Rolex unveils Deep Sea Challenge rated to 11,000 meters
The first Rolex RLX Titanium.
In a surprising off-season debut, Rolex unveiled the record-setting Deep Sea Challenge. Evolved from the experimental diving show of the same name launched in 2012, the Deepsea Challenge was Rolex’s first mass-produced titanium watch. Its 11,000-meter (or 36,090-foot) rating means it earns the title of the deepest diving watch ever made.
The Deepsea Challenge is billed as “the ultimate deep-sea watch”, but “designed with everyday use in mind”. In other words, it’s massive, 50mm in diameter and over 20mm thick, yet incredibly lightweight thanks to the titanium case and bracelet.
It’s easy to imagine fake Rolex launching other titanium watches, but I don’t expect that to happen as the use of the alloy in the Deepsea Challenge is primarily for lightness, which is less important for traditionally sized Rolex watches.
As with other Rolex sports watches, the technology behind the watch is impressive – in fact, the technology inside the watch makes it one of the most interesting Rolex sports watches – but it also includes details that enthusiasts will love, such as Reminiscent of vintage Rolex cases with chamfered lugs.
In short, it’s over the top but very cool. It’s a bit pricey, 70 percent more than the standard Deepsea, but arguably worth it since it’s essentially an experimental watch distilled into something wearable.
The original Deepsea Challenge was a concept watch assembled in a matter of weeks to accompany filmmaker James Cameron as he explored the deepest point on Earth, the bottom of the Mariana Trench at 10,912 meters (35,800 feet).
The experimental best quality watch replica strapped to the outside of Mr Cameron’s submersible was tested to 15,000 meters and survived the journey naturally in perfect working condition. But it’s huge, over 51mm in diameter and nearly 30mm thick.
The production version of the Deepsea Challenge retains the same water resistance — it’s rated to 11,000 meters, but tested to 13,750 meters — but has a more compact case. Both the case and bracelet are made from RLX Titanium, a grade 5 titanium alloy that is 30% lighter than the experimental watch.
Most of the case has a matte brushed finish, with polished bevels on the top edge, a detail reminiscent of vintage Rolex sports watches. According to Rolex, this is done to “emphasize the curved profile of the lugs”. While it used to be standard on all Rolex sports watches, the case chamfer is now exclusive to the Deepsea Challenge.
Literally, the secret to the incredible pressure resistance lies in the titanium case. The patented Ringlock system inside the titanium case consists of a hardened steel compression ring surrounding the movement. A flexible titanium caseback screws into the bottom of the ring, while the top of the ring is attached to the sapphire crystal.
The case back and crystal bend slightly inwards under pressure, increasing the force on the gasket between them and enhancing the seal of the case. The steel ring protects the movement and dial.
To ensure that the Deep Sea Challenge lives up to (or falls short of) its ambitions, Rolex drew on the expertise of saturation diving specialists Comex (short for Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises) to develop a stress test chamber.
This tank subjects the watch to a pressure equivalent to 13,750 meters (45,112 feet), or 25% above the rated depth of 11,000 meters, to provide a margin of safety.
Design-wise, the Deepsea Challenge sticks to typical Rolex dive watch design codes, although the omission of the date is notable. The experimental model has a date, but the Deepsea Challenge does not, so the dial is clean and symmetrical. buy watch replica
Also unusual is the matte “deep black” dial, which contrasts with the glossy finish found on most Rolex sports watches.
As expected from a top-of-the-line Rolex diver’s watch, the Deepsea Challenge also comes with all of the brand’s bracelet innovations.
The bracelet is also made of RLX titanium and features a clasp with Gridlock ratchet extension and Fliplock extension.
Movement is calibration. 3230, the latest generation movement, has most of the latest Rolex movement technology, including the efficient Chronergy train and the skeletonized escapement parts made by photolithography.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deep Sea Challenge
Material: RLX Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire, 9.5mm thick
Water resistance: 11,000 meters
Movement: Cal. 3230
Functions: hours, minutes and seconds up
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours
Strap: RLX Titanium Bracelet with Glidelock Extender and Fliplock Extender