What We Know
In 1960, the bathyscaphe Trieste descended 10,916 meters (35,814 feet) to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean. Attached to the outside of the Trieste was the 1:1 replica Rolex Deep Sea Special watches, a huge prototype of a watch with a massive bubble crystal, specially designed to make the trip to the bottom of the ocean. It worked: After the dive, the Deep Sea Special was found to be in perfect working order (now, Deep Sea Special No. 3, the one that took this trip, sits in the Smithsonian’s collection).
Today, Rolex is continuing its legacy of deep-sea derring-do with the launch of the new Deepsea Challenge. It’s crafted out of what AAA US Rolex fake watches calls RLX titanium – which makes it the brand’s first all-titanium watch – and is rated to an unfathomable 11,000 meters (36,090 feet) of water resistance. There are two stories here: the water resistance and the titanium. Let’s start by getting wet.
From the Submariner (1953) to the Sea-Dweller (1967) to the Deepsea (2008) to the Deepsea Challenge (today), we’ve always known that Rolex takes water resistance pretty seriously. And really, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the “Deepsea Challenge” name – that was back in 2012, when Rolex produced a prototype for Avatar filmmaker James Cameron for his solo dive down into the Mariana Trench. That watch was produced in just eight weeks, but it did what Cameron and Rolex wanted it to do: It survived the dive, proving Rolex had the water-resistance chops to make a watch that could handle the pressure at the literal bottom of the ocean. However, that watch was still experimental, not yet ready for mass production. Today’s 2022 replica Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches is the commercial representation of that original experiment from a decade ago.
The new high quality copy Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches measures 50mm in diameter and 23mm thick (of that, 9.5mm is the sapphire crystal). Rolex tests the Deepsea Challenge to 125 percent of the actual water resistance it’s rated for (i.e., 13,750 meters) and developed an enhanced high-pressure tank with long-time partner Comex to test this waterproofness (James is going to dive a bit deeper into the brand’s testing processes in a follow-up article). It’ll cost you $26,000.
For perspective, the current Rolex Deepsea is rated to 3,900 meters, so the Deepsea Challenge is rated to roughly triple that (and, for comparison, the Omega Ultra Deep introduced earlier this year is rated to 6,000 meters).
A few core pieces of tech allow the best replica Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches to achieve a rating of 11,000 meters of water resistance. First, there’s Crown’s patented Ringlock system. As a former lawyer who once tried to apply for a patent in law school (and was promptly denied) for a friend/client who thought he’d developed a totally unique and novel process of beer fermentation (turns out we were very wrong, but the beer still tasted good), I couldn’t be satisfied until I found the Rolex Ringlock patent filing, so here it is: a 2007 Rolex filing for a “Sealed wrist watch case” – not new technology, but still worth highlighting.
Basically, the Ringlock is a stainless steel inner ring within the case on which the crystal is mounted on one side, and a titanium caseback on the other. This is designed to reduce stress on the case by diverting the pressure on the perfect Rolex fake watches’ crystal to this strong inner ring (since the crystal has such a large surface area, a lot of force is exerted on it as a watch goes deeper underwater). Since the Ringlock takes the brunt of the pressure instead, the case itself can be thinner than it otherwise would be. In fact, in the patent, Rolex says that this is the exact problem they were trying to solve, writing in the patent application, “the problem which occurs when making a sealed wrist watch case which is resistant down to very great depths, typically of between 3,000 and 5,000 meters, is, in particular, its thickness.” Yeah, the Deepsea Challenge is a thick hunk of titanium, but without the Ringlock, it’d be an even thicker hunk of titanium. With the Ringlock, the Deepsea Challenge is a watch that can be feasibly worn by divers more serious than me (or, at least someone who’s got more serious wrists).
Like its ancestors – the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea – the Deepsea Challenge also uses a helium escape valve that allows helium molecules to safely escape instead of blowing out through the watch’s weakest point (like shattering the crystal). Rolex patented the mechanism back in 1967 and it’s still serving dutifully in its more serious professional diver’s luxury Rolex replica watches.
One interesting difference to note on the Swiss movements super clone Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches: Unlike the Sea-Dweller or Deepsea, it doesn’t have a date. Unlike the Sea-Dweller, which was originally designed for divers who’d hang at the bottom of the ocean for days at a time at a SEALAB, the Deepsea Challenge is designed for short-term deep diving like Cameron’s adventure to the bottom of the Mariana Trench – no need to know the date when you’re merely testing the limits of humankind (and watchmaking) for a few hours at a time.
Okay, on to the other big news: The wholesale replica Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches is made of titanium, the Crown’s first all-titanium watch. It uses Grade 5 Titanium, an alloy that also includes aluminum and vanadium. I’m going to talk a bit more about titanium in our upcoming Weekend Edition, but perhaps the main reason for using titanium here was practical: When you’re making a watch this big, using a metal that’s lighter than steel makes it that much more wearable. Titanium is about 40 percent lighter than steel: The Deepsea Challenge weighs 251 grams; in steel it would’ve weighed more like 350 grams.
