Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Return of The Single RED SEA-DWELLER: Part 1 0f 6

The Complete History Of
The Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER
Rolex's Conquest Of The Ocean
Part 1 of 6 

As mentioned above, I am still working on this story, and still have much more to add and update, which is surprising because I believe it is already the single largest Rolex history story I have ever written. I say this because it already contains more than 250 photos and videos!!! So why am I going crazy writing and updating this story? Because I think it's one of the greatest Rolex stories in history, as the Submariner is one of the most iconic watches in history. Also, I believe the 50th Anniversary SEA-DWELLER—to a large extent—is the culmination of what the 50th Anniversary Submariner should have been!!! I want to stay focused on this story, but don't worry, when it is done I will offer my perspective on all the Rolex and Tudor watches launched at BaselWorld 2017 :-)

  Basel World 2017 - All New Model  

The Return Of The 


50th Anniversary Model

43MM: Reference 126600: Caliber 3235

What!?!! OMG!!!! I can't believe what I am seeing!?!! I was hoping for the 50th Anniversary of the SEA-DWELLER, Rolex would do something special, but this is over-the-top cool!!! Finally!?!! The long-ovedue return of The Single RED SEA-DWELLER!!!! and 43MM, with a relatively flat back, superb proportions, wider hands, and skinny case!!!!! with the new caliber 3235 movement!!!!! All my prayers have finally been answered!!!! A very exciting new chapter in the history of the Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER is upon us...

"We must not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." —T.S. Elliot

A Touch Of Red

So what is the big deal with this watch? Why am I so excited about it? For many reasons! First, is the fact the dial now has a touch of red, which breaks up the monotony of the black, white and silver color combination. Red is such a great color, and I would argue many things in life can benefit from a touch of red. On the color spectrum red, is located exactly in the middle between black and white. Also, the first SEA-DWELLER prototypes models, known as Single Red SEA-DWELLER watches had a red SEA-DWELLER dial designation. Notice in the image below how the perfectly scaled-up Single RED SEA-DWELLER has a completely different vibe than the standard boring SEA-DWELLER!?!! The red SEA-DWELLER designation really pops, and the larger size gives the watch more presence and a more masculine charismatic vibe.

The very first Rolex SEA-DWELLER models, which are extremely rare are referred to as a 'Single Red SEA-DWELLER' and have a Rolex Reference Number of 1665. These watches are typically worth upwards of a half a million dollars.

"History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." 

—Mark Twain

The photo below shows a very early Single RED Rolex SEA-DWELLER prototype, which is so much cooler and cleaner-looking than the Double Red SEA-DWELLER models. So the brand new for 2017 Rolex SEA-DWELLER looks very reminiscent of the original Single RED SEA-DWELLER prototype, as pictured below.

Perfect Design Balance

I put together the illustration below to make a few design language points. The Single Red SEA-DWELLER prototype pictured above came out at the same time as the Rolex 40MM Submariner Reference 1680, which was the first Rolex Submariner to have a DATE complication added. In other words, all Rolex Submariner models, prior to 1967 had NO DATE. Rolex also made the SUBMARINER designation in red on this model, which gave it that magnificent touch of red look, I spoke about earlier. The first watch below on the left is a Reference 1680 Single Red Submariner Date model, which is one of my favorite vintage Rolex sport models.

The watch on the far right is a standard 40MM Double Red SEA-DWELLER Reference 1665, from 1967. In the middle of the illustration above we see the the new for 2017 43MM Rolex SEA-DWELLER. The reason I put this scaled photo comparison together is to point out the fact the new 2017 SEA-DWELLER looks much, much more like the 1967 [Reference 1680] Single Red Submariner Date model than the 1967 [Reference 1665] Double RED SEA-DWELLER, which is one of the reasons I probably love it so much. In other words, I was never a big fan of the Double Red SEA-DWELLER as the two red lines of text contained too much red, and kind of canceled each other out elementally—not to mention having a total of five lines of text is way too busy, and the fact the second red line says Submariner 2000 is goofy and unnecessarily complex.

