Sunday, June 11, 2017

SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER



Note: I have decided to conduct an experiment, and keep a daily diary of thoughts and observations on the all-new Rolex Single-Red SEA-DWELLER. So basically, whenever I have thoughts, I will add them with a date-stamp at the bottom of this story:


JAKE'S NOTEBOOK

The Second Coming

SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER


If you are reader of Jake's Rolex World, you know how over-the-top excited I got when when Rolex introduced the Single Red SEA-DWELLER earlier this year at BaselWorld 2017. I got so excited, I wrote a 6 Part Series on the significance of the Second Coming of the SINGLE-RED SEA-DWELLER. I just got the a new Single Red SEA-DWELLER, and I plan to write a detailed review once I have had a chance to live with it on my wrist for a while. That being said, I wanted to offer my initial impressions. In a nutshell, this watch is pure MAGIC!!!! I have been looking forward to getting this watch on my wrist every since Rolex introduced it at BaselWorld 2017, and I can't seem to stop staring at it on my wrist!!!


I believe Rolex has a home-run on its hands (pun intended) with this magnificent new SEA-DWELLER. One of the reasons I am so excited about this watch is due to its larger 43MM size. I am pleasantly surprised at how low-profile the case design is, and how well it sits on my wrist—as seen in the photo below. If you look closely at the photo below you will notice how well the lug structure follows the curve of my wrist, which is an important feature in the Rolex Oyster Bracelet geometry. I also could not help but notice the lugs are significantly elongated and the overall case shape is NOT that of the blockier Supercase. Instead, the case shape is way more old-school, as the lugs swerve inward, and are longer and skinnier. This results in the watch looking less bulky from the top and side views. At first it is a little strange seeing the helium release valve, as I have never worn a SEA-DWELLER before, and I assume in time I will grow used to it. The overall design of the watch is very macho in a refined elegant way—kind of like Sean Connery as James Bond. This model is super-streamlined with fresh, clean-cut GQ lines.



If you look closely at the ceramic bezel insert in the photo above, you will notice how crazy-precise the ceramic bezel insert fits inside the bezel. I bought my first Rolex Submariner close to 35 years ago, when I was 18 years old, and since then the only other Submariner I have owned is an LV Submariner with the green bezel. I realize this probably sound weird, but since the LV had the green bezel, it seemed way different than my first Submariner which had a black bezel. So basically, wearing this SEA-DWELLER is Deja Vuing me out, and making me remember the joy and wonderment I experienced when I got my first Submariner 35 years ago. Also, it's so interesting to see something you are so familiar with, scaled-up larger. I love the familiarity aspect of this watch, and that carries over to the red SEA-DWELLER dial designation. Obviously I have never owned a Single-Red SEA-DWELLER, but since I have carefully studied so many photos of it, as well as photos of Single Red Submariner 1680 models, there is an instant feeling of familiarity.

The very first thing I did when I was resizing the bracelet to fit my wrist was to remove the Scuba Diving Suit extension from the bracelet, which I don't plan to use, and in doing to it made the Rolex Oyster Bracelet look much, much cleaner and balanced as you can see in the photo below. One think for certain, is the Oyster bracelet on this watch is a serious piece of engineering art. The watch has a built-in feature that allows you to simply increase or decrease the wrist size in very small increments, so you can easily resize as the weather changes without having to use any tools. The Fliplock Clasp on this puppy is the easiest one I have ever used. It is literally smooth as butter. Note the horizontal lines on the clasp are a light reflection.


I think the freakiest thing so far about this watch is how accurately it keeps time. This is due to the all-new Rolex Caliber 3235 movement, which seems to keep quartz-like accurate time. I am tracking the precision of the timekeeping functionality using an atomic clock. Over the next weeks and months, I will publish my timekeeping precision findings.

Also, I think I should mention, the overall build-quality of this watch is exceptional and it is built like a tank. The SEA-DWELLER watch feels heavy in the hand, but not on the wrist. I believe this is due to the fact it is so well balanced on the wrist. 

I really hope this watch is a sign of things to come with Rolex and that Rolex comes out with a 43 or 44MM Single Red Submariner model, with and without the date. Since the new SEA-DWELLER has a Cyclops Date window lens it make it look much more like a larger Submariner. I never really liked the Rolex DEEP-SEA, as it had weird unbalanced proportions, although I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the James Cameron DEEPSEA dial. It would be so cool if Rolex offers a similar gradient dial on this watch in the future...

...Speaking of proportions, the all-new Single-Red SEA-DWELLER has such perfect proportions, its like the DEEP-SEA and Submariner had a baby, that inherited the best of each parents features and traits. Another way to look at it is the new Single Red wears its weight much better than the DEEP-SEA. Rolex watches have always been designed and built like no other, and with this new model, that lead has been significantly increased. In other words, there is no other watch brand that makes a model that is anywhere close to Rolex.