As you might already know, titanium is more difficult to machine than steel, most notably because it has something called a low modulus of elasticity, engineer-speak for the fact that it flexes and deforms somewhat easily (more easily than steel, for example). Rolex said that, while it took three years to specifically develop the Deepsea Challenge, it has been working and experimenting with titanium for much longer. Indeed, that 2007 Ringlock patent specifically mentions using titanium a number of times; the implementation of the Ringlock on the original Deepsea has long used a titanium caseback because of its flexible properties that allow it to withstand pressure at extreme depths – a classic illustration of “bend, but don’t break.”
What We Think
I had the opportunity to see and wear the new Deepsea Challenge a couple weeks ago in Geneva. It’s very clearly not a watch for me – I wore a 34mm 1950s Rolex into the meeting with the company’s head of R&D, which he thought was quaint for a number of reasons, mostly because the only thing it said on the dial was “shock-resisting.” Kind of like showing a Ford exec today the Model T. Rolex uses its dials to make testimony of all the incredible technical feats of any particular watch, and the Deepsea has feats to spare.
Look at the wrist shots here and it’s clear this thing’s about as likely to slide under a cuff as I am to slide into home in the World Series this week. But this is the type of watch that’d look better on top of a wetsuit than under a suit anyway. Top Rolex fake watches mentioned it’s been experimenting with titanium for years, and it shows. The titanium is finished beautifully, matte and brushed on most surfaces of the case and bracelet.
Perhaps my favorite detail on the case (and something other vintage nerds will certainly love too): The lugs feature polished chamfers, something that’s been missing from modern China replica Rolex sports watches until now. It’s one of those finishing details we might take for granted but is executed perfectly, evoking those early Sea-Dwellers where it all began. Oh, and another vintage-inspired detail: The Deepsea Challenge has a matte black dial, giving it a real tool-watch vibe, another feature we don’t see on many best quality Rolex fake watches today. The Glidelock and Fliplock on the bracelet make for easy adjustment on the fly – it can stretch to fit over a wetsuit for those looking to use the watch as intended (not something I tested). The Deepsea Challenge is about 61mm lug-to-lug, but if you’re in the market for a watch that’s rated to 11,000 meters, well, you probably don’t care – you also don’t really have any other choices. Really, the titanium does play a bit of a trick on your mind: It’s a big watch, but once you pick it up, it’s actually not unbearably heavy. My little wrists might’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the diameter and thickness, but I could lift my arm just fine with the 251 grams of titanium on it, I swear! Even for someone who’s into bigger watches, the Deepsea Challenge is a step up: The current Rolex Deepsea measures 44mm in diameter and 17mm thick. But, remember the water resistance specs. The Deepsea has about a third of the water resistance. Look at our photos of the prototype Deepsea Challenge (above), and it becomes pretty impressive that Rolex managed to shave so much size off that watch while compromising nothing in terms of technical specs.
The online replica Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches has about as many technical bonafides on the dial as you’ll find on any Rolex: In addition to the common statements about its movement (“Superlative Chronometer Official Certified”), there’s the depth rating, “Ring Lock System,” “Helium Escape Valve,” and the new Deepsea Challenge branding. And that doesn’t even get to its status as the brand’s first titanium watch. No matter if you’ll ever buy, or even wear (or even see), this watch, it’s impressive for all these reasons. It’s got Rolex tech from 1967 (the helium escape valve), 2008 (the Ringlock), and today (the titanium case).
Much is often made of the subtle march Rolex has made into the future, making small tweaks and improvements, but never changing anything too much at once. But when you zoom out and look at a model line across its entire existence – in this case, the Sea-Dweller and its 55 years of production – you start to see what Rolex is all about. The Sea-Dweller has always been about challenging the depths of the ocean, and the Deepsea Challenge is just the next step in that, producing a watch that’s literally rated to the bottom of the ocean (the maximum depth of the Mariana Trench is 10,984 meters, known as the Challenger Deep).
It’s worth mentioning – but not comparing – the Tudor Pelagos, a titanium dive watch with broad appeal in production since 2012 (its appeal only made broader this year with the introduction of the Pelagos 39). Unlike the Pelagos, the Deepsea Challenge is a supercar of a watch, throwing all of the brand’s current dive watch technology (well, all the technology that we know about) into a new, spec’d-out titanium package that’s been pushed to the max, while still being designed for mass production. Of course, the first titanium watch from Rolex will have many asking “what’s next?” But it’s very Rolex to introduce a new material in the most technically-capable dive watch on the planet.
Sure, actually using the absolutely bananas depth rating of the fake Rolex Deepsea Challenge watches shop site will remain theoretical for most of us. But for serious enthusiasts, this is a serious upgrade, doubling the effective depth rating of its deepest diving competitor, the Omega Ultra Deep, a watch that was introduced only six months ago and already had an absurd depth rating. Until now, prototypes like the original Rolex Deepsea Special from 1960, Cameron’s prototype Deepsea Challenge from 2012, and the prototype Omega Ultra Deep are the only watches to have reached the literal bottom of the ocean, traveling to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Now, Rolex has introduced a watch for commercial production that’s rated to the same depth. To be able to mass produce a watch of that technical capability is a feat of engineering, no matter the case size.
Further than that, the brand’s continued commitment to pushing its own technical limits is perhaps what’s most exciting. For a brand that first made the Submariner for divers in the ’50s, then the Sea-Dweller for SEALAB inhabitants in the ’60s, the Deepsea Challenge is a fitting next chapter to the story.