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Rolex Submariner

Nothing explains Rolex’s present reputation as the unrivaled leader in fine watchmaking than its dive watches. The pride of this watchmaker majorly rests on two elements: 

  • The brand’s timeless designs shown in its major products 
  • Rolex’s prevalent versatility displayed in everything the brand creates. 

Majorly, virtually every of the brand’s offerings delivers double duty seamlessly. This means they are strong and competent enough to function as your daily timepiece. Also, they possess tasteful designs enough to go with simply any outfit at all.

The question now is what makes any of these Rolex dive watches different from the other? 

From a simple look, these watches seem almost indistinguishable. This impression is not far from reality as they do share several of their features. Nevertheless, each wrist watch comes with its traits and abilities. 

Therefore, there are sufficient differences between these two dive watches. Enough differences to make an extensive comparison possible. 

In this article, we trace every single detail worthy of note about these two top Rolex dive watches. Welcome to the world of amazing water resistance; the world of the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner.

Rolex Sea-Dweller wristwatch

Major Differences Between The Sea-Dweller And The Submariner

  • Sizing

The Sea-Dweller is bigger with a 43mm measurement. The Submariner comes in a smaller size of 40mm.

  • Water Resistance Capacity

The Sea-Dweller comes with a rather greater depth rating set at 1220 meters. While the Submariner has a lesser depth rating set at 300 meters.

  • Bracelet

The Sea-Dweller captions the Flip-lock extension link while the Submariner features the more conventional Glide-lock extension system.

  • Movement

The Sea-Dweller headlines the Caliber 3235 movement. The Submariner, on the other hand, comes with the Caliber 3135 movement.

  • Power Reserve

The Sea-Dweller possesses an increased power reserve set at 70-hours. For the Submariner, the power reserve is lower lasting only approximately 48-hours.

The History Of The Rolex Dive Watches

One of Rolex dive watches

These two Rolex dive watches, the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller have fused histories. Yet, the Sea-Dweller enjoyed the position of being a more developed and competent model. The water resistance capacity says a lot in this regard.

  • The History Of The Submariner

The Submariner was the first of the two Rolex dive watches. It hit the market on general sale one year after its creation in 1953. But how did this watch come to be? 

Rolex noticed a gap in the dive watches area of the watchmaking industry and decided to maximize it. In this light, Rolex board member Rene-Paul Jeanneret collaborated with Cousteau. This collaboration created a timepiece ready to serve.

As expected, the result was a stainless steel timepiece with aesthetic brilliance and exceptional competence. In a bid to make sure it possesses an outstanding water resistance capacity, Rolex made an upgrade. 

This saw the existing screw-down crown design feature a pair of O-ring gaskets that generate two internal sealed zones. That further protected the upgrade from any moisture intrusion. Rolex named their new system, the Twin-lock.

Moreover, as an already desirable timepiece by the 60s, it could only get better. Later on, the watch attained legendary status after Sean Connery sported the watch in the James Bond movie, Dr. No. It further features Bond’s go-to timepiece for several other outings afterward.

Furthermore, this watch continues to develop. First, it was a date function. Then, it tripled its water-resistance capacity to 300 meters. Also, it added a bunch of new colors and metal varieties, including solid gold editions.

Finally, its most recent edition, introduced in 2020, featured a rise in size. The size is now a somewhat restrained 41mm.

Overall, the Rolex Submariner remains the benchmark for luxury dive watches presently in the industry. This is one timepiece with several endless emulations but no watch betters it.

  • The History Of The Sea Dweller

The Sea-Dweller is a product of the collaboration between Rolex and a professional outfit. This professional outfit needed a watch to perform a special function. Rolex worked together with French commercial diving specialists, COMEX to create this timepiece.

Simply put, COMEX needed a way for their gas to escape safely. Hence, they sought the help of Rolex. On the flip side, Rolex partnered with fellow Swiss brand Doxa. Jointly, they developed the HEV or if you like Helium Escape Valve

In simple words, the HEV is a tiny, spring-loaded one-way control. It comes in the case at the nine o’clock position. It opens as soon as the pressure inside the watch is more than the ambient. This gives room for the helium to safely evacuate the case. Therefore, the watch and diver decompress all at once.

Fast forward to 2017, Rolex celebrated the Sea Dweller’s 50th anniversary with a huge adjustment. Rolex improved the model’s sizes to 43mm on the new version, the ref. 126600. 

In essence, the bigger size helped to distinguish the timepiece visually from the Submariner. Plus, the latest version got a Cyclops lens of its own. This is one addition that excited several purists. Most persons had different opinions on the unveiling of the ref. 126603 in 2019. This was the maiden edition of the two-tone Sea-Dweller. It was like launching the one-time king of the oceans in a rather corporate version.

With the Sea-Dweller, the mixture of grand styling and fierce potentials makes it stand out. When you check out all-around luxury dive watches out there presently, this timepiece is top-of-the-rank.

Submariner Vs Sea-Dweller: Aesthetic Quality

We can predict the reaction when Rolex launched the earliest version of Submariner. We can say with confidence that the rest of the industry felt this is exactly how dive watches should be.

That introduction must have set in stone what will be the main formula onwards. from that point. Hence, the brand simply saw no need to meddle with it in the creation of the Sea Dweller timepiece.

More so, these two Rolex dive watches seem very similar. Most of the aesthetic qualities featured by these two dive watches basically exemplify their similarity. These two pieces are the double-duty timepieces Rolex truly wanted. 

