In the 1960's, COMEX, an industrial deep-sea diving company, came to Rolex requesting a dive watch that could function deeper under water for a longer period of time. COMEX divers had begun servicing offshore oil rigs and needed a watch that could keep up with their demanding work. Rolex took the Submariner 5513 model and added a one-way escape valve on the side opposite the crown to relieve pressure. In 1967, this Rolex watch became its own model when Rolex released it as the Sea Dweller Ref. 1665. The watch used the 1575 movement and had a Triplock crown, a thicker profile crystal, a larger reinforced case, and an increased depth rating of 2,000 feet. Then, in 1978, the Ref. 16660 was introduced with the 3035 movement, a flat profile sapphire crystal, a new larger escape valve, and a depth rating of 4,000 feet. The Ref. 16600 came in 1992, then in 2008, the most recent model was introduced at BaselWorld: the Rolex Sea Dweller DEEPSEA Ref. 116660. This watch’s unofficial depth rating of 12,800 feet made it the most water resistant mechanical watch of the time. But you don’t have to be an avid diver to sport this hip model, as demonstrated by the celebs below.
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