Everything You Need To Know About Rolex Dive Watches

Rolex has become one of the most coveted watches in the world. The Rolex dive watches are probably one of the most prominent collections from the brand due to their design, functionality, and quality.

About Rolex Dive Watches

Rolex is a luxurious brand renowned for many iconic timepieces of our time, including Rolex dive watches with the Submariner as the leading and most popular figure. The military-inspired design, corrosion-resistant material, highly legible watch dial, and extreme water resistance rating make Rolex diver watches the choice of professionals around the world.

Some of the celebrities who own Rolex dive watches are David Beckham (Deepsea), Jack Black (Submariner), Mark Wahlberg (Submariner), and Stephen Curry (Sea-Dweller). James Cameron, a renowned hit-maker of a director, was given a specially crafted Deepsea by Rolex for his underwater expedition.

For those looking for a diving watch that’s reliable, high-quality, and functional even under constant water pressure, Rolex dive watches have some of the best models to look into. Their reputation precedes them in creating tough timepieces with high water resistance ratings. They have screw-in crowns, tightly sealed case joints and gaskets, luminous hands and markers, rotating bezels, and all other requirements needed to pass ISO 6425 certification. They also have both chronograph and non-chronograph models, and GMT models, so you have a really wide variety of watches to choose from.

What Makes Rolex Dive Watches Special?

The Submariner can be submerged up to 300m underwater; the Sea-Dweller up to 1,220m and the Deepsea up to 3,900m. If that’s not enough, Rolex even made the Deep Sea Special which withstood pressure over 10,000m underwater. You must be wondering how in the world is Rolex able to make their diver watches sturdy enough to handle immense water pressure.

Only a number of Rolex diver watches are manufactured every year to maintain the quality of each piece. Materials used from the case to the sapphire glass have all been tested separately for their durability and quality. Assembled timepieces are first subjected to preliminary tests to ensure they’re sealed air-tight.

After the initial assessment for leaks, each Rolex dive watch is subjected to a customized hyperbaric tank which can mimic the water pressure the timepieces will experience underwater. To exceed expectations, Rolex puts them under 25% more pressure than the stated levels. So, for example, a Submariner is tested at 375m, past its 300m water resistance rating. If the watch passes this test, it’s then subjected to condensation testing.

It’s not surprising to know that less than 0.1% of the Rolex diver watches fail this test. This is proof of their expertise in crafting diving watches and other models that pass water resistance standards.

Rolex Dive Watch Collection

Here are the most popular collections of Rolex diver watches.

Submariner

The Submariner is undoubtedly the most popular Rolex dive watch out there. It has become the standard for diving watches because this series pioneered the waterproofing technology used in many Rolex timepieces today.

Submariner watches have a resistance rating of at least 100m. They’re also prominent for having a Mercedes-style hour hand.

Features:

  • 40mm diameter
  • 904L stainless steel case
  • Cyclops date aperture on the Submariner Date model
  • Hands and markers laced with 18ct gold
  • Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp
  • Unidirectional bezel with knurled edges
  • Triplock screw-down crown
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • Calibre 3135 self-winding, mechanical movement
  • Power reserve of up to 48 hours
  • Water resistance of 300m

Pros:

  • Excellent lume brightness makes the watch extremely legible even in deep water
  • Reliable and accurate movement
  • Very durable case and overall build
  • Bezel has solid clicks and no play

Cons: 

  • Price too high for a watch with basic diving capabilities
  • The Submariner’s design is quite common already
  • It’s quite heavy compared to your typical wristwatch

Price Range: $7,500 to $8,550

GMT Master II

The GMT Master II was designed originally for use of pilots and aviation professionals. However, because of its durability, functionality, and water resistance, it’s also used by divers in their underwater activities.

The GMT Master II features a GMT hand for tracking a second time zone. It’s also prominent for having a two-color bezel.

Features:

  • 40mm diameter
  • 904L stainless steel case
  • Two-color bidirectional bezel made of Cerachrom
  • Cyclops lens over date aperture
  • Jubilee-style bracelet with Oysterlock clasp
  • Triplock screw-down crown
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • GMT hand for monitoring an additional time zone
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • Calibre 3285 self-winding, mechanical movement
  • Power reserve of up to 70 hours
  • Water resistance of 100m

Pros:

  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Highly legible watch face makes it easy to read both the date and time
  • Bezel is scratch-resistant and has no play
  • High-quality craftsmanship can be seen on how polished and well-made the watches look

Cons:

  • GMT feature and the two-color bezel doesn’t justify the price
  • A bit thicker than your average watch
  • No exhibition case back

Price Range: $8,950 to $9,200

Yacht-Master

If you’re looking for a Rolex diver watch that can also be used for other sports activities, the Yacht-Master is the timepiece to consider. There are 2 models under this series, namely the Yacht-Master and the Yacht-Master II. The former has a striking resemblance with the Submariner while the latter features a distinctive dial to accommodate the chronograph function. The Yacht-Master II is designed for sailors with its programmable countdown function and on-the-fly synchronization, both of which are needed for regattas and other water sports.

