Rolex Submariner vs Rolex Sea-Dweller

The Submariner and the Sea-Dweller are often compared due to their almost identical design. It’s easy to mistake one for the other, if not for the tiny details on the Sea-Dweller.
As a diver watch, either of these two is reliable and you can rest assured they’re both made of high-quality materials. The choice of which of them is better suited to your preference boils down to the price and features each watch offer.

The Rolex Submariner

The Submariner really needs no introduction since it has been one of the most popular watch models in the world for years. Its design and features have defined what a dive watch should be, that it has become a sort of a standard among enthusiasts and manufacturers.

The versatility of the Submariner’s design makes it a suitable accessory for any occasion. Rolex has made modifications to the model’s case material that it’s now available in gold aside from the usual stainless steel case. This further increases the Submariner’s popularity as it’s now being offered in more variants, making it not just a diver’s watch but a casual and dress accessory.

Pros:

  • More affordable compared to the Sea-Dweller
  • Legible watch face
  • Power reserve of 50 hours
  • Water-resistant up to 300 meters

Cons:

  • Lower water resistance rating compared to the Sea-Dweller
  • Shorter power reserve compared to the Sea-Dweller
  • Its design is quite common

The Rolex Sea-Dweller

The Sea-Dweller isn’t as popular as the other models from Rolex, but that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near subpar. It’s simply overshadowed by the Submariner’s popularity for a good 50 years since they both became available to the public.

The very reason behind Sea-Dweller’s relatively bleaker reception is that it has a more specific target market. It’s designed for professional deep divers that go beyond the usual depth of 200 to 300 meters underwater. With its incredible water resistance rating, the Sea-Dweller is a Rolex collection worthy of representing the brand as a pioneer in creating quality diver watches.

Curiously, the Sea-Dweller is a fan-favorite of some of the most famous celebrities today including Stephen Curry, Tiger Woods, Ben Affleck, and Charlize Theron.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable build
  • Excellent lume brightness that lasts for a long time
  • Legible watch face with a Cyclops date window
  • Power reserve of 70 hours
  • Water-resistant up to 1,200 meters

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than the Submariner
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Limited design options

Head-to-Head: Submariner vs Sea-Dweller

We’ll be comparing the Submariner 116610LN and the Sea-Dweller 126600.

Case

The 40mm Submariner has a stainless steel case with a thickness of 13mm. It also features a solid case back.

The Sea-Dweller, on the other hand, measures 43mm and also has a solid case back. It also has a helium escape valve underneath for a more subtle design.

Bezel

The Submariner and the Sea-Dweller’s coin-edge bezel are almost identical in design. Their unidirectional rotating bezel made of stainless steel has a top ring of black Cerachrom plating with large Arabic numeral minute markers. At the 12 o’clock position, you’ll find a luminous pip that shines brightly even underwater.

One of the subtle differences between the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner is that the former has a full 60-second track on the bezel, while the latter only has a 15-second track.

Crown

Both watches feature a screw-down crown for better water resistance.

Dial

The dial of the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller are almost the same, except for a tiny bit of detail. They both have a plain black dial with dot and index hour markers filled with luminous material, a luminescent Mercedes-style hour hand, a luminescent sword-shaped minute hand, and a Cyclops date window. Both watches are also covered with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for enhanced durability.

The only difference between the two is the red-colored “Sea-Dweller” text on the lower portion of the Sea-Dweller model. If not for this, you might mistake a Sea-Dweller for a Submariner.

Movement

The Submariner runs on a Rolex Calibre 3135 automatic movement. It has a power reserve of up to 50 hours.

The Sea-Dweller features a Rolex Calibre 3235 automatic movement with a much bigger power reserve capacity of 70 hours.

Strap

The straps of both watches are made of stainless steel with the patented Oysterlock clasp. They’re both fitted with the Glidelock Extension System for making minute adjustments.

Water Resistance

The Sea-Dweller is the winner in terms of water resistance with a rating of 1,200 meters. The Submariner, on the other hand, features the usual 300-meter rating which is enough for divers.

Price

The Submariner is priced at around $12,000. The Sea-Dweller is a bit more expensive at $14,300.

Conclusion

The Submariner and the Sea-Dweller look almost the same that you might confuse one for the other. But a deeper look into their features and prices reveal that they’re designed for specific purposes.
If you’re okay to add a few thousand bucks to get a better water resistance rating, then the Sea-Dweller is the timepiece to get. But if you want an everyday luxury diver watch, the Submariner offers a sturdy build that can withstand other sports activities aside from diving.

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