My other observations so far are that I love the fatter hands which make it look bolder and clearer. Also, I am surprised in a good way, at how dark or blue red the SEA-DWELLER dial designation is. I was expecting it to be more of an orange-red, but it is a straight up blue red that is very subdued at most angles in many different lighting conditions. I live the larger size so much better, but I keep thinking Rolex should also come out with a 45 or 46, or 47MM version, but if they were to make a larger model, I don't think they would make it any thicker. At 43MM, the SEA-DWELLER will likely appeal to many Panerai fans as the watch has a more macho/masculine presence.





Day 3



June 12, 2017:

I still can't stop staring at the Single-RED on my wrist. The photo below shows me photographing the SEA-DWELLER in the mirror, to show how it sits on the wrist from the rear and front-facing perspectives. 




When I took these photos, I was not planning to publish them, but I think they capture the essence of the Single Red SEA-DWELLER. The iPhone case in my hand is a prototype and looks strange and as it was printed with a 3D printer, which explains why it looks semi-transparent. As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I think Rolex should consider making a 45, 46 or 47MM Submariner for bigger guys. I think the photo below shows how on my wrist there would be plenty of room for an increased diameter. 



I know this might sound strange, but one of the things that draws me to it so much is all the amazing SEA-DWELLER exploration History that is tied up in this watch

I have been comparing and contrasting it with my LV Submariner, to check out all the differences, and I plan to put together my findings. One key difference I noticed is that thickness of the bezel is much taller on the SEA-DWELLER, which makes it much, much easier to grab when you want to spin it, and also makes the watch look more macho. It also strikes me that Rolex was able to hide or camouflage some of the watches thickness by making the bezel thicker. This is one of the reasons I believe the watch looks so balanced on the wrist.



In the photo above, we see the all new Single Red SEA-DWELLER next to my 50 Anniversary LV Submariner, which in now around 12 years old. Despite the obvious family resemblance, the build quality is absolute night and day. Especially the difference between the Rolex Oyster clasps. If you look at clasp in the photo above you will notice the LV claps looks janky, and has all the primitive exposed sizing holes. The Single Red in comparison has a super-clean clasp design, which is complete flush when closed. Also notice the LV has the Rolex logo on the bottom of the wrist facing stamped clasp, which rubs against your wrist, where the SEA-DWELLER is super-clean with no engravings. This translates in to far greater comfort. 

Also, the SEA-DWLLER has the Glidelock tooless adjustment system which is light years ahead of the old fashioned wrist sizing system on the LV, which required using a tool or paper-clip to adjust the singing. With the SEA-DWELLER, you just take the watch off your wrist, unlock the Glidelock by moving it away from the clasp, then slide it to the new position to make it tighter or looser, then lock it back down by snapping it back against the clasp—then put it back on your wrist. I feel like all the pet peeves I have ever had in my life with Rolex are gone and have been perfected with the new SEA-DWELLER. I know the Gridlock has been around for years in the current Submariner and in other Rolex watches, but I thought it was worth pointing out how much Rolex has evolved over the past decade. Also, if you look at the photo above you see how dark the red is on the SEA-DWELLER dial designation. The more I evaluate the color red, the more I think it needs to pop more, and be a little bit more of a Cherry Red.



I am also obsessing over comparing the time on the SINGLE-RED to the Atomic Clock App on my iPhone. So far the time is an EXACT Match. I mean it is not off by a second!!! +0/-0.

I keep thinking about how Rolex watches have evolved over time. It strikes me that Rolex has hit a new level of perfection with the Single Red, in the sense that as far as functionally and build-quality, there is no room for improvement. 

I am still getting used to seeing the helium release valve, which looks like a belly-button to me :-0





Day 4



June 13, 2017:

After really analyzing the lug structure, I realized the shape of the Tonneau case lugs is indeed, identical to the older style Submariner lugs from before the Supercase. In other words, the lugs on the Single RED SEA-DWELLER harken back to match the lugs on the LV Submariner, which represents quite a departure for Rolex, as almost every new case since the Ceramic GMT-Master has come with a squarer Supercase. Ironically, the return of the Supercase came from older Rolex models from the 1950s. So basically, Rolex keeps reusing or recycling prior design language. The obvious question is why would Rolex depart from the Supercase, with its larger broad shoulder look, and move toward the older more narrow, elongated lug structure on the Single Red SEA-DWELLER? My best guess is that it make the watch look less blocky, and more streamlined. I also imagine it is in response to the DEEP-SEA being so blocky and disproportionate. 

