Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm Ref. 126600 – Review: All You Need to Know about this Dive Watch

By rolex
April 7, 2021
14 min read

Sure, we expected ‘something’ to happen with the Sea-Dweller this year. What Rolex really settled on be that as it may, came as a complete amazement and was even considered controversial by a few. It may not be the watch some long-time Rolex authorities were expecting, notwithstanding, the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm Ref. 126600 has still certainly been one of the principle talking bits of Baselworld 2017, not unlike the Ceramic/Steel Daytona , which made features in 2016. Not at all like the star of last year’s curiosities however, the principle oddity from Rolex for 2017 is arguably a minimal less straightforward. That’s why we’re going top to bottom (Monochrome style), giving you all potential clarifications for the course and plan of the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm Ref. 126600, a watch that possibly needs something other than a speedy look to be completely understood.

When Rolex accomplishes something, there’s consistently a valid justification behind it. If you like the brand, you can’t say they make a half showing – regardless of whether on very uncommon events, they need to address one or two details (see the 2016 Explorer I .) Whenever one change is made or one component added to a watch, the inspiration is basic: make it better or make it more rational. With the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm Ref. 126600, a few group (actually a considerable amount of people) have been astounded by a few highlights; the bigger breadth and the cyclops over the date window being the primary points of contention. Obviously, we posed the inquiry, and obviously Rolex had a reasonable clarification for “everything new” in this Sea-Dweller 126600. Here’s what we heard… in addition to obviously our interpretation of things!

50 Years of Innovation and Constant Evolution

The Sea-Dweller’s set of experiences is connected to the historical backdrop of jump watches and of scuba plunging all alone. Following WWII, plunging became an progressively famous game, or sporting action, in this way requiring the further improvement of jump watches. Before long, plunge watches opened up for both military, proficient and civilian sporting jumpers. The Submariner ref. 6200 was the world’s first commercially delivered jump watch, which was delivered in 1954, with a 100m water opposition (later 200m and 300m). In the mid 1960s, probes immersed jumping had begun and promptly the requirement for watches with more noteworthy water obstruction arose. Around then, the Submariner ref. 5513 could withstand 200 meters of profundity, yet the objective of Rolex was to significantly increase the profundity rating.

Experiments were completed by Rolex as a team with COMEX (an expert plunging company), for the formation of a component that would later become the sign of the Sea-Dweller: the helium get away from valve. It was first presented on the Submariner ref. 5514, and soon after, in 1967, Rolex presented the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665. This was really the main Sea-Dweller and turned into the unmistakable jumper watch with helium get away from valve. The early models from 1967 (creation assessed to approx. 100 pieces) were fundamentally the same as the Submariner 5514 COMEX that was retrofitted with a helium get away from valve. Attributes are a “twofold red” dial with “Submariner 2000” and a “patent forthcoming” case back (as Rolex had petitioned for patent, however had not at this point got the patent on the helium valve). Very uncommon models can be found in the “single red” adaptation. These prototypes ( with assessed creation of 4 watches ) were appraised for 500m.

Over the many years, the Sea-Dweller has developed through various models. The “Double Red” Sea-Dweller (with the previously mentioned “Submariner 2000”) was delivered from 1971 to 1977, still with a 2000ft/610m water opposition and “patent forthcoming” caseback. In 1977, the Rolex Sea-Dweller develops once more, becoming the “extraordinary white”. No red sign any longer, no notice of “Submariner 2000” any longer, with the thought being to better separate between the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller watches. In 1978, close by the ref. 1665, Rolex presented the ref. 16660 Sea-Dweller fitted with a sapphire gem, a greater helium discharge valve and an overhauled profundity rating to 4,000 feet or 1,220 meters. At long last, in 1988, Rolex dispatched the Ref. 16600, with the advanced type 3135, strong end-joins on the wristband and a gleaming dial. The ref. 16600 was suspended twenty years after the fact, in 2008, and supplanted by the Sea-Dweller Deepsea.

In 2008, Rolex halted the creation of the Sea-Dweller 4000ft to zero in on a watch with even greater water opposition and an a stronger professional direction: the Sea-Dweller Deepsea, offering 12,000 feet or 3,900 meters of water obstruction, a 44mm case and obviously the helium get away from valve. While actually further developed and more proficient, this watch couldn’t supplant the SD in the core of gatherers and so the Sea-Dweller 4000 returned into creation in 2014 as ref. 116600 . The now discontinued ref. 116600 has similar 1,220 meters water opposition, the helium valve and highlights a slimmer case, an artistic bezel and a Glidelock arm band, and obviously white content on the dark dial, no cyclops and a 40mm case.

The 43mm Diameter of the Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600

The first, and most likely fundamental, subject of conversation for the new Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 is its size, an enormous width of 43mm to be exact. This is not the first occasion when that Rolex has made an enormous watch (see the 44mm Deepsea ), yet generally, there’s a specialized purpose for an expanded case size. For quite a long time, the standard measurement of sports watches at Rolex has been 40mm, a very sensible and wearable size, reasonable for most. You can discover this size on the Submariner, on the GMT-Master II, on the Yacht-Master, and… on the past Sea-Dweller ref. 116600.

