Rolex introduces its first titanium watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge. To distinguish this watch from the regular Deepsea, which remains in the collection, we will deviate from tradition and simply refer to it as the Deepsea Challenge; the case reference number is 126067; these will no doubt be important numerals for collectors, and that places this watch high on the newsworthiness list.
For the time being, we’ll stick to the numbers since this is a Rolex diving watch, and they don’t get much more desired than that. First and foremost, for those who enjoy wearing their watches, the new Deepsea is 50mm in diameter, so you better have wrists like LeBron James. It is made of Grade 5 titanium dubbed RLX, thus it will be lighter – it is 30% lighter than the steel version released in 2012. Given how massive that beast was, this will feel fairly firm.
The girth of the Deepsea will be entirely natural when wearing a wetsuit. On that basis, the Deepsea is a professional diving instrument that can be used for all types of deep sea activities, from freedives to submersible dives and hyperbaric chambers. It contains everything you’d expect from a watch like this, including the classic helium escape valve and the unique Ringlock mechanism, which aficionados of the leviathan will recognize. It is water-resistant to 11,000 meters, therefore it will be unaffected by Davy Jones’ locker’s greatest depths. Those who remember the Ringlock before may recall that it provided protection up to 3,900 metres of water resistance in 2008, so it has come a long way…or breached a previously unbreakable limit.
Seriously, the watch exudes a deeper-than-thou feel across its more than 20mm thick case. It may be both the most water-resistant and the hardest watch in the world, according to those who associate water-resistance with build quality. Rolex may put its exceptional water resistance to the test using a special high pressure tank created in collaboration with Comex. This one can go deeper than 13,700 meters, implying that the Deepsea Challenge can definitely handle 20% greater water resistance than it says. What else would you expect from Rolex and the Deepsea Challenge?
Before we get into the crucial elements like fine adjustment on the RLX titanium bracelet, case finish, and lug chamfer, we’d like to state for the record that we believe Rolex will ultimately incorporate titanium everywhere in its collections. We’ve mentioned it before, but machining titanium is not the same as matching steel. As a result, production of titanium watch cases and bands is on a distinct track. Even the finish will be unique. Because of economies of scale, Rolex must create more of this material. Of course, this is all theoretical, but it’s the only type of harmless conjecture.
Then there are the details, the most notable of which is the matte burnish of the case, bracelet, and clasp. With one exception, the Deepsea Challenge appears to have the type of subdued finish that titanium items normally flaunt, based on what we can see (and we have only seen images). The polished edges of the lugs have been reported on by Monochrome and WatchesbySJX. These are most likely assessments based on the photographs and what Rolex has mentioned; you may make your own conclusions.
The Cerachrom bezel is carved with a 60-minute scale and then filled with platinum. Because of Chromalight, another Rolex hallmark, low-light readability will be superb, and some collectors will be pleased to learn that there is no date display here. The movement is the automatic calibre 3230 that powers the current Submariner, with all of its characteristics. The new Deepsea Challenge isn’t a major display of movement advancement in and of itself, but the entire Deepsea range has been upgraded, and we may have more to say about it later this year, most likely in WOW. Finally, the Deepsea Challenge is priced at $26,000 USD and is available now, with the proviso that retail reality may change.