Another strange anomaly I noticed on the Single Red, it that its Maxi Markers seem to me the exact same size as the Maxi Markers on my original LV Submariner, which is bizarre. In other words, Rolex seems to have scaled most elements on the Single Red SEA-DWELLER up in scale to be proportionate, but the seem to have not done so on the SEA-DWELLER, which I think is a mistake. Why? Because having the larger markers gives the watch a bolder, more aquatic look, which I defiantly prefer. The slightly disproportionate markers still look a bit Maxi, in the sense the are not the small effeminate markers Rolex had on the Submarine and SEA-DWELLER back in the 1980s and 1990s, but if it were up to me, I would properly scale them up more. The comparison photo below, if you look closely confirms my design analysis of the Markers.



I'm not certain what is going on, but somehow overnight, the SEA-DWELLER sped up, and is now running 6 seconds faster than the Atomic Clock. This is still very good, and is within standard COSC specs of -4/+6 seconds per day. I did not wear the SEA-DWELLER last night, but put it on its side. I know I have a way to go, but I am curious to see how it performs over the course of a month. If you average the daily offset, the SEA-DWELLER is still within Rolex's amazing new standard of -2/+2 seconds per day.

I still keep staring at the SEA-DWELLER all day long, but I am starting to get used to it. Another takeaway point is that Rolex really needs to make the 43MM standard on all sports watches. It just gives the watch so much more wrist presence. Another detail I think I noticed is how Rolex has successfully incorporated the the Caliber 3235 movement into the SEA-DWELLER. The think that is interesting is that I know Rolex hates using movement ring extensions around the movements to make a smaller movement fit in a larger case, and with the new Single-RED SEA-DWELLER, Rolex simply made the movement cutout smaller, so it looks perfect, like it was made for the watch. I took the photo below which illustrates my point.



The top set of images shows the 43MM Single-RED Rolex SEA-DWELLER on the left, with the 40MM LV Submariner on the right. The second image below is identical, but I drew red circles around the screw-down caseback. Notice how much more meat the 43MM SEA-DWELLER case has around the screw-down caseback. Designing and engineering the watch the 43MM SEA-DWELLER this way, results in two different detail changes. First, it makes the watch case heavier, only around its outer perimeter, which contributes to it having a great balance on the wrist as the case weight is balanced on the outer edges of the case. Second, and most importantly, it allows Rolex to use a movement that was designed to be able to fit into a 41MM case, to be incorporated into the 43MM case without a case movement ring. A case  movement ring is typically used to hold a smaller ligne movement in place when put in a larger case. The result is a kind of funky look, like you put a Cadillac emblem on a Mercedes. In other words it looks ill-fit. Rolex brilliantly just decreased the case movement opening.




Day 5

June 14, 2017:


I compared the SEA-DWELLER with the Atomic Clock again, and the SEA-DWELLER did not gain or lose a second since yesterday. In other words, after 5 days of wearing the watch, it is running 6 seconds fast, which is just a little more than a second fast per day, which is excellent!!!

I spoke with the owner of RubberB today, about the Single-Red SEA-DWELLER, and he said they plan to come out with a RubberB strap for it, around January 2018. He said it takes a long time to develop and test the rubber straps before they come to market. He also mentioned that from what he has heard, the 43MM Single Red is hard to get ahold of, and there are already significant waiting lists.

The need for Maxi Markers? I keep obsessing about the size of the Maxi Markers, asking myself if my previous observation that Rolex did NOT scale-up the markers is a correct observation? The more I think about it, the more I think Rolex just used the same Maxi Markers they use on the 40MM Submariner and GMT-Master. In my personal opinion this is a mistake, as I like the bolder look of the larger circles, rectangles and upside-down pyramid on the dial. This detail may have been by design, as the Rolex designers appear to have gone back to the older style case design, with longer skinnier lugs, so it makes some sense that they went back to slightly smaller Maxi Markers, but I defiantly prefer the larger, bolder markers.

43MM? An obvious question, is when Rolex says the all-new Single Red SEA-DWELLER is 43MM, how exactly are they measuring it? When I measure with my calipers, I noticed the bezel from outer edge to outer edge measures EXACTLY 43MM.





Day 6

June 15, 2017:



I checked the time accuracy again today, and on my sixth day of wearing it, it's running 8 seconds faster, which is superb! Not only is it within the COSC Standard of -4/+6 per day, but it is within the Rolex Superlative Chronometer Certification standard of -2/+2 per day.

Whenever I wash my hands in the bathroom, I keep noticing the Single Red SEA-DWELLER on my wrist in the mirror, and often times, I'll stare at it, and for some reason, the image below keeps popping into my head. 



The photo above is of Office Of Naval Research Aquanaut, Ian Koblick, which was taken in March of 1969, and shows him in the Tektite Underwater Habitat, testing his original prototype Single Red SEA-DWELLER. In other words, I primarily wear T-shirts every day, and the when I look at the SEA-DWELLER on my wrist, it looks a lot like this.