An obvious question is: "Why did Rolex make the very first Rolex SEA-DWELLER with a Single RED SEA-DWELLER designation, then switch to making all future SEA-DWELLER models with either a Double RED, or All WHITE dial designation?" In other words, why didn't Rolex keep making a Single RED SEA-DWELLER just like the first prototypes? This is speculation, but it may have been to offer a visual point of differentiation between the Reference 1680 Submariner and Reference 1665 SEA-DWELLER so people could easily tell the difference from any kind of distance. 

Also, notice the new 2017 SEA-DWELLER looks much, much more like the 1680 Single RED Submariner since it has a cyclops DATE magnifier, and the SEA-DWELLER up until the introduction of the 2017 NEVER had Rolex Cyclops Date Magnifier Window. In the final analysis, the design language of the 2017 SEA-DWELLER looks much more like the Single Red Submariner than the Double Red SEA-DWELLER, which in my opinion is a very, very good thing.

Single Red Submariner

The Single Red Submariner [Reference 1680] was made from 1967 to 1976, and it replaced the Rolex Submariner Reference 5513. Ironically, Rolex also offered the Reference 1680 in both Single Red, and all white options, and today the Single Red models are more sought after by collectors for obvious reasons. The Rolex Submariner Ad below is for a Single Red Submariner, and this is one of my favorite vintage Rolex Submariner ads.

Robert Redford

Just for point of reference, I am including a photo of Robert Redford rockin' his Single Red Submariner [Reference 1680] which he wore in the 1972 movie, named "The Candidate." 

The vintage Single RED Submariner has been one of my absolute favorite Rolex watches, and I could never understand why Rolex discontinued making them in 1976. I am including the photo below of a Single Red Submariner that is crystal clear and show just how amazing looking this watch is... Some readers might be wondering why I am writing and showing Single RED Submariner models, when I am covering the Single RED SEA-DWELLER. It's because, at least to my way of thinking, the SEA-DWELLER is a Submariner, by a different name.

Perfect Proportions

Also when Rolex introduced the Rolex DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER (DSSD) in 2008, I did not like it, since I thought it was WAY too thick. It looked too affected and you could not wear it very well with a cuffed dress shirt. Rolex seemed to agree and later introduced an all-new 40MM SEA-DWELLER, but it was too small in diameter and lacked the super-cool, retro Single RED SEA-DWELLER dial designation. The new 2017 SEA-DWELLER is 43MM in diameter, which is the perfect size and has perfect proportions as seen in the side profile view below. The watch is 15MM thick, and I wish it had less of a bubble back, like a Submariner, but its not that bad. Also, the side profile of the case is awesome!!!

I think Rolex should also make a 43 or 44MM Submariner model, as human beings have grown considerably in height and width since 1953. In other words, I am much bigger than my father and both grandfathers were in the mid-1950s. Also, the new model offers the Rolex Glidelock clasp system that allows the wearer to easily adjust the clasp without having to use any tools. 

There are also other proportional improvements Rolex made with the 50th Anniversary SEA-DWELLER when compared to the Rolex DEEP-SEA SEA-DWELLER (typically referred to as the DSSD) which is pictured in the infographic below on the far right. The scaling on the DSSD was weird and in my opinion, disproportionate. Obviously with a case thickness of almost 18MM is was way too thick. Also, the DSSD has an addition of a ring lock that runs around the outside of the dial like a life saver and makes the dial look disproportionately small when compared to the rest of the watch. In addition, Rolex put an Oyster Bracelet on the case that was the same width at the solid end links as the 40MM SEA-DWELLER, which made no sense at all. In other words, it looked like Schwarzenegger back in the day, with skinny little women's legs, or like my pal, Amit said: "The DSSD looks like Mr. Potato Head" :-) 

On the all-new 50th Anniversary Single Red SEA-DWELLER, Rolex proportionately scaled-up the width of the bracelet at the solid end links to make it wider and tapered it less, thus giving the watch a much more streamlined, masculine look. Rolex also widened the hour and minute hand, to give it fatter hands, which makes it look bolder and more macho.