The Sea-Dweller has consistently been somewhat in the shadow of the Submariner. Maybe that’s on the grounds that the two models are outwardly as well as size-wise incredibly close. With the 2014 release, there may have been a “differentiation issue”, on the grounds that the SD4K (Sea-Dweller 4,000ft) is somewhat thicker than the Submariner, yet it has more rich drags. The only different contrasts are the absence of a cyclops, a marginally more exact scale on the bezel and the extraordinary (higher) profundity rate with helium get away from valve (1,220m vs. 300m). All things considered, in present day days, this water-opposition factor has less rhyme or reason than during the 1960s, as not many of us are truly utilizing a Rolex as an expert piece of hardware to plunge (moderate and entirely solid jumping computers are generally utilized nowadays). You may have speculated then the purpose of the 43mm distance across: differentiation! It will be the response for specific business sectors, where individuals prefer larger watches (US primarily), and it includes some accentuation the powerful apparatus watch look.

In request to make a genuine differentiation between the these dive watches that are the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller, Rolex decided to make the last bigger – it is a conscious decision, propelled and thoroughly examined (Rolex doesn’t usually do things in a rush). Like it or not, the gentle accomplishment of the past 40mm Ref. 116600 required a remedy. In this manner, the new Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 becomes bigger, in distance across as well as the entire watch has developed: bigger instance obviously, bigger arm band (22mm rather than 20mm), bigger bezel, bigger files, bigger hands, bigger clasp (adjusting one of the defects of the 116600, with a too slender clasp). Generally, Rolex needed to keep extents flawless and to adhere to the appearance of the Sea-Dweller, regardless of whether it’s larger.

Technically, the Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 shows no changes: same 1,220m/4,000ft water opposition, still the famous helium get away from valve on the left half of the case (the sign of the model), still the hour long scale on the ceramic bezel, with one-minute markers from 0 to 60 (not on the Submariner), same showcase, same Triplock crown, same noticeable caseback, same clasp with long jumping augmentation, same generally speaking quality and sensation of having an appropriate “tool” on the wrist.

Talking about “on the wrist“… how does this watch look in its normal territory? Indeed, truth be told, I have little wrists and I as a rule love more modest watches. I’m a standard wearer of 40mm Rolex watches or 41mm Tudor dive watches, and they have, as far as I might be concerned, amazing extents, offering a nice balance among energetic and a specific tastefulness that you need when wearing an extravagance watch. However, the Sea-Dweller 126600 must be respected in an unexpected way, as an appropriate device watch. So the greater case doesn’t bother me that much. Additionally, I’ve been wonderfully astonished by the manner in which it looks on the wrist (see the photograph above… It’s enormous however not excessively large).

The case has been redesigned and the carries are more limited and more bended, subsequently appropriate for more modest wrists as well. Obviously, individuals with 19cm/7.5 inches or greater wrists will be significantly more satisfied. At that point, there’s the equilibrium on the wrist. Some found the past 40mm Sea-Dweller marginally unequal on the wrist, since it was ‘only’ 40mm and rather thick; excessively thick for such a width, making this observe very wobbly when worn. The new 43mm feels more steady. Astonishing, yet it truly does. Eventually, the 43mm width will have allies and pundits, however you can’t deny the two factors: a reasonable separation from the Submariner and more comfort on the wrist.

The Single Red Dial

Things are changing at Rolex. I set out to say it, however this basic red line of text on the dial is a significant move for the brand. What might have been insignificant for most different brands, is for Rolex a serious unrest (relatively speaking of course…) Jokes aside, the brand has advanced over the past 2 – 3 years, with the expansion of an elastic wristband , a somewhat startling dial on the Air King (and indeed, it is an accomplishment in stores) and the unavowed vintage-inspired Daytona Steel/Ceramic . This “Single Red” include is in that equivalent vein, an unpretentious reference to model’s origins.

Without saying that Rolex is going to present a Heritage Collection (no spoiler alert…), it appears to be that the “Crown” needs to satisfy a few gatherers and to console them with little however famous subtleties, for example, panda dials or this red model name. This bodes well on this Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600, dispatched precisely 50 years after the presentation of the model in 1967. Rolex, without losing its imaginative soul of “always looking forward”, could depend all the more frequently on such little subtleties to make publicity around certain models. This “single red” dial should be the most appreciated element in this new version.

The Cyclops on the Date Window

Now comes the other component that made warmed conversation about the Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600: the cyclops over the date window. This was unmistakably startling and some way or another contradicted the thought of the original model, which has consistently been without the magnifying cyclops. In any case, its appearance must be clarified, and it is advocated by Rolex and its DNA.

