularity and dive watches began to be commercialized for military, professional and civilian use.
The birth of the dive watch can be summed up by one timepiece, the Submariner ref. 6200, the world’s first commercially produced dive watch that was released in 1954, boasting a 100m water resistance (which later improved to 200m). Then in the 1960s, experiments with saturation diving for commercial deep-sea divers had begun bringing about the need for watches with greater water resistance. At that time, the standard Submariner ref. 5513 could endure 200m of pressure but the goal of Rolex was to triple it.
Experiments were carried by Rolex in collaboration with COMEX, the French deep-sea diving specialist, leading to the invention of a feature that would later become the hallmark of the Sea-Dweller: the helium escape valve.
The valve was first retrofitted on best cheap fake Submariner ref. 5514 watches made for COMEX, but in 1967, Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665, the first watch designed with helium escape valve that was also available for civilian purchase.
The early models from 1967 – production was estimated to slightly over 100 pieces – were very similar to the Submariner ref. 5514 COMEX. Key characteristics of the early Sea-Dwellers are a “double red” dial – having two lines of text on the dial in red print – along with “Submariner 2000” and “patent pending” engraved on the case back (as Rolex had then filed for, but had not yet received, the patent for the helium valve).
Several evolutions took place over the life of the Sea-Dweller. Very rare examples include the “single red” model, which were prototypes (with estimated production of four watches) rated to 500m.
One of the best-known variants is the “Double Red” Sea-Dweller (with the “Submariner 2000” mention too), produced from 1971 to 1977, featuring a 2000ft or 610m water resistance and “patent pending” caseback.
In 1977, the Replica Rolex Sea-Dweller transformed again, becoming a model nicknamed the “Great White”. This model got rid of the red lettering on the dial as well as any mention of “Submariner 2000”, so as to better differentiate between the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller models.
Then in 1978, while the ref. 1665 was still in production, Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller ref. 16660 that fitted with a sapphire crystal, a bigger helium release valve and an improved depth rating of 4,000ft or 1,220m. Finally in 1988 came the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 that was powered by the modern calibre 3135, while also having solid end-links on the bracelet and a glossy-finish dial. After many decades in service, the Sea-Dweller was finally discontinued in 2008, replaced by the extra-large Deepsea that was 44mm in diameter.
Rolex stopped the production of the Sea-Dweller 4000 to replace it with a timepiece that had even greater water resistance: the Deepsea Sea-Dweller, rated to 12,000ft or 3,900m.
While technically more advanced, the Deepsea couldn’t replace the Sea-Dweller in the heart of collectors and perhaps for that reason the Sea-Dweller 4000 returned to the catalogue in 2014 as the ref. 116600. That model has all the same features as the classic Sea-Dweller: 1,220m water resistance, a helium escape valve, no magnifier on the date, but also some subtle improvements, including a slightly slimmer case, ceramic bezel and adjustable Glidelock bracelet.
What about the 50th anniversary?
With such history and pedigree, it would be difficult for Rolex to pass on the chance for a 50th anniversary Sea-Dweller. Many expect to see a “red” version of the Sea-Dweller 4000 that harks back to the 1970s version.
Yet, Rolex doesn’t just do vintage-inspired pieces, instead preferring to introduce high-end versions of existing models to mark anniversary’s, as it did with the platinum Daytona for that model’s jubilee. Even if precious metals go against the very nature of the replica rolex sea-dweller automatic watches with green ceramic bezel, Rolex could potentially do a gold or platinum version of the watch.
Another possibility is a different dial on the steel version of the Sea-Dweller. Why not a graduated tone dial colour, as seen in the Deepsea D-Blue? We’ll find out very soon.
It’s that time of the year again… In less than 2 months Baselworld will open its doors, revealing a myriad of new cheap rolex replica watch collections. Included among them of course will be the new releases from Rolex for 2017. Today we’re featuring what has become something of a recurring game for us here at Monochrome. Just like we did in 2016, 2015 and 2014 we’ve spent the last few weeks guessing what could be the Rolex Baselworld 2017 Collection? This is the question we’re trying to answer today. What could be Rolex 2017 Novelties? After long debates based on our own expectations, analysis of the Rolex catalogue and data compiled from discussions at several watch forums, here are the watches that Rolex could potentially launch at Baselworld 2017. Keep in mind, these are just predictions. Nothing is official.
