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Rolex Deepsea Ref. 136668LB is a Golden Smurf for the Depths

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

There are a lot of Rolex nicknames around and there are several that pertain to the colour blue. For the GMT-Master II there’s the Blueberry and for the Submariner range there’s the Smurf and Cookie Monster. As the Deepsea is essentially the Submariner on steroids with a water resistance rating of 3900m, I think Smurf is the more appropriate nickname to use for the new Deepsea ref. 136668LB. Or more precisely, Golden Smurf considering this is the first gold Deepsea.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

The Deepsea is one of the smallest collections in Rolex’s range of professional dive watches, even more extreme than models like the Sea-Dweller. It’s inspired by the original Deepsea Challenge that saw James Cameron descend to the bottom of the ocean, an event commemorated by the yet more extreme Deepsea Challenge watch in 2022. As the most professional of professional divers, it’s not a collection you’d associate with precious metals making the Deepsea ref. 136668LB something of an enigma.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

This is the Deepsea not as an actual dive watch but a 44mm status symbol meant to be worn in place of a traditional dress watch (be warned at 44mm in gold, it will likely be a hefty weight on the wrist). Although it does retain something of a nautical aesthetic with that vibrant blue dial and matching blue ceramic dive bezel. Something about the combination of blue and gold reminds me of retro naval uniforms, although that may be anachronistic as most navy officer uniforms are actually black.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

Zooming in on that Smurf dial, we see that it has the typical Rolex array of Mercedes hands, circle, rectangle and triangle hour markers (all lumed) with a date window at 3 o’clock. What marks the Deepsea from the Sea-Dweller or Submariner outside the inscription on the dial is the peripheral ceramic ringlock system seen at the edge of the dial, reading “Original Gas Escape Valve, Ringlock System”. This innovation adds compression resistance and anti-deformation properties to the watch, which is what allows for the deeper water resistance rating.

Rolex Calibre 3235

Rolex calibre 3235

Beneath the Deepsea Ref.136668LB’s Golden Smurf surface is the calibre 3235. As you’d expect of a Rolex it has superlative chronometer status, a 70-hour power reserve and impressive +/- 2 seconds per day accuracy. It’s protected not by a golden caseback but a titanium one with fluted edges, the strong material providing a solid backbone for the gold watch.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Yellow Gold 136668LB

The Deepsea is by no means an accessible watch in any iteration but the Deepsea ref. 136668LB is particularly expensive with its gold case. It sits at £45,700. It’s certainly an eye-catcher and I like that Rolex have done something new and dramatically different with the collection. Whether a precious metal Deepsea makes sense or is cool, I leave that to you to decide.

Price and Specs:

Model: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea
Ref: 136668LB
Case: 44mm diameter x 17.7mm thickness, 18k yellow gold, titanium caseback
Dial: Blue lacquer
Water resistance: 3,900m (390 bar)
Movement: Rolex calibre 3235, automatic, 31 jewels, COSC-certified
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: 18k yellow gold bracelet
Price: £45,700

More details at Rolex.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.