If you investigate the Rolex assortment, you’ll notice that each and every watch in the assortment that includes a date window comes with a cyclops ( Datejust , Day-Date , Sky-Dweller , Submariner Date, Explorer II, GMT-Master II , Yacht-Master 40 ). There’s just a single exemption: the Sea-Dweller Deepsea . The date magnifier is totally part of the brand’s DNA. It has been missing on the Sea-Dweller for every one of these years, anyway not for stylish reasons, but rather for technical reasons. Regardless of whether we take a gander at the vintage adaptations with Plexiglas or more present day versions with sapphire, the 120-bar pressure that the Sea-Dweller needed to withstand was high to such an extent that the cyclops would essentially break from the crystal.

Now, you need to think with Rolex neurons… Which implies that “if in fact we can do it, there’s no motivation not to do it“. Also, as we said, the cyclops is a famous component of Rolex watches with a date. Also, since Rolex has found a arrangement (no itemized clarifications were given by the brand, other than that it had been achieved), which empowers it to have a cyclops that can oppose the pressing factor endured by the Sea-Dweller, there is no longer any explanation behind the brand not to stick it on the SD’s precious stone. It very well may be very disillusioning for certain gatherers, anyway when you take a gander at things through the eyes of the “Crown”, it essentially bodes well. (note: the Deepsea is presently the lone date-prepared model without a cyclops, for 2 reasons – the enormous pressing factor it is intended to withstand makes it difficult to have this element, in addition to the precious stone isn’t level yet domed). Presently whether or not you like/detest it is an individual one, and last customers will be the solitary genuine adjudicators of the significance of the additional cyclops.

The New Generation of Rolex Movement (Caliber 3235)

This is the feature that everybody appears to concede to: the Caliber 3235. The Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 will be the principal watch of the expert assortment to profit by the new age of developments, the 32xx presented first on the 2015 Day-Date and later utilized on the 2016 Datejust. From now on, it appears to be that each new Rolex watch (totally new ones, not simply new dials…) will profit by this redesign. What’s more, truly, however great as the more established 31xx developments seem to be, this new-gen is just better on the whole aspects.

Compared to the past arrangement of developments, the Caliber 3235 has 90% new parts: new barrel, new stuff train, new escapement, new extensions and plates, new rotor, new programmed winding framework. The parts are new as well as the vast majority of them come with current advancements, with an unmistakable proficiency goal.

The 3235 has 70 hour power save, on account of a more proficient escapement (named Chronergy, which expands the productivity of the escapement by 15%, and adds to practically 50% of the addition in force save), an improved stuff train, with high-execution ointments with a more extended helpful life and more noteworthy soundness over the long run (less contact, less wear, less energy utilization), a high-limit barrel (with a more drawn out heart without changing the size of the barrel), blue Parachrom hairspring (impervious to attractive fields), in-house superior Paraflex safeguards, enormous offset wheel with variable latency and finally new self-twisting module, for a more fast twisting of the new high-limit mainspring.

The in general completing has been improved, with slanted extensions, round brushing, gems in gold chatons and different subtleties that improve this development looking than the past 3135. Obviously, similarly as with all Rolex developments, the Caliber 3235 is a Superlative Chronometer (- 2/+2 seconds out of each day) and comes with a 5-year warranty.


The new Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600 has made a few discussions, brought up some some issues and shown a more grounded development than what we’ve found previously. Furthermore, I for one imagine that is something to be thankful for. I surmise that we (columnists, gatherers, watch sweethearts, proprietors) may have had a fairly restricted, traditionalist, assumption from the brand. This watch, close by the provocative Air-King or the much-advertised Daytona Steel/Ceramic, shows another methodology – not much, actually depending on the DNA of the brand, yet more in accordance with the assumptions for the market.

In actuality, I figure Rolex will profit by a touch of debate, rather than doing items that most will like, however hardly any will cherish or despise. We need to recollect that the acquisition of a €10k watch is for the most part determined by feeling and with the Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600, Rolex comes back to more passionate, yet more fragmented items. The SD has consistently been rather niche in the assortment and for such an item, most decisions the brand made about this 2017 edition appear quite coherent.

And to address the unavoidable inquiry: do you like it? Indeed, I would say that my first response was been on the negative side, yet at this point, following a couple of days, I need to admit that it is developing on me. I surmise that Rolex may have settled on the correct choice here, with a more device like, proficient style.

Specifications of the Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600

  • Case: 43mm measurement – 904L tempered steel, cleaned and brushed – screwed caseback, helium escape valve – sapphire gem with cyclops – 1,220m water resistance
  • Movement: Caliber 3235, in-house, standout chronometer affirmed – programmed – 4Hz recurrence – 70h force save – hours, minute, seconds, date
  • Bracelet: hardened steel, Oyster arm band – Oysterlock clasp, with Glidelock plunging extension
  • Price: EUR 10,400/CHF 10,800/USD 11,350
  • Availability: April 2017