First released in August of 2014 and updated this year, the new Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial ref. 126660 just got better if that's even possible at all. A tank of a watch with a 44 mm case and with an ultra thick case construction —17.7 mm thick—, this is the epitome of an ultra-resistant diver's watch engineered by Rolex to conquest the deep. Waterproof to a depth of 12,800 feet —3,900 meters—, the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial ref. 126660 was initially released under reference 116660 to celebrate James Cameron’s historic solo dive documented on National Geographic’s 'DeepSea Challenge 3D' film.
Things to Know About the Watch
Fitted with the most unique dial ever released by Rolex, the dial is a perfect gradient blue that goes all the way from brilliant blue to bottomless black. This two-color gradient dial celebrates one man’s journey to the deepest place on earth at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The dial with an semi-glossy finish captures light like no other Rolex dial out there. For this particular new updated version of the Deepsea D-Blue Dial ref. 126660, Rolex has added a small coronet at six o'clock in order to mark that this watch is powered by the new Rolex calibre 3235 instead of the 3135 powering the previous reference.
Additionally, while we didn't put the previous reference side-by-side with the new one, we can tell that the hue of blue on this new reference seems slightly darker. Also the original apple green color on the 'Deepsea' writing now seems more of a Rolex green. Below you will see the new Deepsea D-Blue reference 126660 and on the next picture the Deepsea D-Blue Dial reference 116660.
The Bezel & Case
Fitted with a unidirectional 60-minute graduated scratch-resistant 'cerachrom' bezel with numerals and graduations coated in platinum, the bezel turns smoothly and accurately to keep those elapsed diving times in check.
The Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-Blue dial ref. 116660 comes with a monobloc 44 mm stainless steel middle case with screw-down grade 5 titanium case back and Rolex Ringlock System case architecture with Helium escape valve.
Just in case some of you are not familiar or don't remember how Rolex's Ringlock system works, let us refresh your memory. This innovative case architecture patented by Rolex, enables the watch to resist the massive pressure exerted by water at the depth of 3,900 meters —12,800 feet—, equivalent to a weight of approximately 3 tons on the watch. Its construction is based on three elements: a nitrogen-alloyed steel central ring that forms the backbone of the system, accompanied by a 5.5 mm‑thick domed sapphire crystal and a case back in grade 5 titanium.
The Helium Escape Valve
The Helium Escape Valve is a safety valve patented by Rolex in 1967 acts as a miniature decompression chamber for the watch and essential for deep saturation diving. Professional divers heading for the surface after a deep saturation dive must spend time in a decompression chamber, where they breathe a gas mixture containing helium. The tiny molecules of helium, an extremely light and non-volatile gas, infiltrate everywhere in the chamber, also penetrating the watch. During decompression, the helium is unable to escape from the waterproof case quickly enough, creating a pressure differential that could force the crystal out of the watch case. Therefore, Rolex engineers created a gas escape valve fitted with a spring that opens when the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the watch reaches 3 to 5 bars, allowing the helium to escape, without compromising the waterproofness of the watch.
The New Bracelet
The new Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial ref. 126660 is still fitted with the iconic Oyster bracelet but this time with a much wider less tapering bracelet, especially at the lugs. Since the previous reference was equipped with a bracelet that was too narrow at the lugs, due to the massive case construction the watch felt unbalanced when sitting on the wrist. This time, thanks to a much wider fit at the lugs, the watch not only feels more comfortable but also looks well proportioned.
Just like on the preceding reference, this very solid stainless steel bracelet is also equipped with an Oysterlock clasp to prevent accidental opening as well as the ingenious Glidelock system that allows fine adjustments of the bracelet without the need for any tools. Additionally, the bracelet features a fully revamped diver's extension —fliplock extension link— to allow for the watch to fit over a wet suit when diving.
The Glidelock system is composed of a robust toothed panel under the clasp cover that provides an extension of up to 20 mm in 2 mm increments. Definitely a clever idea that most watch manufactures should try to replicate.
Powering the new Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial ref. 126660 is the new Rolex in-house automatic calibre 3235. This mechanical movement fully developed and manufactured by Rolex is a new-generation movement with 14 patents that offers fundamental gains in terms of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability. It incorporates the new Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability and the existing Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. Made of nickel-phosphorus, the escapement is also anti-magnetic and the movement provides a power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch still wears slightly bigger than its actual size and more like a 45 mm watch. Perhaps the most noticeable difference in terms of wearability is how well and balanced the watch feels on the wrist. A great looking watch that just got even better with its updated bracelet and new movement. Below you will find our usual wrist shots with side-by-side pictures that compare the new reference on the wrist versus the old reference.
Sticker Price $12,550 USD. For more info on Rolex click here.