Looking back at 2016, Rolex introduced several novelties, including one that would become the star of Baselworld, the Daytona Ceramic Steel 116500LN, a watch that many collectors had been hoping and praying for and that we, at Monochrome, predicted here and here. There was also the new Datejust 41, with a new movement and a slimmer case, something that we also predicted. While we may have been right on certain predictions though, the 2016 collection also brought several unexpected watches, such as the slightly redesigned Explorer (simply a killer, even if the changes were minimal, but proving nonetheless that Rolex can admit its faults) and the Air-King with colorful Pilot dial (such a watch coming from Rolex was clearly impossible to imagine and many are still suspicious about it). So yes, Rolex can be predictable in some ways but we’ll also have to allow for a bit more “funkiness” now that the brand seems to be not-so-conservative anymore. With all that in mind, here are our Rolex Baselworld 2017 Predictions.
Replica Rolex Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary Gradient Green
2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of an iconic tool watch by Rolex, the ultimate dive watch, created with Comex, the Sea-Dweller. First presented in 1967, this watch was originally water resistant to 2000ft / 610m before being upgraded to 4000ft / 1220m (which explains its name, Sea-Dweller 4000). It was also the first time Rolex included the helium escape valve on one of its commercially available watches. This watch, which has been reintroduced in 2014, in a faithful yet modernized version, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. And we know that Rolex, for a few years now, does celebrate these kinds of jubilees (Platinum Daytona 50th anniversary in 2013, Pink Gold / Green Dial Day-Date 60th anniversary last year, Green bezel Rolex Submariner in 2003 for the 50th anniversary…)
We know some people are waiting for a vintage-oriented version for this 50th anniversary of the Replica Rolex Sea-Dweller, complete with red inscription… which will most likely NOT happen. Unless a drastic change of strategy has been implemented recently, Rolex does not create vintage-inspired pieces. Thus, if there is a Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary at Baselworld 2017, it will certainly be something modern and unexpected. Thus, we’ve imagined a gradient dial, just like the Deepsea D-Blue but this time with Rolex’s iconic color, green. Alongside this gradient green dial, our Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary features a bright green logo. For the rest, no technical differences: steel case, 40mm diameter, ceramic bezel, same 3135 movement and same Oyster bracelet. It is a bit unexpected for sure, but admittedly, quite cool too.
Replica Rolex Daytona White Gold & Ceramic Collection
Last year was the big one, the steel Daytona Ceramic 116500LN. Dreams came true for many collectors, waitlists are still extremely long and people are willing to pay a 50% premium to get their hands on one. A success? No, a commercial blast. Rolex has been listening to expectations. Still, the Daytona story is not over yet, and some references are missing from the catalogue, in particular the white gold versions. Indeed, there is no more black or silver dial options (at least without diamonds) for the metallic bracelet versions. No more leather strap options either. In fact at present there are only 4 options in white gold available in the current collection (Last year’s blue dial version, and 3 with diamonds – black, black mother of pearl or white mother of pearl). This is short. Too short? Probably.
Replica Rolex Daytona White Gold Ceramic Black Dial Bracelet
Thus, for Baselworld 2017 Rolex could come with a new Daytona white gold collection, and of course with the Ceramic bezel on it – it has been so successful that it would be a shame not to use it. We have 4 versions in our mind:
Silver brushed dial, black contrasting sub-dials, white gold bracelet
Silver brushed dial, black contrasting sub-dials, leather strap
Black dial, silver contrasting sub-dials, white gold bracelet
Black dial, silver contrasting sub-dials, leather strap
Of course, this Baselworld 2017 Rolex Daytona White Gold collection needed to be differentiated from the steel versions. Thus, the sub-counters are different, with a sort-of panda look (which has always been part of the gold versions) and a silver option instead of the white dial offered on the steel version – and this version has something of a silver 6263, don’t you think?
