Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller116660D

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller 116660D
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Stainless Steel



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Rolex watches have always been aspirational but the Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-Blue, ref. 116660 evokes just something else entirely. It's awesome because it's a big old over-engineered Rolex dive watch but also because it celebrates an amazing feat of human innovation and courage. On March 26, 2012, film director and National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence, James Cameron, became just the third human in history to explore the deepest point on earth, the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench - 35,904 feet, give or take. You were probably at your office. And what accompanied him strapped to the outside of his submersible? A specially designed Rolex Sea-Dweller named the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE. A similar type watch also accompanied the very first expedition to the bottom of the trench January 23, 1960 when U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard became the first men to dare the impossible in their sub, the Trieste. Both watches, both subs and all three men survived unscathed - the last frontier on earth is being challenged, and Rolex has been a part of it! The D-Blue debuted in August 2014 to celebrate Cameron's descent and the release of the accompanying film Deepsea Challenge 3D. This watch is identical to the standard issue ref. 116660 in every way but one. Both have 44mm brushed stainless cases with matching Oyster bracelets, titanium case backs, helium escape valves, depth ratings of 3,900 meters/12,800 feet, Chromalight lumed hour markers and Mercedes hands, Rolex patented black Cerachrom ceramic bezels, standard Sea-Dweller small date windows at 3 (sans cyclops), screw-down, Triplock crowns, and the caliber 3135, but the dials couldn't be further apart. The D-Blue has a most unusual, albeit beautiful gradient dial that fades from blue to black, mimicking the falloff of sunlight as the ocean goes to depth. A really lovely touch, "DEEPSEA" is written in green to match that of Cameron's sub, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER. Overall, one of the things that makes the Sea-Dweller so great is that is was purposely built to solve a rather significant issue at the time. In the mid-1960s the US Navy, Jacques Cousteau and the Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises (COMEX) company were all separately developing deep water saturation diving techniques when COMEX came to Rolex with a problem: accumulated helium at depth was causing the crystals of their Rolex Submariners to pop off during decompression, which obviously isn't acceptable. Rolex responded by developing and then fitting a one-way helium escape valve to a handful of COMEX Subs but instead of forever modifying the Submariner line Rolex just made a brand new watch for brand new professional needs, a la the Sea-Dweller. It had a beefier case, thicker crystal, greater depth capability, helium valve, etc, which has been its m.o. ever since. Regardless of the unique dial the D-Blue is a tool watch that goes beyond the professional capabilities of almost everyone but it's such an expression of Rolex's technical prowess, pioneering sensibilities and commitment to exploration that it's just terrific in scope and execution. For the price of this watch you could have a Submariner but you'll be making a more far reaching statement with the Deepsea D-Blue. Buy it and daydream about bioluminescent deep water fish every time you put it on.