Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Citizen Of The Deep

Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller

Citizen of the Deep

Exploration and conservation have always been fundamental to Rolex, the Swiss timepiece manufacturer forged in the visionary spirit of its founder, Hans Wilsdorf. From its inception in 1905, Rolex has been the standard bearer for precision timekeeping intertwined with groundbreaking technical prowess. Every watch has intent and a reason for being. All elements are designed to function perfectly for each intended purpose. In a watershed moment in 1926, Rolex introduced the Oyster, hailed as the world's first waterproof watch. This feat reverberated throughout history, beginning when it adorned the wrist of Mercedes Gleitze during her epochal swim across the English Channel the following year.

Since that monumental achievement, Rolex timepieces have accompanied countless explorers as they confronted uncharted territories, conquered formidable peaks, traversed vast oceans, and crossed arid deserts. From the world's highest summits to the deepest ocean trenches, Rolex has been the trusted companion of those who push the boundaries of human endeavor, embodying the spirit of adventure and discovery that defines the brand's ethos.

In the ocean's depths, where light struggles to penetrate and the pressure is crushing, a world of mystery and wonder awaits. Just as Rolex revolutionized deep-sea exploration with the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller in 1967, legendary pioneers like "her deepness," Sylvia Earle, have descended fearlessly into the abyss to unravel its secrets. Designed to withstand the extreme conditions of saturation diving, the Sea-Dweller emerged as a beacon of innovation, embodying Rolex's commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible beneath the ocean’s surface.

Rolex created the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller in 1967 to meet the challenge of prolonged underwater missions. The Sea-Dweller is specifically designed for saturation diving. Thanks to its helium escape valve, it can withstand decompression on ascent and master the return to the surface – the final phase of deep-sea exploration.

Guaranteed to be waterproof to a depth of 610 metres (2,000 feet) when it was launched in 1967, then to 1,220 metres (4,000 feet) from 1978, the Sea-Dweller combines all the attributes of the ideal modern divers' watch.

Tested in real-life conditions as part of the Tektite programme, initiated jointly by NASA, the US Navy, and the US Government in 1969, the Sea-Dweller was employed during the first major experiments in underwater habitats.

The new face of diving

In the 1960s, "saturation" diving made it possible to remain at great depths for extended periods. This endeavor consists of housing divers in a pressurized habitat, so as to reproduce the pressure that prevails in their underwater working environment. This means that they need only undergo a single decompression process, at the very end of the mission.

However, this process can damage the watch. Divers breathe a mix of gases composed mainly of helium, whose extremely fine atoms can penetrate the case. On returning to the surface, the helium trapped inside can create a phenomenon of excess internal pressure liable to compromise the watch’s integrity.

Mastering decompression with the helium escape valve

In order to address this problem, in 1967 Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller, a divers' watch with a helium escape valve. It is screwed to the case and consists of a hermetic cylinder, a piston, a gasket, and a spring, acting as a safety valve. When the internal pressure in the case is too high, it opens automatically, allowing the helium atoms to escape.

All-round legibility

The Chromalight display, exclusive to Rolex, gives the Sea-Dweller optimal legibility in any circumstance. The hour markers, hands, capsule, and bezel are filled or covered by hand with a luminescent material that emits an intense blue glow in the dark that lasts up to two times longer than traditional phosphorescent materials.

Reinforced waterproofness

The Sea-Dweller is equipped with a Triplock winding crown. Invented in 1970, this screw-down crown comprises three waterproofness zones. It reinforces the impermeability of the Sea-Dweller's 43 mm Oyster case, whose middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy.

The watch for citizens of the seas

Explorers and oceanographers, like Sylvia Earle, and underwater photographers, such as David Doubilet, are committed to conservation of the ocean and know that it is one of our most precious resources. They wear a Sea-Dweller to reflect their passion and commitment.

Rolex has also partnered with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises) since 1971. For several decades, the Sea-Dweller has equipped the divers of this French company, which specializes in underwater engineering, technology, and intervention.

In the timeless quest to understand and protect our oceans, the Sea-Dweller stands as a symbol of resilience and determination. As explorers like Sylvia Earle continue to venture into the unknown, they do so with the assurance of a Rolex timepiece that shares their passion for discovery and preservation. With each dive, the Sea-Dweller reinforces its legacy as not just a watch but as a vital companion for those who dare to explore the depths and safeguard the resources that lie within.

As Rolex's long-lasting partnerships with Comex and ambassadors demonstrate, the Sea-Dweller remains an essential and indispensable tool for those at the forefront of underwater engineering and intervention, ensuring that the spirit of exploration lives on for generations to come. The Sea-Dweller redefines undersea possibilities, allowing for new areas of exploration and conservation to be continually examined and improved.

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