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Old 24 February 2008, 09:34 AM   #1
Tools
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The Rolex Sea Dweller

The Sea-Dweller came about from a perceived need to have a robust dive watch that could withstand depths encountered by submersible divers, and also automatically release pressure of helium molecules that build up inside the watch after deep dives in helium rich breathing mixtures.

Original Sea-Dwellers were modified Submariners and command high premiums in todays vintage market.
-----------------
. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was the first model in the sport's line to get SEL's (Solid End Links).
. The HEV (Helium Valve) is made of Titanium.
. The SD was the only watch to have an engraving on the edge of the caseback ("Rolex Oyster - Original Gas Escape Valve"). Now, with the Milgauss, there exist two Rolex models with caseback engravings (the Milgauss stating "Milgauss" on the edge of the caseback).


Sea-Dweller Reference Numbers: 5514,1665,16600

Date of production: prototypes in 1967 with regular production 1971 to present

Movement: 3135 since 1989

Case size: 40mm

Weight: 147 grams

Power Reserve: ~44 hours

Photographs

(Photos courtesy of Mike)






Links:

http://doubleredseadweller.com/index.htm

Last edited by Tools; 1 April 2010 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: Contributors: Larry, Mike, Bo
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Old 15 April 2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Which is more desirable dial of the 16600, the tritium or the superluminova?

TIA,
SP
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Old 29 April 2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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great reading thanks
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Old 29 April 2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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Old 5 May 2009, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tools View Post
The Sea-Dweller came about from a perceived need to have a robust dive watch that could withstand depths encountered by submersible divers, and also automatically release pressure of helium molecules that build up inside the watch after deep dives in helium rich breathing mixtures.

Original Sea-Dwellers were modified Submariners and command high premiums in todays vintage market.
-----------------
. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was the first model in the sport's line to get SEL's (Solid End Links).
. The HEV (Helium Valve) is made of Titanium.
. The SD was the only watch to have an engraving on the edge of the caseback ("Rolex Oyster - Original Gas Escape Valve"). Now, with the Milgauss, there exist two Rolex models with caseback engravings (the Milgauss stating "Milgauss" on the edge of the caseback).


Sea-Dweller Reference Numbers: 5514,1665,16600

Date of production: prototypes in 1967 with regular production 1971 to present

Movement: 3135 since 1989

Case size: 40mm

Power Reserve: ~44 hours

Photographs

(Photos courtesy of Mike)






Links:

http://doubleredseadweller.com/index.htm
Great info
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Old 14 May 2009, 03:31 PM   #6
exxondus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superformance View Post
Which is more desirable dial of the 16600, the tritium or the superluminova?

TIA,
SP
i think that depends on the individual.

I personally like the way tritium can age and turn yellow over the years.

Superluminoa on the other hand, will mainly remain white regardless of age.
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Old 14 May 2009, 06:01 PM   #7
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very nice pictures
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Old 4 June 2009, 10:11 PM   #8
lespaul
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Hi!
I just bought a Sea Dweller v-series...It didn't come with the toolkit...Does anybody knows if that is ok? They told me tha V-series didnt have toolkit...Is that true?
Thanks!
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Old 15 June 2009, 03:20 AM   #9
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Re Sea Dweller V Toolkit

Yes -It should have come with a toolkit - look for Sea Dwellers for sale elsewhere in the forum and you will see pictures of them.
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Old 18 June 2009, 09:11 PM   #10
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I found out that the retailer didn't gave me the toolkit by mistake...I got it today finally. Thanks PhilK! :)
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Old 28 June 2009, 11:44 PM   #11
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does anyone know what movement might be expected in a 1979 sd?
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Old 2 July 2009, 12:22 AM   #12
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does anyone know what movement might be expected in a 1979 sd?
Err buddy DiverE...in 1979...2 SD models were being sold...

Ref 1665 SD with plastic crystal..."2000ft=610m" depth rating was nearing its end of production...with Cal.1570 movement.
Ref 16660 SD with Sapphire crystal..."4000ft=1220m" depth rating had just been introduced...with Cal. 3035 movement.

Hopes the above helps...
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Old 9 July 2009, 06:00 AM   #13
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You forgot the Ref. 16660...Originally with a Matt Dial with Saphire Crystal.....
It then went to a Gloss dial with White Gold surrounds and a Saphire Crytsal before becoming the 16600 with Luminova instead of tritium.....
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Old 17 July 2009, 11:10 AM   #14
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That is such a beautiful piece! I would love to own one for my first purchase!
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Old 18 July 2009, 11:45 AM   #15
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Great article!!!! The 16600 was my first Rolex and its history inspired me to go on a life-long vintage journey!
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Old 25 July 2009, 11:34 PM   #16
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I have a Sea-dweller from 1996. The Tritium stopped glowing and I'd like to replace it with a Luminova dial and Luminova hands. Does anyone know if this will decrease the value -- since the Luminova dials weren't out till around circa 2000?

