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Poseidon's watch - 'Rolex Sea Dweller' LUEL NOVEMBER 2015

In the 1960s and 70s when diver watches were gaining popularity, most of them shared similar appearances and followed similar marketing strategy. With few exception all diver watches had the word 'sea' placed somewhere in their names, and showed off large-sized cases to get that 'professional' look. On top of that, scuba divers and marine animals of some sort were often engraved on their dials and casebacks. However it took more than just a shiny look to get the worthy approval of real world divers, who looked away from many of the self-appointed diver watches lacking proper technology. This quickly drove these empty watches out of the market. 

It was during such time that Rolex's diver watch successfully proven itself as a serious piece of diving equipment and became famous among real divers. Of other sister models from Rolex, Sea Dweller (as pictured) was the best in field performance.

Sea Dweller was born of a experimental deep-sea habitation program, 'SEALAB' by the US Navy in the 60's, when Rolex was selected to provide its watches for the program participants. However, when issued Submariner caused problems under harsh conditions despite its 200-meter waterproofness, Rolex decided to launch a collaboration project with the Navy to develop a new diver watch unofficially. Outcome was the new Sea Dweller model specially designed for military personnel and scientists who literally dwell under the sea, and one of its innovations was the Helium escape valve as we know it.


In the picture are various Sea Dwellers from 1960's to 1980's. Sea Dweller's proud history has been firmly established upon its continuous functional evolution from the earlier model 'double red', followed by the 'great white' and then onto the current version - now waterproof up to 4,000 feet deep. 

Although the 'double red' model is often criticized as a bubble in the vintage watch market ($20,000 more expensive than the 80's ordinary model, simply because of the red lettering), no one would argue that Sea Dweller deserves more than that in the face of its history of high performance.