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Rolex Launch Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge with James Cameron

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

In our lifetimes it is unlikely that you or I will dive even so much as 60m below the surface of the ocean. Saturation divers, who can spend multiple weeks underwater, work at depths of around 300m. So the concept of going 10,908m down into the Mariana Trench is inconceivable. And yet that’s precisely what filmmaker James Cameron did in 2012 aboard his submersible Deepsea Challenger, with an experimental Rolex attached on the outside of the vehicle. Now, experimental timepiece has been adapted into the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge wristwatch.

James Cameron Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

It’s worth noting that while Rolex are calling this a ‘wearable’ version of the 2012 Deepsea watch, the demands of achieving a water resistance rating of 11,000m (almost double that of the Omega Ultra Deep) mean some sacrifices have to be made. Wearability is one such sacrifice. The Deepsea Challenge has a diameter of 50mm and the sapphire glass alone has a thickness of 9.5mm. To call this a big watch is perhaps the understatement of 2022.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

However, while the proportions might be gigantic, all efforts have been made to keep the weight of the piece as low as possible. The ringlock case, bezel, caseback and crown are all made from grade 5 titanium, providing superb scratch resistant and anti-corrosion properties with a lightweight and strong frame. Although as this is Rolex, they aren’t calling it grade 5 titanium, it’s RLX Titanium. It’s also equipped with a helium escape valve that allow excess gas to escape during the decompression process.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

Aesthetically, it has the classic Sea-Dweller diving bezel with knurled edges and a black ceramic insert. The dial itself is also classic. Large lumed hour markers in circles, rectangles and a triangle make for an instantly legible display at all depths and the iconic Rolex handset completes the look. The matte black dial bears an inscription of “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge” below the 12 o’clock marker and “Sea-Dweller 36090’ = 11000m Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” at 6.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge

Left to right: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea (2008), Deepsea Challenge (2022), Deep Sea Special (1960), Deepsea Challenge (2012) and Oyster Perpetual Submariner (1986). Background, left to right: models of the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible and the bathyscaphe Trieste.

Housed inside is the Rolex manufacture Calibre 3230. It’s an automatic movement with a perpetual rotor providing a power reserve of 70-hours. Plus, as the dial inscription above tells us, it’s superlative chronometer certified with an accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day thanks to the implementation of Rolex’s watchmaking innovations such as the paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring with Rolex overcoil.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge (9)

The bracelet, like the case, is made from satin-brushed titanium with Rolex’s Glidelock extension system so that it can easily be worn over a diving suit. It rounds out what is, without a doubt, the most impressive Rolex launch of 2022. The combination of extreme engineering, classic Rolex aesthetics and partnership with James Cameron make the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge a collector’s dream, even if it’s too big to ever wear. Its price seems relatively low at £21,850 but let’s be honest, despite that it will still be impossible to obtain and grey market prices will be substantially higher.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge
  • Ref: 126067
  • Case/dial: 50mm diameter, RLX titanium case, intense matte black dial, 18k white gold hour markers and hands with blue glow luminescence
  • Water resistance: 11,000m (110 bar)
  • Movement: Rolex calibre 3230, automatic, 31 jewels, COSC
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 70h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Strap: Titanium bracelet, oysterlock folding safety clasp, Rolex glidelock extension system
  • Price/availability: £21,850

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.

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