The New Rolex Deepsea Challenge Is 50mm Of Overengineered Titanium
— Updated on 30 January 2023

The New Rolex Deepsea Challenge Is 50mm Of Overengineered Titanium

— Updated on 30 January 2023
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

Rolex isn’t a watchmaker that likes to do things by halves. After losing the title of the world’s deepest diving watch to Omega by 12 metres back in 2019 (a record Rolex held for nearly six decades), Rolex has returned to claim its crown for deep diving production watches back with the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge ref 126067, which is water resistant to a remarkable 11,000 metres. There’s just one catch… and it’s a big one.

For a quick history lesson on the watchmaking race to the bottom of the ocean, it was in 1960 that Captain Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard took a customised Rolex 10,916 metres to the bottom of the ocean. This was only eclipsed by Victor Vescovo in 2019 when he took a unique Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional 10,928 metres below the surface, beating Rolex by just 12 metres.

Neither of the custom-built watches that Rolex and Omega used for these record-breaking efforts ever reached serial production, but did birth the slightly more commercially viable Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea (3,900-metre depth rating) and Omega Ultra Deep (6,000-metre depth rating) collections that are currently available. Not content with Omega’s offering reaching 2,100 metres deeper than its own collection, Rolex has today announced the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge that can handle 65 metres of additional depth than the deepest known point in the ocean of 10,935 metres.

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What’s the point of a watch that can handle water pressures that don’t naturally occur on this planet? Well, aside from the obvious goal of beating Omega, you’d have to simply respond, “because they can.”

With such a level of overengineering comes a few downsides to the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge, which are almost all to do with its size. Unless you’re on the same program as Chris Hemsworth was before Extraction, chances are the gargantuan dimensions of 50mm in diameter and 23mm thick (61mm lug-to-lug) will make your wrist look like that of a grade schooler.

Both the case and bracelet are executed in Rolex’s new RLX Titanium alloy, which is Grade 5 titanium that weighs around 30% less than 904L stainless steel. This goes a long way to offset what would have been a timepiece you could bicep curl, but it’s still a 251g watch instead of a 350g watch. Regardless, this is the first time Rolex has used titanium in a serially produced watch, which is exciting in terms of what it might mean for future releases (especially off the back of Tudor’s new Pelagos 39).

Another possible point of contention could be the War & Peace-like amount of text on the dial of this deep sea diver, which is amplified by the faceted 9.5mm thick crystal covering the dial. All counted the dial and ring that surrounds it features 22 words across their surface, which might be another record that Rolex has been hunting.

There are definitely appealing elements of the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge, including the refined lug profile to include a polished facet that goes a long way to softening the visual thickness of the case. Another is the use of brushed titanium for the case and bracelet, which serves up the appearance of a much more rough and ready, utilitarian timepiece that can handle anything you’d ever need it to.

Powering this hulk is Rolex’s in-house calibre 3230, which features a paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring for reliability, guaranteed accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day and an impressive 70 hours of power reserve. The bracelet also hides a trick or two, featuring the Rolex Glidelock extension system and a Fliplock extension link for everyday convenience and diving practicality respectively.

We aren’t really sure exactly who the target buyer of this latest Rolex diver is, apart from professional divers and our home-grown Hemsworth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t respect the technological achievement of creating a watch that keeps ticking 11 kilometres below the waves. The Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge ref 126067 will be available from Authorised Dealers today, with a local RRP of $36,750.

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Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at)


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