Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron (The Terminator; Titanic; Avatar) and Rolex have long been associated together thanks to a shared passion and love for deep sea exploration. That relationship has now gone a step further as the pioneering duo unveil a new watch dedicated to divers and deep sea exploration.
Introducing the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge – a watch that presents as the ultimate diver’s tool, and one designed to withstand the extreme pressures of deepsea diving.
Make no mistake, this is no ordinary Rolex timepiece, but rather a diver’s aid with tremendous capabilities. Inspired by Cameron’s experimental journey to the depths of the Mariana Trench in 2012, the Oscar-winning director had Rolex design a watch in a mere 8 weeks that would be able to withstand the depths of his historic descent of 10,908-metres to the Mariana Trench. Now, ten years on, Rolex unveils the Deepsea Challenge, setting a new milestone in the world of diver watches.
With a guaranteed waterproofness of up to 11,000 metres, the chunky 50mm Deepsea Challenge is the first-ever Rolex timepiece crafted from RLX titanium (resulting in a watch that is 30% lighter than the experimental model of 2012). It’s also equipped with a helium escape valve, a Ringlock system and a bracelet using Rolex’s Glidelock and the Fliplock extension link, which allows the watch to be worn over a diving suit up to 7mm thick. Really, it’s the ultimate tool for any dive environment – during open-water diving, submersible dives or in hyperbaric chambers.
On the case back, the Deepsea Challenge is engraved with the words “Mariana Trench” as well as the dates “23-01 1960” and “26-03-2012” which pay tribute to two historic dives into the Mariana Trench: that of oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh aboard the Trieste, in 1960, and Cameron’s solo descent in DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, in 2012.
The launch of the Rolex Deepsea Challenge wasn’t an overnight success story; rather, a culmination of years of research and R&D was required to overcome the watchmaking and manufacturing challenges that its fabrication presented. From the production of the case to that of the bracelet, each element of this 50mm watch has been crafted with everyday use in mind.
To test the waterproofness of each Deepsea Challenge, Rolex specially developed, in partnership with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), an ultra-high-pressure tank capable of reproducing a test pressure equivalent to that exerted by water at a depth of an astonishing 13,750 metres.
Of course, the Deepsea Challenge wouldn’t be complete without its ticking heart; calibre 3230, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex and one that offers approximately 70 hours of power reserve. This self-winding movement also contains several patented components, including the Chronergy escapement and the Parachrom hairspring, insensitive to magnetic fields, as well as Paraflex shock absorbers.
Now, those looking to purchase a dive watch for aesthetics over function would be better suited to the classic Rolex Submariner reference. At 50mm in diameter and 23mm in thickness (61mm lug-to-lug), it’s definitely not the easiest-wearing timepiece, especially for daily wear. But in saying that, Rolex are under no illusions with the new Deepsea Challange, and its consumers shouldn’t be, either: this is a tool watch, plain and simple.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge ref 126067 is now available from Authorised Dealers, with a local RRP of $36,750