Yet, there can be some differences. The most striking of them becomes obvious once you have these timepieces on your wrist. Excluding the Cyclops lens, at approximately 15.25mm, the Sea-Dweller is narrowly thicker than the Submariner. Additionally, it comes in a larger diameter with a difference of 2mm.

These two Rolex dive watches are not just the archetype for what dive watches should be. They hold their prestige in better aesthetics as well. Their basic form rests solidly in our minds. This is usually the picture that comes up when we think of dive watches.

Submariner Vs Sea-Dweller: Array Of Varieties In Dive Watches

the submariner

Initially, these dive watches were solely products of stainless steel. That was the material that befits their tool-like images. 

But this changed at the close of the 1960s. With the Submariner at least, the coming of the ref. 1680/8 was the first time the watch came in 18k yellow gold. Afterward, there was a two-tone Rolesor model. 

Not long after that came the next generation. Both this new generation and the all-gold version came with either blue or black bezels and dials. Recent editions of these Rolex dive watches still feature in the modern roster, alongside others.

The Sea-Dweller does not have any of these confusions. This timepiece is always featured as a more crucial offering. When it all began in 1967, it was a steel-only product. This went on up until 2019. That year, the ref. 126603 appeared in its two-tone Rolesor getup. 

Basically, those are the only two versions available presently. They do not have any of the color variations its other part has. Not minding the type of metal used, the bezels and dials are black on both Sea-Dweller versions.

Overall, any recent Submariner or Sea-Dweller you buy should appear brand-new for as long as you use it. The only odds of any change will be in cases of scratches or scuffs to the metal itself. Aside from that, you can use these watches long enough with their aesthetic qualities fully in shape. 

Submariner Vs Sea-Dweller: Functions And Water Resistance 

Excellent water resistance capacity from the sea-dweller

Considering how deeply rooted their functionality are, the Submariner and Sea-Dweller are somewhat basic time-and-date timepieces. The only exception will be the no-date Submariner. 

In this area, the only vital difference is the watch’s depth underwater or their water resistance capacity. These dive watches still go on to tell you the time and what day it is regardless.

First off, the Submariner came with a design from the outset that embraced recreational diving. More so, with its 300m water resistance capacity, it was clearly way beyond expectations. This is far from anything the majority of wristwatch enthusiasts will ever witness. 

However, the intrinsic strength had to attain a rating. That rating more or less confirms it to be impenetrable by water. It is the watch for any of your daily activities.

On the other hand, the Sea-Dweller is relatively on a different level. This timepiece came in an era even before dive computers. That time, a durable timepiece could truly tell the difference between life and death especially for saturation crews. This wristwatch will keep telling the time at 1,220m, or 4,000ft. This water resistance capacity is no joke!

The Bracelet Of Both Dive Watches

Here is another difference between these two dive watches. This pertains to the watch’s bracelet. For each timepiece, there is a standard Rolex three-link Oyster. 

On one hand, the Submariner comes with a lug-to-lug width of 21mm on the latest version. While the Sea-Dweller’s is 22mm. Moreover, both dive watches have the masterful Glide-lock system. This system gives room for roughly 20mm of extension in 2mm gaps.

Regardless, the stainless steel edition of the Sea-Dweller again features the Flip-lock extension. This provides an extra 26mm to fit the timepiece over your sleeves.

Ultimately, the respective capacities of these Rolex dive watches are peculiar to each wearer. Clearly, both dive watches far surpass anything that you might ever meet.

Submariner Vs Sea-Dweller: Movements

Although it was not immediate, yet, Rolex finally added to the Submariner the exact next-generation movement in the present Sea-Dweller. This happened in 2017. This movement is the Caliber 3235. It sits pretty inside both Rolex dive watches.

Meanwhile, note that this movement came as a replacement for the iconic Caliber 3135. The latter was the most widely-used and flourishing movement made by Rolex.

Essentially, this new mechanism was beyond an informal upgrade. This change pretty much displaced or restored about 90% of the Cal. 3135’s elements. These changes include integrating the revolutionary Chronergy escapement. 

Furthermore, Cal. 3235 emerges following the time-honored Rolex decree. It does as much as conceivable with the limited amount of parts. With this, it guarantees that there is little or nothing to go wrong.

More so, it is a physically huge movement. That as well adds to the amount of intrinsic strength it parades as a superior movement. 

Excellent water resistance capacity from the sea-dweller

Conclusion: Rolex Dive Watches With Awesome Water Resistance Capacity Amidst Other Perks 

These all make up our comparison between two of the most prominent, honored, and highly sought-after dive watches. They hold this pedigree in this or any other era. 

Essentially, whatever choice you make between these two will most likely boil down to you. It might be the one that appears better on your wrist. Regardless, there is no doubt the Sea-Dweller is the larger one of these dive watches.

Plus, it has a solidity that motivates limitless assurance in its capacity to endure just about anything.

On the flip side, the Submariner continues to be the embodiment of an understated yet adaptable sports timepiece. Trust me, you cannot have any issue rocking it with any outfit. 

Additionally, thanks to the latest return to its prior slender form, little is left to be desired. The watch simply improved its all-around versatility too. This is the exemplary beach-to-boardroom wristwatch.

Conclusively, there is no wrong pick. Our recommendation is to choose the one that interests you the most. Go for any of these Rolex dive watches that suit your lifestyle the most. 


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