Proportions. Beyond the vitally important factors like quality of materials, watch movement engineering solutions, legibility, water resistance and so on, lie another, scarcely discussed or regarded aspect of watches proportions.
This month on petitegeneve.com we look at the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller – and, in a separate article, but also this month, the Submariner Date. Two iconic, all-capable Rolex Professional dive watches with different proportions but equally of great appeal. Let us dive into their lesser-known details.
Rolex launched the Sea-Dweller 51 years ago, in 1967, with a whopping 2,000 feet (610 meters) water resistance rating, exceptional legibility and a true dedication to uncompromised performance. The Sea-Dweller tirelessly maintained these values over half a century only to come back stronger and greater than ever.
2017 saw the debut of the enlarged and yet more capable Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a watch that put a highlight not only on Rolex's manufacturing capabilities, but also on the importance of, yes, proportions. At 43 millimeters wide, the Sea-Dweller grew by 3 millimeters – a seemingly negligible amount that in fact makes a great deal of difference in how a timepiece looks and wears.
We shall practice some self-reflection by admitting that Rolex has indeed taken a rather long time to create an enlarged watch that would meet the recently developed massive global demand for larger, 42-44mm, timepieces.
Sure, the Deepsea has always been around and the Sky-Dweller is also a substantially sized watch, but there was a notable absence of a more wearable-sized, yet large Rolex sports watch – the Deepsea is gargantuan both in its width and thickness.
However, and this is the notable point here: Rolex has once again taken long to deliver, but the time it took to create a larger model resulted in exceptional proportions, enhanced wrist-presence and astonishing wearing comfort.
To simply add a few millimeters here and there is no difficult feat – to add girth without adding unwelcome heft and a detrimental effect on comfort, now that is a true challenge.
When holding the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller in hand, an experience that you can have at a Petite Geneve Petrovic boutique, you will be able to personally appreciate the spot-on balance between a powerful impression and a maintained focus on performance.
A remarkable detail that few are familiar with is how the case of the Sea-Dweller has indeed grown with the 2017-model – but not with its dial or thickness. As such, the new, 43 mm wide Sea-Dweller performs an impressive tightrope walk between increasing size and remaining beautiful to the eye of the beholder. The increased width of the black Cerachrom bezel is immediately noticeable to the eye, and so is the wider bracelet end-link that appears proportionally larger in comparison to the narrow, elegantly shaped, sharp-looking lugs of the Rolex Oyster case.
Speaking of the bracelet: the Sea-Dweller's bracelet comes with an Oysterlock clasp that ensures absolute comfort and a secure fit. The clasp on this high-performance dive watch has been fitted with both a Glidelock as well as a Fliplock extension system – one to allow spot-on adjustability and the other to make it easy to fit the Sea-Dweller over a diving suit.
The relatively smaller dial, the same size as on the 40 mm Submariner, appears purposeful, like the dial on a submarine's devices, with a massive and tough surrounding. The immersion timing, uni-directional bezel with its lumed pip, the crown guards, the Triplock winding crown and the Professional handset render the Sea-Dweller a true, high-performance diver. Meanwhile, overall thickness remained exactly the same as on the old 40 mm-wide Sea-Dweller, meaning that no sacrifices are to be made in terms of wearing comfort – or having the watch slide under a cuff or a shirt's sleeve, should that be desired.
This has been achieved without sacrificing any of the Sea-Dwellers terrific performance: water resistance remains 4,000 feet or 1,220 meters – a most impressive rating the Sea-Dweller has had since 1978. This exceptional rating entails the use of the helium escape safety valve, set flush with the left hand side of the case.
Inside the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller one finds the new Rolex Calibre 3235, at the forefront of Rolex watchmaking know-how, guaranteeing exceptional precision, reliability and a 72-hour power reserve.
Like all Rolex watches today, the new Sea-Dweller is a Rolex Superlative Chronometer that is independently and individually COSC Chronometer certified and yet further tested in-house by Rolex to yet more rigorous standards.