It is also worth noting the all-new 43MM SEA-DWELLER now has ultra-precise newer 3235 Caliber Movement that Rolex recently introduced. The 3235 is so precise, it supposedly keeps time as accurately as a very precise quartz movement. Also, this new model comes standard with Rolex's 5-year warranty!!!

A More Masculine Face

When you first compare the standard 40MM SEA-DWELLER seen below on the right, with the new Single Red 43MM model, it seems the only difference is the red color on the SEA-DWELLER dial designation, but that is not the case (pun not intended ;-). Since the 43MM model is scaled up, it gives it a more macho/masculine vibe, but also notice the minute had is WAY fatter/wider, and shorter on the new 43mm model. Particularly, the Hour hand is much wider as seen below, and the Mercedes Logo on the minute hand is also significantly larger in juxtaposition to the Maxi Markers. This gives the watch a bolder, more aquatic look, which is fantastic!!! 

Also, the new minute hand rectangular loom plot is shorter and now way more geometric, as it is no longer a perfect rectangle, but has rounded sides that follow the geometry of the Mercedes logo circle and the base of the hour hand. Speaking of the base of the hour hand, this has significantly increased as well in diameter to accommodate the much wider minute hand. Also, the Rolex design team decreased the length of the point on the outside edge of the Mercedes logo on the minute hand, while making it wider at its base. This subtle design characteristic change, again, gives it a more refined and polished look. 

Another subtle difference is the typeface for the Red SEA-DWELLER designation has changed. The new red version is finer, and the letters are slightly smaller, with greater letter space kerning. In other words, if you look closely, at the distance between the S and E, in the word SEA, you will notice there is more space between the S and E on the Single Red than on the standard 40mm SEA-DWELLER. This detail gives it a more refined, precise look. Also, on the Single Red model, the |SWISS|MADE| dial designation located at the bottom of the dial now uses the same typeface the SEA-DWELLER designation uses, whereas on the standard 40MM SEA-DWELLER uses a different font.

I have some good news and bad news about this watch. The GREAT NEWS is that this watch is magnificent and shows Rolex moving full-speed ahead in design. The bad news is I'm afraid there are going to be very long iPhone-like lines for this the TESLA Model 3, or even worse, the 2005 Rolex Daytona 4 to 5-year wait lists...This Rolex is going to be all the rage, and then some!!!

A New Movement 

One of the most exciting new features incorporated into the all-new Rolex SEA-DWELLER is the addition of the new 3235 Rolex Caliber Movement. The 3235 is a revolutionary movement that keeps amazingly accurate time. So accurate in fact, it keeps time as well as a Quartz movement, yet it is fully mechanical and automatic. This movement comes standard with an International 5-year warranty from Rolex and adheres to the new Rolex standard of -2/+2. The SEA-DWELLER is the first Professional Rolex model to get this upgrade, and if I am reading the writing on the wall, this could likely mean Rolex will be coming out hopefully in the future with other 43MM Professional models. The Caliber 3235 debuted in the all-new 2015 Rolex Day-Date model and made its way into the all-new 2016 Rolex Datejust.

The power reserve on this new self-winding movement is also increased to 70 hours, from the standard 40 hours the current Caliber 3135 40MM SEA-DWELLER and Submariner models have. This represents a 50% longer increase in power reserve!!! Also, this movement is not only built to last but also made to perform more efficiently and reliably with more convenience and less wear. So much so, Rolex increased their recommended service interval from 7 years to every 10 years with this new movement.

The Complete History Of
The Rolex Submariner & SEA-DWELLER

Rolex's Conquest Of The Ocean

Table Of Contents