Also, does the Sea-dweller crystal have the etched Rolex "Coronet"?
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Old 26 July 2009, 02:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by redsoxn View Post
I have a Sea-dweller from 1996. The Tritium stopped glowing and I'd like to replace it with a Luminova dial and Luminova hands. Does anyone know if this will decrease the value -- since the Luminova dials weren't out till around circa 2000?

Also, does the Sea-dweller crystal have the etched Rolex "Coronet"?
Err buddy...IF it suits you better with Luminova...you can get the correct replacement with RSC...(perhaps you can also convince RSC that you wanna keep the original Tritium Dial n Hands).

Value wise...collectors would prefer the watch to be in its original state as possible. The decision is entirely up to you.

Your 1996 Sd would not have the etched coronet on its Sapphire crystal...originally.

Hopes that helps...
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Old 9 August 2009, 05:31 AM   #18
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Orchi -- that does help, thank you!

Do you happen to know when Rolex started using the etched Coronet on the Sea-dwellers?
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Old 9 August 2009, 11:17 AM   #19
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Larry, I thought the SD was a little less wide than the Sub, like 39mm. Did I get the wrong end of the stick?
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Old 11 August 2009, 04:33 AM   #20
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the etched crown on the crystal, iirc first started in watches shipped in 99-00. they kinda overalpped. BTW if you got your sapphire crystal replaced during service the crown will have an "s" in the eye @ the bottom of the coronet.
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Old 7 September 2009, 05:34 PM   #21
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OK that's it. I've decided to get a Sea-Dweller 16600 (Not Deep Sea). I have a few questions though. If I get one of the latest ones ever produced will it have a ceramic bezel or aluminium like the one in the pictures seen here?
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Old 7 September 2009, 08:21 PM   #22
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Congrats on your decision Nicholas! I believe that you'll be quite pleased.

To answer your question, no, there will not be a ceramic bezel or insert, even up to the "M" or "Z" serial numbers. Throughout the Sea Dweller's 30+ years, it remained an all-stainless steel case and bezel.

I'm equally sure that if my info is bad, one of the experts will be along shortly to set us to rights ...

Cheers!
Bill
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Old 12 September 2009, 02:21 AM   #23
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Two more questions please.

a) Does the 16600 use '904L' steel?
b) Does it have a 'parachrome blue' spring?

Thanks!
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Old 12 September 2009, 11:16 AM   #24
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Two more questions please.

a) Does the 16600 use '904L' steel?
b) Does it have a 'parachrome blue' spring?

Thanks!

a= yes
b= No - there is no proof of this.

Good luck with your new one. I'm considering the same. My AD has 3 left
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Old 14 September 2009, 05:17 PM   #25
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Got the LAST one in KL! I was informed that this was the very last 16600 left at the local Rolex authorised dealer. They kept it for me since last week and apparently there were a few enquiries and at least two other people who wanted it!
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Old 15 September 2009, 04:46 AM   #26
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Old 18 September 2009, 11:11 PM   #27
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As promised ...



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Old 19 September 2009, 08:09 AM   #28
scudracer
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Thanks 9166. I was a bit worried about blowing so much $ on a watch especially in the current economic climate but, the best time to buy a Rolex is always 'now' due to the ever-increasing prices and most of all because this was the last one left in stock.

Yeah that target sheet was an early one it's much better now at 10m. Was pulling the trigger the wrong way and jerking it. Everythings a 9 or 10 now. Might move to 15m soon.

A few things I don't quite like about the SD though.
1) Hands are shiny and reflect surroundings. They should be matt white. Notice that in the pics the seconds hand can hardly be seen.
2) Watch/Dial is too small (29mm?). Wouldn't hurt to be a little larger.
3) Clasp is made of thin stamped steel and has a stamped-in 'fake bracelet link' pattern. I guess they've fixed this with the new DSSD clasp. I wonder if we can fit that onto the 16600?

Hmmm!
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Old 21 September 2009, 12:53 AM   #29
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All the Rolex hands are made in the Rolex factory using white gold. They all look the same across many models. The smaller dial may have something to do with the greater depth rating. Notice how thick the crystal is.The subs have thinner crystal. Must agree with your on the bracelet. I don't think the DSSD bracelet can go onto the SD though they both have the same 20mm lugs. Maybe you can check with Rolex Malaysia in Menara Dion.

Which range do you do your shooting? UIT?
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Old 21 September 2009, 02:56 AM   #30
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The DSSD has a 21mm lug width.. the bracelets are not interchangeable with the standard SeaDweller.
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