Rolex Sea-Dweller Introduced in 1967

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The 1960s were a time of extensive oceanic exploration as advancements in technology allowed scientists to go further than ever before to explore the ocean depths. Henri G. Delouze founded the Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises, or COMEX, in 1961 in Marseille, France, to employ professional divers for industrial deep sea dives for oil rigs, gas companies and oceanographical research. 
photo of First Rolex Sea-Dweller, 1967
First Rolex Sea-Dweller, 1967 (photo: Rolex)
While Rolex had already introduced the Submariner model for professional divers, COMEX divers required a wristwatch with an improved depth rating. In 1967 Rolex introduced a small amount of Sea-Dwellers to meet these needs. The 1665 model, shown above, featured a helium escape valve that allowed helium to escape the case of the watch during decompression without damaging it. The 'Sea-Dweller' and 'Submariner 2000' lines on the dial were colored red, giving them the nickname 'Double Red' by collectors.

In 1978, they introduced reference 16660 equipped with a 3035 movement and a depth rating of 4,000 feet. They also improved the vibrational speed of the Sea-Dweller, increasing it from 19,800 bph to 28,800 bph. The next set of improvements to this model didn't come until 2008 when the Deepsea was introduced.

The legacies of the Submariner and Sea-Dweller live on today in the current models. While some changes have been made throughout the years, the spirit of oceanic exploration and innovation remains an integral part of their popularity.


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