Replica Rolex Datejust 41 Steel Collection
This one is certainly the most expected of the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection. It is known that Rolex always introduces its new watches first in precious metals. It was the case for the new Rolex Datejust 41, which was presented last year in Rolesor versions only (combination of steel with yellow or pink gold). The natural expansion of the collection, meaning the introduction of steel versions, will most likely happen this year.
Apart from the use of stainless steel, the Datejust 41 remain identical, meaning first a 41mm case (other websites / forums mentioned a downsized case, at 40mm. This seems highly improbable, considering that the watch was introduced only a year ago, with a 41mm case…) Then, because of the change of metal, some new dials will appear, most likely silver, blue or black options. The jubilee bracelet, just re-introduced on the model, will also be part of the package, when combined with a white gold fluted bezel. A full steel version, with polished bezel, will certainly be unveiled, with a 3-link oyster bracelet.
Inside the case of the Baselworld 2017 replica rolex datejust 41 in steel, we’ll find back the modern calibre 3235, with 70h power reserve, new Chronergy escapement and optimized gear train and winding mechanism. These steel options could allow the Datejust 41 to be available from an approximate price of 7,500 Euro.
Replica Rolex GMT-Master II Pink Gold Rubber Strap
With this one, we enter the circle of the watches that we’d love to see however with less confidence that they’ll actually be introduced. The Rolex Baselworld 2017 Collection could potentially include a pink gold / Everose version of the GMT-Master II. Why? First of all, this watch has never been available in this metal. It exists in steel (black bezel and BLNR Black / Blue bezel), in Rolesor (Black bezel), in yellow gold (black bezel with black or green dial) and finally in the great white gold BLRO, so-called “Pepsi” version. Yet, no Everose gold. Plus, Rolex is now massively advertising this model on its Instagram and Facebook pages (something it also did last year with the Daytona…)
Because these Rolex Predictions are also meant to be a bit of fun for us, instead of a classical bracelet and a polished black bezel, we imagined our Pink Gold GMT-Master II with some of the recent evolutions introduced by Rolex, including a matte black ceramic bezel and the Oysterflex rubber strap. Thus, the bezel is slightly grained, with a two-tone style (dark grey and black) and still with engraved numerals, in rose gold too. Finally, to match the color of the case, the GMT hand and the logo are now red.
After the 2015 Yacht-Master Everose Gold, with its Oysterflex rubber strap and matte ceramic bezel, the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection could potentially include steel versions of this watch. This watch is certainly not Rolex’s best seller, due to a rather outdated look – the platinum bezel of the steel versions makes it quite bulky and not very modern. Rolex could benefit from using Baselworld to offer the Steel Yacht-Master a facelift.
Based on the evolutions introduced on the Everose version, the 2017 Rolex Yacht-Master Steel could sport the same matte black ceramic bezel with raised polished numerals. Also, alongside the traditional steel Oyster bracelet, Rolex could deploy the Osyterflex rubber strap on the entire collection, in order to harmonize it and bring a modern touch. Finally, while the usual blue and grey dial versions would still be in production (but with the new bezel), Rolex could also introduce a black dial model, with red constructing hand. These changes would allow the Yacht-Master to be more accessible, as the steel / platinum bezel versions are now priced over 10,000 Euro.
Another possible one… A new Replica Rolex Explorer II
Our final prediction is about the Replica Explorer II. Indeed, the Rolex Baselworld 2017 collection could welcome a new version of this unloved, yet iconic watch. It is well-known amongst collectors that this model is not selling well and that it has become one of the cheapest sports Rolex watches on the second hand market. The current version, ref. 216570, is not very old (by Rolex standards), it was introduced in 2011, but on the other hand, it seems to be at the end of its life cycle.
With this in mind, we’re are still wondering what Rolex could change. A ceramic bezel? Maybe too simple, too close to the GMT-Master II (don’t forget that both watches share the same function, just with a lack of rotating bezel on the Explorer II). A return to a smaller diameter (the current Explorer II is 42mm)? It sounds improbable, as it would mean going back to the previous reference, the 116570, which is also far from being popular on the second hand market. Thus, if Rolex does come with a new version of this watch, it will certainly be rather unexpected. Wait and see.