Rolex Dive Watches – Information and History

Ask anyone to name four or five luxury goods brand and there’s a very good chance they will include Rolex in their list. Rolex – like many other superlative quality brands – has grown through innovation and design. Rolex succeed by bringing products to market where other brands fear to tread in case of failure. On this page we take a look at the Rolex Submariner and the Rolex Sea-Dweller (Deepsea)

All images are courtesy of Rolex Watches

Rolex dive watches for sale

Want to buy one? – our handpicked selection of Rolex Submariner and Rolex Sea-Dweller watches available from our ⭐ TRUSTED sellers ⭐. We only recommend dealers with exceptional levels of customer satisfaction and a feedback score of at least 99.9%. All purchases are covered by the comprehensive eBay Authenticity Guarantee

Hans Wilsdorf – 1905

Would the brand have been succesful with the name “Wilsdorf” on the watch’s dial? Who knows. Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex in 1905 – aged just 24. The original company was based in London – not Switzerland – and they specilised in distributing quality timepieces – primarily clocks. At that time wrist watches were rare and inaccurate. Wilsdorf was a visionary and he predicted the desirability of an accurate and attractive wrist watch.

Riding on the upper desk of an Omnibus in 1908 Wilsdorf was trying to think up a name for his new brand. He wanted it to be short and look good on the watch dial. According to Wilsdorf – “ROLEX” was the name whispered in his ear by a genie while riding the Omnibus – a brand name that now stands for quality, accuracy and innovation. More about the history and major milestones of Rolex through the ages can be found here

Rolex Submariner – a short history

The first Rolex dive watch was the Submariner. It first appeared in 1953. Over several decades the Rolex Submariner has been improved by engineering innovation. Newer models (since 2008) have been certified to a waterproofness of 300m (1220ft) and feature Rolex’s patended Cerachrom bezels – an incredibly tough ceramic substance that should outlast and outshine more traditional materials used by other brands.

A 40mm Rolex Submariner in Oystersteel with a 3130 self winding movement
Rolex Submariner Oyster 40mm equipped with calibre 3130 self-winding movement

The current models feature the Rolex Calibre 3130 self-winding mechanical movement. It can be hand wound if left unworn for several days. Following a full wind the calibre 3130 movement should provide accurate (within +/- 2 sec/day) timekeeping for up to 48 hours. Keep it on your wrist and it will run and run – wound by the perpetual rotor. Like all Rolex Oyster models the Submariner has passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests.

The stunning Rolex calibre 3130 found inside many Rolex Submariner watches
Perfection – the Rolex calibre 3130 as found in the Submariner model

Pre-owned Rolex Submariner Watch sales

A few stunning examples of Rolex Submariner watches currently available from our trusted sellers. These sellers have over 99.5% feedback from hundreds of sales and can be trusted to provide certified genuine Rolex watches at a sensible market price. All purchases over £2,000 are covered by the comprehensive eBay Authenticity Guarantee

How much to pay?

Expect to pay anything from £5,000 to £30,000 / $6,000 to $35,000 for a Rolex Submariner. The massive difference in price can be appointed to several factors including:

  • Provenance – the better the proof of authenticity / original ownership to more expensive the watch will be
  • Model variety – the Rolex Submariner is available with several case materials. The cheapest being Rolex Oystelsteel – then Oystersteel and Yellow Gold and finally White Gold
  • Rarity – some models are much rarer than others. We have seen models from the 1970’s sell for ver £25,000. Standard steel cased models but the harder to find NO DATE version, complete with box, papers and original jeweller’s receipt.
  • Do your research – this is a major investment. Research the specific model on websites such as and Narrow it down to a specific model number and year eg – “Rolex Submariner 116610LN Black”

Submariner models

The Rolex Submariner is currently available either with or without the date window. The case may be either Oystersteel, Oystersteel and Gold, all Gold or White Gold. The customer also has the option to configure thier own preferred Cerachrom bezel and watch face colour – options being black, blue or green.

Examples of recent Submariner models

The all green Rolex Submariner - aka the Hulk (116610LV)
Oystersteel Submariner Date 116610LV
A beautiful combination of Oystersteel and Gold on this Rolex Submariner 116613LB
Oystersteel & Gold Date 116613LB
All gold and black Rolex Submariner 116618LN
Gold Submariner Date 116618LN
Classic NO DATE - Rolex Submariner 114060 in Oystersteel and Black
Oysterseel Submariner 114060


Rolex Submariner 116610 Review

Dylan of Bijou Diamond Jewellery reviews the Rolex Submariner in Steel (ref. 116610)


Spotting a Fake Submariner – Two Rolex Submariner 116610LNs, one real, one not — can you spot the fake Rolex?