Earlier in my notes, I kept talking about how the red SEA-DWELLER dial designation uses paint that is too dark, and even though the photo below is of a Single Red Submariner, and not a SEA-DWELLER, I think this is the correct shade of red. In all fairness to Rolex, the photo below could have the red popping more due to the excellent lighting in the photo. 



By the way, the lugs on the all-new SEA-DWELLER appear to be very similar in shape to the lugs on the vintage Single Red Submariner pictured above. In other words, they are narrower, which results in the watch looking less square and boxy, and more streamlined. I put together the photo collage below that visually illustrates and confirms this point. Notice how much more tapered and narrow the lugs are on the 43MM SEA-DWELLER compared to the 40MM Submariner. 




Day 7

June 16, 2017:


I checked the time accuracy again today, and on my seventh day of wearing it, it's running ten seconds fast.

I also keep noticing the second markers on the bezel, which the Submariner does not have. If you look at the photo above, that compares the SEA-DWELLER to the Submariner, you will notice the black bezel on the SEA-DWELLER essentially has 60 markers, v. the Submariner which just minute markers from 0 to 15 minutes. The fact the SEA-DWELLER has more markers, give it a more technical look.



Day 8

June 17, 2017:

I checked the time accuracy again today, and on my eighth day of wearing it, it's running 11 seconds fast.

I realize I am really getting used to wearing the watch, and it seems like it has become a part of me. Speaking of which, that is one of the things I like so much about the new SEA-DWELLER, is how well is fits and hugs my wrist—especially for a thicker watch.



Day 10

June 19, 2017:


I skipped over Day 9, and on Day 10 the movement is running 15 seconds fast, which is very impressive. The Rolex 3235 movement is pictured below, which  is inside the Single Red SEA-DWELLER.









Day 11

June 20, 2017:


I think Rolex should make both the minute and hour hands wider, and thus more masculine looking. Both hands look a little anemic and skinny. Also, I would really like to see the Maxi Markers properly scaled up, as they look like Mini Maxi Markers to me.

It appears, in my opinion, the Rolex design team is paranoid about scaling issues, and almost went slightly in the opposite direction. In other words, I think the consensus is that Rolex wandered astray on the scaling of Day-Date II, and Datejust II, as well as the way they scaled up the DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER. With the DEEP-SEA, they basically, took a 40MM watch and scaled up the body to 43-44MM, and made it much, much more top-heavy, or as a friend of mine said, "made it look unblanced, like Mr. Patatohead." 

Rolex seriously bulked-up the watch case on the DEEP-SEA, but didn't bother creating a scaled-up Oyster Bracelet. Instead, it appears they just put a standard 40MM Submariner/SEA-DWELLER size bracelet on the 43-44MM DEEP-SEA. With the newest Day-Date, and Datejust models, we see Rolex retreated back to the exact scale as the originals, even thought they made the new models larger in size. This makes perfect sense, as the newest models retain the classic proportions that made the models trademarks to begin with. With the 43MM Single-Red SEA-DWELLER, as I previously mentioned, they did the same thing, even retreating back to the pre Super-Case proportions with narrower lugs, which looks surprisingly good and streamlined. 

The design team seems to have decided to give the 43MM SEA-DWELLER a new size Maxi-Marker that scale wise, has never existed. In other words, they simply gave it the Maxi Markers from a 40MM watch. They probably did this as they thought it was a comfortable scale compromise between the older SEA-DWELLER Maxi Markers and the smaller ones from before the 40MM SEA-DWELLER went SuperCase, but I think this is a mistake. I think Rolex should scale up the Maxi Markers and make them proportionally larger. I also think Rolex should make the minute and hour hands bolder, wider and more masculine.

I am also really curious to see what a 46MM SEA-DWELLER would look like. I think if they made a larger SEA-DWELLER, or Submariner around 45-46-47MM, they should NOT increase the width of the bezel, but instead add 100% of the additional size to the dial area.

I also noticed one of the brilliant design characteristics of the new 43MM SEA-DWELLER is Rolex was able to hide a significant amount of the overall watch thickness by making the bezel thicker/taller. This makes the watch body look thinner, while having the additional benefit of making the bezel much easier to grab and spin. It also allows the crystal to be positioned in a very low profile manner, which looks fantastic!

Timekeeping: Still running 15 seconds fast. Last night was the first night in 5 days or so, where I did not sleep with it on my wrist, which is interesting that it did not speed up at all? This means that after 11 days, it is running closer to 1 second fast per day, than 2. To be specific it is averaging 1.36 seconds fast per day, which is very impressive!




Day 16

June 24, 2017:



The SEA-DWELLER is running 20 seconds fast, in 16 days of constant wears, which is definately excellent.

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