Record-breaking Rolex Deep Sea Challenge RLX Titanium
Rolex's first titanium watch... the new king of mechanical diving watches!
The story of Rolex and exploring the deepest parts of the world goes back to the 1950s, when the Picard family (father and son) brought their Trieste deep-sea submarine to the Mariana Trench with a very special piece of Rolex attached to the exterior of their submarine watch. The watch, called the Deep Sea Special N°3, reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench (10,916 meters or 35,814 feet) in 1960 and is now out of reach, but on display with Trieste in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Institution. Fast forward to 2012, and Rolex broke the record again with film director James Cameron as it offered an experimental deep-sea challenge that accompanied his historic drop of 10,908 meters (35,787 feet). Until now, prototypes are becoming a reality, as Rolex today unveils the Oyster Perpetual Deep Sea Challenge 126067, an 11,000-meter water-resistant watch and the brand’s first all-titanium model.
While we'll definitely come back to this topic later with live images and in-depth stories, let's get straight to the point and the facts right now. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deep Sea Challenge 126067 you see is nothing more than an experimental watch offered to the public... Meet the new king of mechanical diving watches, an automatic watch capable of going to the deepest parts of the earth. Now this is clearly an uppercut in the face of underwater pressure.
The "Ultimate Watch in the Deep" Deepsea Challenge is an automatic diver's watch with unprecedented certification, designed to withstand extreme pressures - in fact, the highest pressures likely to be found anywhere on Earth. This watch is the culmination of years of research by the brand and its scientific partners. While the 2012 experimental watch was attached to the robotic arm of a James Cameron submersible, the Deepsea Challenge is designed to be worn on the wrist... well, as long as you can live with its sheer size.
For starters, the Deepsea Challenge 126067 is the first Rolex watch ever to be made entirely of titanium — aside from some of its previous prototypes. The case is made from brushed RLX titanium, which is the internal designation for grade 5 titanium. So, despite being 50mm in diameter and 23mm in height, the watch is still 30 percent lighter than the 2012 James Cameron prototype. Several updates have been made to make the watch more livable compared to the experimental model, such as a thinner sapphire crystal. The latter is still impressive at 9.5mm in height. If you think about it, watches are huge by traditional watchmaking standards. But when you add 11,000 meters of water resistance to the equation, the object gets even more impressive.
In order to achieve such pressure resistance, Rolex had to innovate the structure of the case. Like the experimental model, the new Deepsea Challenge features the Ringlock system, a patented case architecture that enables the watch to withstand extreme pressure; a helium escape valve, which allows excess gas to escape from the watch during the diver's decompression phase , a triple-lock crown with three sealing areas, and a screw-down extra-thick caseback. Testing the water resistance of this watch was another challenge (classic testing materials don't work here). Therefore, in collaboration with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises), Rolex has specially developed an ultra-high pressure water tank with a test pressure comparable to that exerted by water at a depth of 13,750 meters.
The Rolex Deepsea Challenge 126067 otherwise feels directly in line with the brand's other professional collections. The design is classic, but there are some noteworthy elements, such as the brushed sides with polished bevels – a nod to vintage watches. Of course, this watch comes with a unidirectional bezel. Its 60-minute scale is engraved on a black Cerachrom insert and then filled with platinum. The Deepsea Challenge is worn on the RLX Titanium 3-link Oyster bracelet with a fully brushed finish (even the sides of the links). It is closed by an Oysterlock safety clasp with a Rolex Glidelock extension system and Fliplock extension links.
Framed by metallic (functional) elements, the dial is once again a classic Rolex diver's watch with white gold markers and Chromalight-filled hands. The dial color is "dark black" and has no traditional glossy finish, but a matte finish. Below is the calibre of the standard series (no experimental parts needed here), the top chronometer calibre 3230 inside - the same as in the Explorer or Dateless Submariner. That means a 4Hz frequency, a 70-hour power reserve and a Chronergy escapement.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS – ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL DEEPSEA CHALLENGE RLX TITANIUMCase: Diameter 50mm x Height 23mm - RLX Titanium (grade 5 titanium), polished - Overall construction - Screw-down crown and case back - Rolex Ringlock case construction with nitrogen alloy steel ring and Helium escape valve - Unidirectional bezel with 60-minute scale on black Cerachrom insert, filled with platinum - 9.5mm dome scratch-resistant sapphire - Water resistant to 11,000 m/36,090 ftDial: Black matte dial - White gold hour markers and hands - All elements filled with ChromalightMovement: Calibre 3230 - In-Made - Certified Premier Chronometer - Automatic Winding - 31 Jewels - 28,800 Vibrations Per Hour - Chronergy Escapement - 70 Hours Power Reserve - Hours, Minutes, SecondsBracelet: 3-link RLX titanium Oyster bracelet, brushed folding Oysterlock clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system. Fliplock extension linkReference: 126067