Rolex unveils production version of its experimental Deepsea Challenge watch


Omega and Rolex have wrestled over the world record for a watch surviving to the deepest depths of the ocean for decades.

The record is controversial, and disputed by some obsessives as well, but the consensus is that Omega is the current title-holder with the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional, which kept ticking at 10,928 metres down into the Mariana Trench.

That beat the Rolex Deep Sea Challenge, a watch that accompanied film director James Cameron to the bottom of the same Western-Pacific trench in 2012, by 10 meters.


More recently, Omega and Rolex have been competing to make core collection versions of their ultra deep divers.

Again, Omega has been in the lead with its Seamaster Planet Ultra Deep, which was launched earlier this year in six styles at a wearable 45.5mm size.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ultra Deep.

All of the Omega dive watches, priced at $11,200 to $12,300, were water resistant to 6,000 meters.

Rolex is hitting back today with a production version of its experimental Deepsea Challenge watch that will survive to 11,000 metres below the sea.

Chunkier than the Seamaster, the Rolex comes in a 50mm case, but it is 30% lighter than the experimental piece thanks to the use of a titanium alloy that Rolex calls RLX titanium.

It is also a little slimmer to wear thanks, in part to a thinner crystal over the dial.

Rolex has thrown all of its dive watch technology at the watch including the impenetrable Ringlock system case, helium escape valve, Triplock crown and Chromalight display.

The Oyster Perpetual
Deepsea Challenge

Rolex says it will survive, and has been tested to survive, to a depth of 15,000 meters, but the dial rather modestly only claims 11,000 meter water resistance.

It uses the 3230 automatic movement, which is shock resistant and insensitive to magnetic fields, and has a power reserve of 70 hours.

The Deepsea Challenge is engraved with the words Mariana Trench as well as the dates 23-01-1960 and 26-03-2012 on the case back, in tribute to two historic dives into the Mariana Trench: that of oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh aboard the Trieste, in 1960, and James Cameron’s solo descent in the Deepsea Challenger submarine in 2012.

It goes on sale this month for $26,000.

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