Finally, the time has come.
Basel world 2019 is finally here. Not only is Basel world watch fair the world’s most anticipated event for horology in the world, but it is also an event where some of the top watch brands in the world release their new models. As a result, a lot of people follow Basel carefully, whether from a distance or directly, to get a first glimpse of the new watches that are released.
Probably the most hyped and anticipated brand at Basel World is Rolex.
And it is especially interesting to see what Rolex releases because Rolex is generally very good at keeping their new releases a secret until the point when they are released. Rolex may release one or two teasers before the actual launch, but these teasers normally just get a quick glimpse of the new release.
But finally, the time is here, Rolex Basel world watch release 2019. Rolex has just released a number of new watches, but the star of the show for many is the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603. And it is the star of the show for many because it was so unexpected.
In 2018, Rolex released the 126710BLRO, which was the star of the show. And in true Rolex fashion, few people expected it. And this is what contributes to the mystery about Rolex’s Basel world releases.
Just like every year, far from everyone thought that Rolex would release a two-tone Rolex Sea-Dweller in gold & steel.
”Rolex is introducing an Oyster Perpetual Sea‑Dweller in a yellow Rolesor version, combining Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold. This new watch brings 18 ct yellow gold to the Sea‑Dweller range for the first time.”
Background to the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 has caused quite some debate and mixed emotions. The main reason people dislike it is that in reality, it just doesn’t make sense to add gold to one of Rolex’s most serious dive watch. It’s a tool watch. and a tool watch should be sporty and robust. Not elegant. This is what people who dislike the idea of having gold on a serious tool watch. And that thought makes perfect sense, however, the vast majority of today’s Rolex wearers of the Professional lines look nothing like they did when they were first launched.
The fact of the matter is that only a fraction of Submariners ever come near water and even fewer people who own a Sea-Dweller go saturation diving with it.
When the ideas behind all of Rolex’s professional sports watches were developed, the preconditions were a lot different from today. Back in the days, these watches were developed as tools that were absolutely necessary for their respective fields. But today, there are far more accurate and better digital tools that the professional workers have at their disposal. As a result, watches have gotten a new meaning and purpose for most people.
What is causing all the debate is that the Sea-Dweller is Rolex’s most serious tool-watch line, and therefore, the use of precious metals on it just doesn’t make sense when considering its heritage. But Rolex has been making the Submariner in two-tone for a long time, and it has been a popular model, so so why not do the same for the Sea-Dweller?
But what is even more interesting about the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 is that it actually has an interesting background.
First off, Rolex actually celebrated its underwater time keeping achievements by making Rolesor (two-tone) dive watches as trophies.
This is a two-tone Rolex Deep Sea Special from about 1960s. The fact that Rolex did this back in the days justifies the decision of introducing a two-tone version even more.
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603
Now, the watch itself is not very different from the already existing model.
As familiar, the 126603 builds on the existing classic Sea-Dweller reference 126600 that Rolex released in 2017, and adds a few golden touches.
The Sea-Dweller can be viewed as a Submariner on steroids. The watch is quite a hefty piece at 43mm in diameter, and now with the gold elements added, it will be a watch that has some weight to it and that has a real presence on the wrist.
The two-tone Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 features a polished ceramic bezel, but instead of having white markers, it now has gold-filled bezel markers to go with the gold theme. The bezel (except for the ceramic inlay) is made in yellow gold, as well as the crown and the middle-links of the bracelet.
Another visual difference from the previous Sea-Dweller is that it has the ”Sea-Dweller” text printed in gold rather than red, to go with the theme of the watch. Lastly, the hands and lume surrounds (indices) on the dial are also yellow gold.
The two-tone Sea-Dweller 126603 offers a serious water-resistance. The Oyster case of the Sea-Dweller is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 1,220 meters (4,000 feet). The crown is fitted with Rolex’s Triplock triple waterproofness system and screws down securely against the case.
The watch is equipped with a helium escape valve, patented by Rolex in 1967, which acts as a safety valve. The helium escape valve allows excess pressure built up in the watch case during a dive to escape during a diver’s decompression phase in a hyperbaric chamber, While doing this, it also preserves the waterproofness of the watch. Quite a clever technical thing!
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 is powered by Rolex’s latest generation movement, the caliber 3235, which is the successor of the 3135 caliber.
This is a robust, reliable workhorse movement that continues to tick year after year. It displays hours, minutes, seconds, and date.
- Diameter: 28.5mm
- Power Reserve: 70 hours
- Winding: Automatic
- Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
- Jewels: 31
- COSC Chronometer Certified
- Additional Details: Regulated to +2/-2 seconds per day, utilizes Chronergy escapement
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603 Specifications
- Brand: Rolex
- Model: Sea-Dweller
- Reference Number: 126603
- Diameter: 43mm
- Thickness: 15mm
- Case Material: Stainless steel and yellow gold (Rolesor). Gold bezel, gold-filled bezel markers, gold hands, gold indices, gold middle-links, gold crown.
- Dial Color: Black
- Indexes: Luminous dots with yellow gold surrounds
- Lume: Chromalight on hour markers and hands
- Water Resistance: 1,220 meters
- Bracelet: Oyster bracelet in stainless steel and yellow gold. The bracelet is equipped with Rolex’s Oysterlock safety clasp, Glidelock extension system, and Fliplock extension link. The bracelet tapers to offer greater comfort.
Millenary Watches is not affiliated with Rolex SA or any of its subsidiaries. Photos are © Rolex.