Friday, May 10, 2019

Two-tone Sea-Dweller: Vintage Design Meets Extreme Durability

First Oystersteel and gold Sea-Dweller

Vintage Design Meets 

Extreme Durability  


Whether you are a Rolex lover or not, it is difficult to deny that the Sea-Dweller should count among the best engineered watches ever made. Let's summarize:

You have a mechanical, self-winding timepiece that touts a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day after casing. While this is now common among Rolex watches, it is still quite a feat when you recall there are 86,400 seconds in a day. And unlike your iPhone, your laptop or your car, this 24-hour engine doesn't need recharging. Finally, how many objects sold today in the world come with a warranty of half a decade?

But let's not forget the Sea-Dweller is waterproof to a mind-boggling 1,220 meters/4,000 feet while it doesn't compromise on the other advancements in watchmaking, such as a power reserve of 70 hours, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a Cyclops lens over the date. When I put on the two-tone version, I felt I was wearing a classic watch with a legendary design that resembles the Submariner. But under the hood, a marvel of engineering.

Is the waterproof rating overkill for those of us who are not professional divers? Maybe. But here is the argument for it: a watch is the only object that is on us 24 hours a day; it is the only mechanical item against our skins, and maybe we should get the absolute best. Why not, when I look down at my wrist, see an indestructible timepiece that doesn't compromise on luxury?

Maybe not indestructible, but Rolex watches have to pass more than 20 different drop tests before their launch, including a test that submits the watch to an impact to 5,000 G, hundreds of times more than a car crash test. Yet the watch has to remain unharmed and fully functional. A Sea-Dweller is also immersed in water and put to a pressure 25 percent greater than the depth-rating guaranteed.

Two years after the release of the first 43-mm Sea Dweller, Rolex completes the collection with a version in Oystersteel and yellow gold. For those who love mechanical watches because they add a retro flair to this digital world, two-tone watches resonate well and are increasingly popular among young watch buyers

While many watch manufactures are copiously including vintage design cues to their new collections, Rolex has brought us winks and nods only: the Single-Red "SEA-DWELLER" on the 50th-anniversary Sea-Dweller in 2017, a Jubilee bracelet on a Pepsi GMT-Master II last year. The black bezel on the new Daytona in 2016.

This year, when I first held the new Sea-Dweller in two-tone, I felt a vintage aura emanating from a very modern timepiece. The mix of steel and yellow gold essentially retro'd-up one of the most advanced pieces of watchmaking ever made by Rolex. It is a good combination, I feel, between the old and the new. The black dial with "SEA-DWELLER" inscribed in a yellow hue echoing the color of the 18 ct yellow gold is a nice touch, and I couldn't keep my eyes off of it.

My wrist size is average—7 inches—and I was worried about the watch's size and thickness. But the Sea-Dweller fit well. And at 15mm, its thickness is very manageable, less than an Omega Planet Ocean, a watch depth-rated to 600 meters. Tiger Woods wore a Sea-Dweller when he won the 2019 Masters Tournament last month and when he went to the White House earlier this week.

As I handled the new Sea-Dweller, I was struck how well the watch design cues mixed nobility, lustre and a vintage feel, while under the hood—or should I say, below the surface—the watch's extreme durability and performance rating are a rare feat in the world of watchmaking. And undoubtedly, the new Sea-Dweller is a great match for my uniform!