Future Classic - The Cerachrom Sea-Dweller

“Rolex is full of surprises. In 2008 the 16600 Sea-Dweller was discontinued in favour of the 44mm, titanium backed, Deepsea. We all thought the classic 40mm model would never return, until in 2014, seemingly out of nowhere, the 116600 Cerachrom Sea-Dweller was launched.”

The new incarnation of the Sea-Dweller brought the classic model bang up to date, with the upgraded case construction, comfortable glidelock clasp and scratch-proof Cerachrom bezel. Water resistant to 4000ft, it happily occupied the territory between the Submariner Date and the Leviathan that is the Deepsea, all powered by the same rugged 3135 calibre movement.

Historically, sales of Sea-Dwellers have always been far surpassed by the classic Sub Date. The professional depth rating and Helium escape valve just never seemed to justify the extra cost and thickness in the eye of the general watch buying public. The 116600 did nothing to buck that trend, indeed, the extra £1200 cost at time of launch was a tough sell to anyone, except to dedicated SD fans (and maybe the odd professional diver!)

Compared to the classic Sub Date, sales continued to remain slow, until on March 22nd 2017 the 116600 Sea-Dweller surprised us all again and it suddenly became a much more important watch overnight. Only three years after it was launched, the 116600 had been discontinued in favour of the current 126600 ‘Super SD’, that measures a whopping 43mm, features a new generation of movements, and a neat vintage nod, with its brick red signature on the dial.

Three years, is nothing in the history of Rolex production (similar only to the über-rare 6240 screw-down Daytona models of the late 60’s) and accordingly prices of the 116600 jumped overnight and have steadily been tracking upwards ever since, gaining another £1,000 in the last 12 months.

This looks set to continue as more and more collectors become aware of just how short the production run of these comparatively rare sports watches really are.

The Cerachrom bezel should never fade over time and prove near impervious to damage. Also for the first time since the military Subs of the 1970’s the bezel on one of these 40mm dive tools featured a full 60 minute markers.

The Glidelock clasp and much upgraded divers extension link are key to the 116600’s divers credentials.

Blue-glowing Chromalight markers are a significant upgrade over the previous generations Tritium-then-Luminova dials.

The defining feature of a Sea-Dweller, the Helium Escape Valve, was originally developed in collaboration with COMEX.

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