Features:

  • Size varies from 37mm to 44mm
  • Case and bracelet made of Oystersteel; Oysterflex is used on the Yacht Master model
  • Bidirectional Command bezel made of Rolesium
  • Triplock screw-down crown
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Date aperture with Cyclops lens on some models
  • The Yacht-Master has a calibre 3135 movement while the Yacht-Master II has a calibre 4161 movement
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • Power reserve of 48 up to 72 hours
  • Water resistance of 100m

Pros:

  • They have sizes for women
  • Shock-resistant and durable build
  • Excellent lume brightness
  • Available in different dial, bezel, and bracelet color variants

Cons:

  • Rubber strap might be uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods
  • Seems overpriced for their features
  • Time can be a bit hard to read on some models

Price Range: $10,000 to $22,000

Sea-Dweller

The Sea-Dweller is the best Rolex dive watch you’ll ever get your hands on with its unparalleled high water resistance rating. This series is the ultimate manifestation of Rolex’s expertise in creating diver watches for professionals. Two models belong to this series: the Deepsea and the Sea-Dweller.

The Sea-Dweller series closely resembles the Submariner except that this one’s made with sturdier materials designed to withstand extreme water pressure.

Features:

  • Size varies from 43mm to 44m
  • Made of 904L stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Unidirectional bezel made of Cerachrom with a luminous pip at the 12 o’clock position
  • Cyclops lens over date aperture (Sea-Dweller model only)
  • Has a Helium escape valve
  • Triplock screw-down crown
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • Calibre 3235 self-winding, mechanical movement
  • Domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Power reserve of up to 70 hours
  • The Sea-Dweller model has a water resistance rating of 1,220m while the Deepsea has 3,900m

Pros:

  • Superb luminosity even underwater that can last up to 8 hours
  • Very legible watch face
  • Bezel has solid clicks and no play at all
  • Incredibly high water resistance ratings, making them the best Rolex diver watches ever

Cons:

  • It’s definitely heavy because of the materials used to make it more resistant to water pressure
  • It looks like the Submariner and there’s nothing new about its design
  • They’re really large and thick

Price Range: $12,300

Cosmograph Daytona

The Cosmograph Daytona was originally designed for race drivers but with its water resistance rating and chronograph features, it can be considered as a Rolex dive watch. This watch is known for its chronograph subdials and tachymeter bezel. It has a very sporty look with the way its crown pushers are designed.

Features:

  • 40mm diameter
  • Case is made of 18ct white gold and stainless steel alloy
  • Fixed Cerachrom bezel with a tachymeter scale
  • Triplock screw-down crown
  • Chronograph subdials with 60-second, 30-minute, and 12-hour scales
  • Gem-set hour markers on some models
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • Calibre 4130 self-winding, mechanical movement
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Power reserve of up to 72 hours
  • Water resistance of 100m

Pros:

  • Wide array of dial, bezel, and bracelet color variants
  • Accurate movement
  • High-quality craftsmanship as seen in the attention to detail on the watch’s overall design
  • Scratch-resistant bezel

Cons:

  • Lume on hands and markers are quite small
  • No date window
  • Some models have poor color contrast, making the dial look more cluttered and hard to read

Price Range: $12,400 to $86,000

Sky-Dweller

The Sky-Dweller is a watch designed for frequent travelers who want to keep track of a second time zone. Its most distinctive feature is the off-center disc that acts like another watch because it keeps track of another time zone. Its revolutionary design flaunts sophistication, functionality, and elegance.

Features:

  • 42mm diameter
  • 904L stainless steel case
  • Fluted bidirectional Command bezel which can be used to configure watch functions
  • Cyclops lens over date aperture
  • Available in leather and stainlees steel bracelets
  • Month indicator around the dial
  • Twinlock screw-down crown
  • Luminescent Chromalight hands and markers
  • 2nd dial with 24-hour markers located at the off-center portion of the watch
  • Calibre 9001 self-winding, mechanical movement
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Power reserve of up to 72 hours
  • Water resistance of 100m

Pros:

  • Sophisticated look fits formal and business wear
  • Accurate movement and legible date window
  • Available in different color variants
  • Majestic and luxurious look

Cons:

  • Time can be hard to read on some color variants
  • Command bezel can take a while before you get used to it
  • No lume on the GMT disc

Price Range: $14,400

Conclusion

Rolex diver watches have somewhat become the standard for professionals on what a diving watch should be capable of. Beginning with the Submariner, Rolex continues to build water-resistant watches that are able to perform even under constant pressure. The brand has truly cemented its reputation as an expert in making timepieces built for underwater activities.

If you’re looking for a diving watch you can rely on, you’ll never go wrong in going for Rolex dive watches.

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