Rolex Sea Dweller Review – Astonishing Water Resistance

Rolex Sea Dweller – Rugged and Water Resistant

If you like to dive or just like hanging out near the water, you’ll want a wristwatch that’s water resistant.  Granted, these days, most watches are water resistant to some degree.  Of course, that degree varies a lot.  Most watches are water resistant to no more than 50 meters, which really means you can get it wet and that’s about all.  The Rolex Sea Dweller, on the other hand, offers water resistance of up to 3900 meters.  That’s more than two miles, and it’s actually been tested for far deeper than that.  It’s unlikely that you’re going to ever need to go that deep and if you did, you wouldn’t survive.  But your Rolex Sea Dweller would, because it’s just built that well.  If you simply have to have the watch that’s the absolute best in the world at something, this might be the model for you.

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Rolex Sea Dweller Build Quality

Rolex Sea Dweller black face The build quality of the Rolex Sea Dweller can be described accurately in two words: nearly indestructible.  This watch was first introduced in 1967 in response to requests from deep sea divers for a timepiece that was truly water resistant and which wouldn’t quit working or fill up with water at depths of several hundred feet.  Rolex complied, and they’ve since improved the model several times. It’s got an all-stainless steel case and a super-thick sapphire crystal, so it’s going to work and work well for a long time.

Rolex Sea Dweller Movements

As with most of the company’s product line, the Rolex Sea Dweller includes a Swiss-made automatic mechanical movement.  It’s highly accurate and durable and encased in the incredibly watertight case, it’s just going to keep ticking no matter what you subject it to.  It will need occasional maintenance, but it’s going to give you good service for as long as you care to wear it.


The Rolex Sea Dweller was first introduced with an advertised water resistance of 2000 meters and was even named after that – the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller Submariner 2000, offering 2000 feet of water resistance.  A later version changed that to the 4000, indicating that it was water resistant to 4000 feet.  A still later model, the DEEPSEA, was advertised as having water resistance to 3900 meters, or 12,800 feet.  The company managed this by making the crystal extra thick, modifying the screw-down crown to make it triple-resistant to water, and by including a helium release valve.  Helium can work its way into the watch during a diver’s decompression cycle; the valve will allow it to work its way out.  There simply isn’t another watch on the market that offers this kind of water resistance.  Of course, 3900 meters is far deeper than anyone is likely to go, but it’s nice knowing that you’re going to have a watch that’s simply going to run no matter what you do with it.

Rolex Sea Dweller Styling and Features

Rolex Sea Dweller blue faceThe Rolex Sea Dweller hasn’t had a lot of design innovation; it’s mainly a stainless steel watch with a stainless steel bracelet.  You’ll get a date function and a rotating bezel to let you measure elapsed time, and that’s about it for design.  We’ve seen models that were covered with diamonds, and models with black cases, but these have been added by third parties.  The basic Rolex Sea Dweller is an all-stainless watch that’s about being sturdy.

Rolex Sea Dweller Care and Maintenance

The usual extra care required by precision mechanical watches will apply to the Rolex Sea Dweller.  You’ll need to send it to the company every five years or so to have it serviced.  This involves disassembly and examination for worn parts.  Those are replaced, and the parts are cleaned and lubricated and the entire watch is reassembled and thoroughly tested for water resistance and accuracy.  Then they’ll clean it and polish it and return it to you, good as new.  If you regularly use the watch around water, you’ll want to get it examined by an authorized dealer once a year or so to ensure that it remains watertight.  You should rinse it with tap water and dry it carefully after exposure to salt water.  You should keep it away from extremes in temperature and strong magnetic fields.  Other than this, your Rolex Sea Dweller should run well for years.

Rolex Sea Dweller Warranty

The Rolex Sea Dweller warranty is the standard one issued by the company – two years against defects in craftsmanship and materials.  This is about average for the luxury wristwatch industry, and these are highly precise and well-tested devices that should work well when you receive them.

Rolex Sea Dweller Prices

Rolex Sea Dweller 4000Rolex Sea Dweller prices are at the low to middle range for the company’s products; you’ll typically pay $12,000-$15,000 for one. There aren’t many options, so you won’t expect to see a lot of variation in the price, which is strictly regulated by the company.  We’ve seen the Rolex Sea Dweller with diamonds at about $30,000 or so, but as far as we know, these are third-party modifications and not the standard company issue.

Rolex Sea Dweller for Sale

As Rolex strictly controls both pricing and distribution for their products, you’ll officially have to buy the Rolex Sea Dweller from authorized dealers.  These are mostly high end jewelry stores located in major cities.  It’s difficult, but not entirely impossible, to buy a discount Rolex Sea Dweller online, as a few retailers do carry them and offer them for sale at less than full retail.

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Rolex Sea Dweller Summary

It goes without saying that the Rolex Sea Dweller is not a watch for everyone.  It’s available only in stainless steel and only with a stainless steel bracelet.  You’re not going to have a lot of choices in terms of how it looks.  On the other hand, it’s got jaw-dropping water resistance and it’s nearly indestructible.  There simply isn’t a watch on the market that can hold up to water better than the Rolex Sea Dweller.  Why not own a watch that’s the absolute best at something?