The Record-Breaking Rolex Deepsea Challenge RLX Titanium (And It’s Not A Prototype)
Rolex's first titanium watch, and the new king of mechanical dive watches!
Rolex and the exploration of the world’s greatest depths is a story that goes back to the 1950s, when the Piccards (father and son) took the Trieste Bathyscaphe down to the Mariana Trench, with an exceptional Rolex watch attached to the exterior of their submarine. The watch, known as the Deep Sea Special N°3, made the trip down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench (10,916 metres or 35,814 feet) in 1960 and is today out of reach but on display, together with the Trieste, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Fast forward to 2012 when Rolex broke another record with movie director James Cameron, providing an experimental Deepsea Challenge watch that accompanied Cameron on his historic 10,908-metre (35,787-foot) descent. And what were prototypes are now becoming a reality as Rolex unveils the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge 126067, an 11,000m water-resistant watch and the first full titanium model of the brand.
Although we’ll return to this topic later with live images and an in-depth story, let’s get straight to the facts. What you’re looking at with the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge 126067 is nothing other than an experimental watch made available to the public. Meet the new king of the abyss, a mechanical automatic watch capable of travelling to the deepest point of our planet while also being – on paper at least – for sale in all Rolex boutiques and retailers (we all know about Rolex and availability). And now that’s clearly an uppercut in the face of underwater pressure.
Described as “the ultimate watch of the deep“, the Deepsea Challenge is an automatic dive watch with unprecedented credentials designed to withstand extreme pressure; in fact, it is designed to withstand the highest possible pressure found anywhere on the planet. This watch is the result of years of research by the brand and its scientific partners. And while the experimental watch of 2012 was attached to the manipulator arm of James Cameron’s submersible, the Deepsea Challenge is designed to be worn on the wrist… well, as long as you can live with its gigantic dimensions.
First of all, the Deepsea Challenge 126067 is the first watch by Rolex made entirely from titanium – with the exception of some previous prototypes. The case is made of brushed RLX titanium, an internal name for grade 5 titanium. As such, and despite a diameter of 50mm and a height of 23mm, the watch is 30% lighter than the 2012 James Cameron prototype. Compared to the experimental model, multiple updates were made to make the watch more wearable, such as a slimmed-down sapphire crystal, which is nevertheless impressive with its 9.5mm height. If you think about it, in terms of traditional watchmaking standards, the watch is gigantic. But when you add a water-resistance of 11,000m to the equation, the object becomes far more impressive.
To achieve such extraordinary pressure resistance, Rolex had to innovate the construction of the case. Like the experimental model, the new Deepsea Challenge features the Ringlock system. This patented case architecture enables the watch to withstand extreme pressure with a helium escape valve, which allows surplus gas to escape from the watch during a diver’s decompression phase, the Triplock crown, with three sealed zones, and a screw-down, ultra-thick caseback. Testing the water-resistance of this watch is yet another challenge (classic testing material isn’t designed for that), so Rolex specially developed, in partnership with Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises), an ultra-high-pressure tank capable of reproducing a test pressure equivalent to that exerted by water at a depth of 13,750 metres.
The Rolex Deepsea Challenge 126067 feels directly in line with the rest of the brand’s professional range. The design is classic, yet some notable elements are to be seen, such as the brushed sides with a polished bevel – a nod to vintage watches. The watch is, of course, equipped with a unidirectional bezel. Its 60-minute scale is engraved on a black Cerachrom insert and then filled with platinum. The Deepsea Challenge is worn on a 3-link Oyster bracelet in RLX titanium, with fully brushed surfaces (even the sides of the links) and is closed by an Oysterlock safety clasp with a Rolex Glidelock extension system and a Fliplock extension link.
The dial, framed by a metallic (functional) element, is once again a classic Rolex dive watch, with applied white gold markers and hands filled with Chromalight. The dial is an “intense black” colour and doesn’t have the traditional glossy finish but a matte surface. Under it is a movement from the standard range (no experimental parts needed here), the in-house Superlative Chronometer calibre 3230 – the same found in an Explorer or a no-date Submariner. This means 4Hz frequency, 70h power reserve and Chronergy escapement.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge reference 126067 is released as part of the permanent collection and will be available (relatively speaking) from November 2022. The price is EUR 25,750 or USD 26,000, which is certainly hefty on paper… But it allows you to wear one of the most insanely professional dive watches ever made. For more details, please visit www.rolex.com.
Yes but no … kind of pointless as that’s coming from a die-hard dive watch afficionado. Now what would have been a lot more impressive would have been to make it wearable!
Blah! Don’t see it! Lost interest in rolex, no matter what comes from them anymore. Can’t see becoming enthusiastic about anything they put out. They’re a marketing scheme, that’s all. You won’t find this available! They have an exclusive client list through and because of their ADs.
Sigue la guerra con Omega por el buzo definitivo. Aqui Rolex devuelve el golpe del Ultradeep. Pero creo que se les fué la olla con las cotas de caja y puede que sus exclusivos clientes no puedan con esta ancla de portaviones. En cambio, mi masiva muñeca y yo, lo usaríamos muertos de risa hasta para ir al mercado por viandas. Claro con dos maletas de dinero apareciendo de la nada por arte de magia.
Continue the war with Omega for the ultimate diver. Here Rolex hits back the blow to the Ultradeep. But I think they went overboard with the box dimensions and their exclusive clients may not be able to handle this aircraft carrier anchor. (Omega reached the bottom of the abyss with only 45 millimeters of case). Instead, my massive doll and I would use comfortably to go to the market for food. Ok, with two suitcases of money magically that appeared out of nowhere and having an AD to play tennis with.
Omega 6000WR is a technical achievement….Rolex 11000WR is simply marketing 🤔🤣🤣. Let the haters hate…🤷♂️. I will stay with my Deepsea JCE, and my Planet Ocean GMT. More than enough for Desk diving.
LOL!! The Bell & Ross Hydromax is STILL THE KING at 11100 Meters!!! Sleek and killer looking, I love my Hydromax and will always be the ONLY watch to be completely legible underwater. Try reading the Rolex underwater sideways…….
With his permission john weber. an oil-intoxicated quartz with deficient lume is in a different league. The real king is the Kalmar H2O tested at 25,000 meters WR in German hyper pressurized chamber.
Is this another preoccupation with who has the biggest measurement? Geeze, I thought boys grew out of that during puberty. What’s the point of this watch exactly?
That brushing on the titanium looks sick! I’m ready for 70th anniversary titanium submariner next year 😁
Not something my wrists could pull off. Maybe I could remove the bracelet and fix a long leather band and use it as a belt.
cant wait for the pagani design copy