Dive watches from Rolex are highly sought after. The Submariner without a date indication is the entry-level piece and is priced at $7,500. Rolex became famous in 1927 for its water-resistant watches with their patented screw-down crown. During her more than 15-hour attempt to swim the English Channel, Mercedes Gleitze wore a Rolex that withstood the ordeal. In 1955, the English Royal Navy began using the Submariners as its official dive watch. The Royal Canadian Navy followed suit the following year.
Rolex developed the Deep-Sea Special watch to explore the ocean depths. Between 1953 and 1960 it participated in several maritime expeditions. It was attached to the outer hull of submarines. The high point was reached in 1960 when it reached a depth of 10,916 meters.
Today's Submariner measures 40 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm in height. The watch without a date indication is powered by the self-winding in-house 3130 movement. Like all Rolex dive watches, it has a metal bracelet and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic inlay.
Divers in the Sealab program experienced high pressure while helping the U.S. Marines carry out research on the effects of high pressure and various breathing gases on the human body. Divers would spend several days inside a pressure chamber filled with a helium-nitrogen-oxygen mixture. Once their underwater task had been completed, the pressure in the chamber was gradually reduced to normal levels.
Rolex began working with the French diving specialist Comex in the early 1970s. Comex laid underwater cables, took care of diving work on oil rigs and salvaged shipwrecks. Rolex supplied watches to all Comex divers, who shared their experiences and helped with development of the watches. The Sea-Dweller has three times higher water resistance and a helium escape valve.
In the mid-1960s, Rolex supplied Comex with specially equipped Submariner models to test the helium escape valve. The Sea-Dweller went into mass production in 1967, equipped with a helium escape valves. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Sea- Dweller in 2017,Rolex issued a new model.
Rolex developed a completely new case design to ensure that the watch would not be too large. The maximum depth limit remained unchanged until 2008, when the Deepsea model was introduced with a water resistance of 3,900 meters. Its patented "Ringlock" system consists of three elements that can take the pressure.
The Deepsea is designed to withstand depths of up to 4,900 meters. The complicated design permits a 44-mm-by-18-mm case that is both striking and 10-percent thinner than other cases with a similar construction. The Deepsea was updated in 2018 and now has a more balanced case and a new in-house movement with a power reserve of 70 hours. Each individual watch undergoes rigorous underwater testing at this 25-percent higher pressure.
As of 2019, the Sea-Dweller is available in both steel and steel-and-gold versions. The Submariner is offered with a black or green dial and matching bezel. All in all, the dive watch collection consists of 12 different versions.
Prices begin at $7,500 for the no-date Submariner. Models with a helium escape valve are considerably more expensive. The most expensive model is the white-gold Submariners at $36,850.