What may seem like a few minor design changes here and there actually mean a lot of serious firsts with the new-for-2017 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary model reference 126600, making this replacement of the Sea-Dweller 4000 one of the more important releases of Baselworld 2017.
First and foremost
Let’s begin with the tech specs, as with this new reference 126660, the Rolex Sea-Dweller has received five major updates: first, it has grown from 40mm to 43 millimeters wide, making for a very considerable difference between the Sea-Dweller 50th Anniversary and the Submariner (which is 40mm). Second, it received a cyclops over the date, a first for a Rolex Sea-Dweller and as controversial an update as the growth in size. Third, it is now powered not by the 3135 but the updated 3235 caliber. Fourth, it has a redesigned bracelet that is now wider and makes for a more secure fit on the wrist. Last, but not least, it pays tribute to the original Sea-Dweller of 1967.
All this, of course, seriously changes the looks of the Rolex Sea-Dweller black dial replica watches. The larger case and bracelet make it more proportionate by matching a greater diameter case with the existing thickness – that was arguably a bit disproportionate with the 40mm width of the previous 116600. Bear in mind that the thickness (no official figure on it yet but check the wristshots to get a good idea) is necessitated by the 4,000ft/1,220m water-resistance.
The New Look
While in this regard the added width makes sense, the new-found cyclops – again, new for the Rolex Sea-Dweller altogether – arguably is an even more controversial decision. The Rolex Sea-Dweller, some argued, from the get-go should have been a larger alternative to the No-Date and Date Submariner models (instead, all three watches thus far had been 40mm wide) – but the cyclops, even Rolex admits, is a less obvious and more controversial addition.
A lesser-known fact is that the original Rolex Sea-Dweller stainless steel case replica watches of 1967 did not have a cyclops because when Rolex added it to the plexiglass front, it caused structural weaknesses in it and ultimately caused it to shatter before reaching the desired depth rating – and so the cyclops was omitted. The Rolex Sea-Dweller all until 2017 has maintained its cyclops-free looks, making yet another reason for it to be a Submariner alternative (as, clearly, not everyone is a fan of the cyclops-look). Now, in this regard, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is more in line with all other collections, with only the Deepsea now standing out from the rest, as it still does not have a cyclops over its date aperture.