Rolex introduced the Sea-Dweller Reference 126603 earlier this year, and many collectors weren’t thrilled. We’ve had a chance to test the waters, and decided to weigh in.

See also: New Rolex Releases from Baselworld 2019

Let’s look at what changed with the Sea-Dweller release.

But first, a brief history

The Sea-Dweller was designed in 1967 to go DEEP. It was specially created for professional divers working on deep sea oil rigs for a company called COMEX. These divers were underwater for long periods and needed a reliable and indestructible time keeping method.

It was this collaboration that led Rolex to later develop the helium escape valve, which releases helium gas under intense pressure. The Rolex Sea-Dweller is water resistant up to 4,000 feet.

Here’s the details on the Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 126603

Two-Toned Design

The Sea-Dweller was released in two tones for the first time ever. Oystersteel is paired with 18k yellow gold, which Rolex famously named ‘yellow Rolesor.’ An Oystersteel and yellow gold combination is nothing new to Rolex, but it’s kind of a big deal for the Sea-Dweller.

The case and outer bracelet links are made of steel, while the bezel ring, crown, and center bracelet links are 18k gold. Yellow gold highlights the surrounds on the indices and the hands, as well as the numerals and graduations on the Cerachrom bezel insert.

Lastly, the cherry on top is the ‘Sea-Dweller’ signature in a gilt tone.

43 mm Case Diameter

The 43 mm case isn’t any larger than previous models. In fact almost everything about the Sea-Dweller reference 126603 is similar to it’s 126600 predecessor.

It keeps the same case redesign, which includes includes shorter, curved lugs for a snug fit on the wrist.

Caliber 3225 Movement

Yep, same movement as well! The in house Caliber 3225 movement ensures precise time keeping with a 70 hour power reserve.

Our Thoughts

Many Rolex purists are upset that Rolex would outfit a tool watch with 18k gold. Especially this tool watch. Why would a hard core, rock solid, sports watch need all the flash. The reality is– not many Rolex Sea-Dweller owners are actually utilizing the watch 4,000 feet below sea level.

Rolex simply created a product for a wider audience in mind, and we completely understand. The yellow Rolesor gives the Sea-Dweller a place in the spotlight. A panache like never before.

If you love tool watches with more flavor, then this Sea-Dweller is for you. This one easily transitions from the water to cocktail hour. And you really can’t ask for a better compliment to pair with upcoming holiday event attire.

Technical Specs


Oyster, 43 mm, steel and yellow gold


Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown


43 mm


Yellow Rolesor – combination of Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold


Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in gold


Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system


Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date


Waterproof to 1,220 metres / 4,000 feet, helium escape valve


Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding


3235, Manufacture Rolex


-2/+2 sec/day, after casing


Centre hour, minute and seconds hands Instantaneous date in apertures, unrestricted rapid-setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting


Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers


Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor


Approximately 70 hours


Oyster, flat three-piece links


Yellow Rolesor – combination of Oystersteel and 18 ct yellow gold


Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system.




Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

If you are interested in purchasing your own Rolex Sea-Dweller, give us a call or fill out our contact form. Check out our Facebook page for box openings and watch reviews by our in-house watch expert Sergio Nuncio!

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