The brand new Rolex Deepsea Challenge is made of Rolex’s new grade 5 titanium which they call RLX Titanium meaning the watch is much lighter at 251 grams than it otherwise would have been if it were made in steel.
It measures in at 50mm in diameter and has a case thickness of 23mm. The increased thickness is caused by the sapphire crystal which measures 9.5mm and Rolex’s inner Ringlock which is a steel ring the crystal sits on.
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Of particular note is the watch does not have a date which is different to its Sea-Dweller and Deepsea predecessors.
Rolex’s release of a titanium case and bracelet also cannot be understated. In true Rolex fashion they certainly aren’t the first watch brand to release a watch with a titanium case and bracelet but this has been a long awaited release Rolex fans have been clamoring for.
The hype around Rolex finally releasing a titanium watch especially exploded in popularity when it was discovered that British sailor Sir Ben Ainslie’s prototype Yachtmaster was made of titanium. While it isn’t the titanium case watch most Rolex fans hoped for, it certainly is a step in the right direction.
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Ring Lock System
The watch also boasts an insane water resistance of 11,000 meters or approximately 36,000 feet. This water resistance is made even more impressive given Omega’s release of the Ultra Deep earlier this year which featured a water resistance of 6,000 meters for comparison. Rolex supposedly tests this watch to a depth rating of 13,750 meters through a pressure tank by one of Rolex’s oldest partners – Comex.
So how was Rolex able to achieve such an impressive depth rating? Rolex has a new patented crown Ringlock system that allows the majority of the pressure to be felt by the watch’s crystal as opposed to by the case itself. This allows the watch to wear much thinner than it otherwise would.
Take for example Rolex’s Deepsea special watches which had massive domed crystals, extremely thick cases and a very large crown. These watches were experiments that allowed Rolex to gain further knowledge on how to increase the water resistance of their watches and ultimately create a more wearable AND more robust product today. It’s a welcome change to see Rolex returning to its innovation based roots and creating purpose built tool watches that are the absolute best on the market.
Like its predecessors the watch features a helium escape valve (HEV) which Rolex originally developed to win out the Comex contract over Omega and become the master of the seas and King of Dive watches. This addition is critical for saturation divers due to the pressure imbalances a diver experiences when decompressing.
Essentially, when diving a number of gas particles are present – the smallest of them being Helium. Helium is small enough able to infiltrate past the gaskets of the watch and into the case. While this isn’t harmful to the watch, it can cause huge pressure imbalances between the inside of the watch and exterior environments as a diver ascends to the surface resulting in the watch’s crystal popping off. The HEV acts as a one-way spring-loaded valve that will open when the pressure imbalance is significant enough and can also be operated manually.
It’s hard to know just how many of these Rolex Deepsea Challenges will be made given the technology inherent in the watch and what is Rolex’s ability to make titanium cases and bracelets. All that R&D comes at a cost – this watch will carry a retail price of $26,000 and will be available at Rolex Authorized Dealers and Boutiques as of today (if you’re lucky enough to beat the Rolex waiting list).
Read more about the Rolex Deepsea Challenge on the Rolex website.
Rolex Deepsea Challenge Specification:
|Case Metal:||Brushed RLX Titanium – Grade 5 Titanium|
|Bracelet Metal:||Brushed RLX Titanium – Grade 5 Titanium|
|Dial:||Brushed RLX Titanium – Grade 5 Titanium|
|Movement:||Rolex caliber 3230 ⇒ In-House Rolex Movement – 31 Jewels, 201 components|
|Power Reserve:||70 hours|
|Complications:||Hours, minutes and seconds|
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