Rolex Sea-Dweller – history of the Deepsea watch

In 1967 in collaboration with COMEX – Rolex produced their first Sea-Dweller with helium escape valve. It was only in 1971 that this slayer of the deep was offered to the general public. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was initially certified to a depth of 610m. Today’s models have a waterproof rating of 1,220m (4,000ft) and 3,900m (12,800ft) – the latter being the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

The Deepsea version of Rolex Sea-Dweller with James Cameron inspired Blue to Black deepsea face
Rolex Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA – featuring calibre 3235 mechanical movement

James Cameron – Mr Deepsea

In 1960 Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh broke records when they reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep part of the Mariana Trench. Their vessel was called the Trieste – a 2 man deepsea “bathyscaphe” submersible. They achieved a maximum depth of 10,911 metres (35,797 ft)

In 2012 James Cameron completed an historic solo expedition also diving deep in to the Mariana Trench. His dive rewarded him with a place in the record books – World’s Deepest Solo Dive. He was accompanied (externally – attached to his submersible) by a Rolex Sea-Dweller. Inside his submersible – out of respect for his record breaking Trieste peers – he took a Rolex Deepsea Special watch from 1960.

Pre-owned Rolex Sea-Dwellers watch sales

A few stunning examples of Rolex Sea-Dweller dive watches available now from our trusted dealer. These sellers have 99.5%, or more, feedback from hundreds of sales. They can be trusted to provide certified authentic Rolex watches at a market sensitive price. All purchases over £2,000 are covered by the comprehensive eBay Authenticity Guarantee

Sea-Dweller models – most popular

A Rolex Sea-Dweller in Oystersteel, Gold and Black - 43mm case
Rolex Sea-Dweller – 43mm

A Rolex Sea-Dweller in Oystersteel and Black - 43mm case - RED LINE version
Rolex Sea-Dweller – 43mm

The dial on the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA is a homage to the film director. The colour gradient from brilliant deep blue to darkest black signifying the darkness experienced by James Cameron as he descended to a depth of 35,756 feet (10,898 meters) a depth unattainable anywhere else in the ocean .

Rolex Deepsea models (2020)

Driving the Rolex Deepsea is the calibre 3235 movement. A new-generation of movement developed and manufactured in-house by Rolex. The calibre 3235 is a self-winding mechanical movement – the forefront of the art of watchmaking. Innovative design – with 14 patents – offering extraordinary levels of precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism (being made of nickel-phosphorus – a material insensitive to magnetic interference.)

The Rolex Calibre 3235 movement found in many Rolex Sea-Dweller dive watches
The calibre 3235 movement found in the Rolex Deepsea
Rolex Sea-Dweller "Deepsea" version with date and no bubble
Rolex Deepsea – D-Blue dial – 3900m
Classic Rolex Sea-Dweller version with no date bubble and all black / Oystersteel case & bracelet
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea – 3900m

Beware Fakes

Unfortunately the most desirable products are often those most copied. No one wants to waste many thousands of dollars on a FAKE watch worth little more than $200/$400. The quality of the counterfeit watches is improving all the time. Please take note of Watchfinder’s article on Fake Rolex. We have also embeded a couple of useful videos – JustBlueFish – Spotting a Fake Sea-Dweller and – can you tell which is the fake Submariner.

Sea-Dweller Videos

Bob’s watches – 116660 Sea-Dweller review

Bob’s Watches – Rolex Sea Dweller “James Cameron” 116660B Watch video review 


JustBlueFish – spotting a Fake Sea-Dweller

How to Spot a Fake Rolex – Myths and MIsinformation on the JustBlueFish YouTube channel, home of high quality wristwatch and horology related reviews and videos. 5 Ways You Can Help JustBlueFish


Expect to pay

Expect to pay anything from £7,000 to £30,000 / $8,000 to $35,000 for a Rolex Sea-Dweller. The wide price differential can be appointed to several factors including:

  • Provenance – you will pay more for uneqivocal proof of authenticity / original ownership.
  • Model variety – with several case materials – the cheapest Sea-Dweller features the Rolex Oystelsteel case- then Oystersteel & Yellow Gold and finally the most expensive White Gold
  • Rarity – some models are simply rarer than others. The lowest production runs usually attract the highest prices. For example a Rolex Comex Sea-Dweller 1665 could fetch anything around £90,000 / $100,000
  • Do your research – get to be an expert on the model you’re looking to purchase. Use websites such as and Narrow it down to a specific model number and year eg – “Rolex Sea Dweller Deepsea D Blue James Cameron 126660”

Authorised Rolex UK dealer

Our online shopping partner is an authorised Rolex dealer. Shop with confidence at Goldsmiths. Relax with the assurance of a genuine Rolex Sea-Dweller or Submariner watch from an authorised dealer

This is what our shopping partners say about the Omega Seamaster range

“Rolex watches are crafted from the finest raw materials and assembled with scrupulous attention to detail. Every component is designed, developed and produced to the most exacting standards.

External references / further reading