Rolex released a new red Sea-Dweller (ref: 126600) at Baselworld 2017. Overall, nothing too exciting here, and mostly expected. Not!

The updated diver comes in a big 43mm 904L steel case. Equipped with a helium release valve on the side of the case, just like its predecessors. This helps it keep the beasty 4,000ft/1,220m water resistance.

The helium escape valve was actually patented by Rolex in 1967 – the same year the original Sea-Dweller was launched, making this a very special 50th Anniversary piece.

During the 1960s, the needs of professional divers working at great depths led to the development of the first ‘ultra water resistant’ tool watches designed for conducting safe diving operations at 300 m+ (1,000 ft+) depths.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000 (2000 ft = 610 m) that became available in 1967 was developed from the Submariner for the Comex S.A. industrial deep-sea diving company by increasing crystal thickness and was produced in several variations. It had a depth rating of 610 metres (2,000 ft) and its Rolex reference number is 1665. –Wikipedia

Any long-time Sea-Dweller fans are going to instantly notice the addition of a Cyclops magnification lens on the sapphire crystal. Love it or hate it, this permanent water drop is a widely recognizable design element of many Rolex models from Submariner divers to dressy Datejust watches.

Below the scratch-resistant glass of the modern Sea-Dweller is a glistening black dial with 18k white gold hands and markers, all lumed up with blue Chromalight. The newest edition to the model is the red Sea-Dweller font, a throwback to the vintage grail pieces.

It has a chunky ceramic bezel that clicks 120 times around. Constructed out of Rolex’s own Cerachrom material, what they consider to be “virtually scratch-proof,” the numerals are filled in with platinum PVD.

As with the Sea-Dweller 4000 and Deepsea, the caseback on the new Sea-Dweller has engravings around it. So noobs can stop spreading myths that authentic Rolex watches never have engravings on their casebacks.

The redesigned 2017 model is powered by a new caliber 3235 featuring a Chronergy Escapement – yes, we said Chronergy. Also, a Paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring and high-capacity barrel giving it a whopping 70 hours power reserve. Now you have an extra day to wear another watch without having to set the time again.

The 43mm size and Cyclops over the date on the new Sea-Dweller might surprise some of our readers. Many of our clients choose the Sea-Dweller because of the lack of a magnification lens popping out of the crystal. Will this be a good reason for you to pass on the the new SD? Let us know your thoughts below…

In summary, the new features are:

  • Sea-Dweller text in red
  • 43mm case diameter
  • Cyclops lens over the date
  • Caliber 3235 movement

What is the retail price?

$11,350 USD

What are the differences between the new Sea-Dweller and old Sea-Dweller 4000?

Click here for a side-by-side chart

Rolex 126600 Red Sea-Dweller Baselworld 2017

Video:

Find the rest of the Rolex Baselworld 2017 launches here.

Read the full brochure at Rolex.com

17 Responses

  1. Bud

    Ugh, lose the ugly cyclops and I’m a buyer. That’s what I like about the original Sea Dweller watches.

    Reply
  2. Calum Storrar

    another “underwhelming” Basel World from Rolex! No wonder sales are down. Great for the other manufacturers though!! Sea Dweller Anniversary Model with cyclops is just plain ridiculous…..What’s next, Porsche celebrating the 911 with a front wheel drive version?!!!

    Reply
  3. Carter

    another “underwhelming” Basel World from Rolex! No wonder sales are down. Great for the other manufacturers though!! Sea Dweller Anniversary Model with cyclops is just plain ridiculous…..What’s next, Porsche celebrating the 911 with a front wheel drive version?!!!

    Reply
  4. Bud

    Would I buy this abomination? NO.
    Does this make me reconsider the previous one? YES.

    Reply
  5. Matt Sutton

    The cyclopse just goes against the grain of dedicated SD fans. Who even needs a date window at 4000ft? The 43mm makes it perhaps unwearable for actual diving and swimming, IMHO. I’m very happy Rolex stayed with the 60 click bezel. The new 3235 movement appears to be an extraordinary movement that may justify the $12K. A potential owner should consider the cost of sending this watch into an exclusive specialist at Rolex. All the big brands these days will not authorize your favorite watchmaker to repair your watch because repair parts are not distributed. This means that when you send your watch in for aftermarket repair or service, you’re going to likely get an overhaul–like it or not.

    Reply
  6. Yayo potillo

    Great bezel on a fat steel case, nice. Prefer the bulge, unmistakably Rolex. You like the old one get the old one, they’re cheap and made many.

    Reply
  7. Sean Michael

    To the contrary of all the comments above. I love the new Sea Dweller. I have 2 Omega Seamasters and 2 Panerais. I’ve always felt the Rolex was too small and underwhelming and have never felt excited to buy until now. Finally a perfect 43mm size! A thick watch bracelet. And yes, a date window I can actually read. I have paid for mine in full and am just waiting for delivery! Way to go Rolex! A perfect blend of modern and vintage! IMHO

    Reply
  8. Alex Hoks

    New sea dweller is gorgeous, the best modern Rolex diver by far, 43mm is a great size, the proportions are spot on, solid bracelet well match to the watch dimension this time…the enlarge ceramic bezel a real beauty and looks very contemporain IMO, the cyclops is cool, for those who dont like it, there is still the option to buy the “old model” which is a great watch too, and cheaper as well,. So for the nostalgics, no panic…, just go for the now very collectable 116600, it’s a great watch.. But for me, I move forward, with the 126600, with new improved movement, the red is just the cherry on the top of the pie…

    Reply
  9. Alex Hoks

    Ops… And great article, but the bezel is 120 clicks.. not 60.. Just for the records. ( Had 2 dives with it just now…)

    Reply
    • KeepTheTime

      Thanks for the comment, Alex. Really don’t know how we got that wrong on this article and the old/new comparison post, but it has been updated. After looking into why the info was wrong in our review, it’s interesting to note that Rolex does not make an effort to disclose how many clicks the bezel has in the official documentation. It simply says: “Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum.” Which is probably how the misinformed “60” ended up being typed above. Thanks again for catching that!

      Reply

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