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The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is the first Rolex I’m allowed to test here on my blog! Since 1967 already, the deep-sea diver watch is a constant in the assortment of the luxury manufacturer. This model was provided to me by the luxury watch specialist Horando. Rarely have I been so excited about a new watch….
Everything you need to know about Horando
The online portal www.horando.de/en has become one of the most important stores for luxury watches in German-speaking countries and is the place to go if you want to buy watches quickly and safely. At Horando you will find watches from brands such as Audemars Piguet, IWC, Breitling, Omega, Hublot, Rolex, Panerai, Tag Heuer, Tudor and Ulysse Nardin. Horando is also the official concessionaire and authorized dealer of the brands Alpina, Frederique Constant Geneve and U-BOAT Italo Fontana.
Of course, all watches are originals. Manufacturer’s warranties, certificates and original packaging are therefore always included, if available. Internationally, the delivery is made by insured value shipping. Who appreciates the personal contact, can also take his watch from the pick-up lounge in Bamberg. If you want to sell your watch, Horando will buy and certify it. Thus they offer new watches as well as so called Certified Pre-Owned watches for sale.
As a full-service provider, they also offer their HORANDO watch service in addition to the existing range. A convenient online solution to have repairs and maintenance services performed in an uncomplicated way.
This model of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red was kindly provided by Horando for an extensive review including watch photography. All important links to the watch and the online store can be found at the end of this review.
The history of the Rolex Sea-Dweller
A “wristwatch for the conquest of the deep” – that’s how Rolex describes the Sea-Dweller. A glance at the watch’s black dial shows that they are not understating the case. The diver’s watch is water-resistant to a depth of 1220 meters (4000 feet). This means that the Sea-Dweller is only surpassed internally by the Deepsea, which is similar in construction (3900 meters maximum diving depth) and makes other Swiss diving watches look old.
The first Rolex Sea-Dweller (then with the reference 1665) was launched in 1967. Its introduction was the result of the invention of the helium valve by Rolex in collaboration with the French diving company Comex. The helium valve allowed for significantly greater diving depths. Visually as well as historically, the Sea-Dweller is a descendant of Rolex’s most famous diving watch, the Submariner. The model is still considered ‘the diver’s watch’ par excellence and has found countless imitators since its release. The Rolex Sea-Dweller also shows its kinship to the icon. Initially equipped with water resistance to a depth of 610 meters, the Swiss luxury watchmaker has since cautiously but steadily developed its deep-sea diver.
Over the past decades, Rolex has launched Sea-Dweller models with different dials. Nowadays, different lettering, font types, colors and lighting techniques determine the value of a pre-owned Sea-Dweller. Well-preserved vintage models in original condition fetch prices beyond good and evil.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red – what’s new?
My test watch today with reference number 126600 is from 2019 and belongs to the latest generation of the Rolex Sea-Dweller, which was released for the 50th anniversary in 2017. Since its market launch four years ago, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red presents itself with three major innovations. First, Rolex prints the name lettering in red on the dial again, which also explains the name addition. Also, the certified chronometer has received Rolex’s signature cyclops magnifier at 3 o’clock for the first time. The most visually striking change, however, concerns the case dimensions, which have now grown by 3 millimeters to 43 millimeters – a real cut in the history of the Sea-Dweller. How these changes affect the design and prestige of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red, I want to find out in the test. I am curious!
The Rolex Fever
Premiere for Rolex at WATCHDAVID® – and what a one! Anyone who has held a Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red in their hands for the first time understands why the model and, more importantly, the brand itself are so prestigious. The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red seems (at least at first glance) to be a watch in perfection. It starts with the iconic design of the wristwatch, making the Sea-Dweller look like a larger edition of the Submariner from afar. The dial, bezel and the sporty Oyster case, including the stainless steel bracelet, are crafted with the utmost precision and give an idea that the good reputation of Rolex watches does not come by chance. Opposite the crown, the helium valve is installed, the invention of which made the construction of the deep-sea diver watch possible in the first place.
An initial interim conclusion: anyone who has ever held a watch from the traditional Swiss manufacturer in their hands will be gripped by “Rolex fever”.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red on the wrist
Hands on! On the wrist, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red exudes a finely tuned blend of elegance, sportiness, prestige and exclusivity. One thing is clear: anyone who wears one of these rare luxury watches conveys taste, success and the values just mentioned. Only a few watch brands and models trigger these versatile associations. A Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is without a doubt one of them.
With the generation change in 2017, Rolex seems to have listened to its customers. They had been asking for a larger case for quite some time. At 43 millimeters, the dimensions of the watch have visibly changed, so that the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red now lies between the Submariner with 40 millimeters and the Deepsea with 44 millimeters in the internal size comparison. The decisive difference to the slightly larger offshoot lies in the height, which is 15 millimeters for the Sea-Dweller, which is why the wristwatch sits flatter on the wrist. The height remains unchanged compared to its predecessor, despite the increased diameter.
Deep-sea proven: the case
The Sea-Dweller name is closely associated with the deep sea and the desire to reach greater diving depths. Rolex’s latest diving experiment to date, the Sea-Dweller Deepsea Challenge, took place in 2012 and was marked by great public interest. Film director James Cameron dove to a depth of nearly 10900 meters in the Mariana Trench with a special Sea-Dweller attached to a submarine.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red does not achieve such records, even though the 4000 feet, or 1220 meters, diving depth that gives it its name is also impressive. The watch achieves this value thanks to its massive Oyster case. At Rolex, the name Oyster stands for waterproof cases to a depth of at least 100 meters. This is realized with a compact monobloc middle section, a screw-down case back and screw-down crown. Rolex’s Oystersteel is extremely high quality 904L stainless steel; an alloy that is particularly resistant to corrosion and is therefore mainly used in aerospace or high-tech industries. The surfaces are polished as well as satin-finished, giving the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red a sporty appearance.
Unlike some other watches, the caseback design is kept simple and minimalistic. The circular lettering has been engraved into the caseback with a precision that I have rarely seen before.
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red bezel, watch crystal and crown.
The bezel, made of Rolex-developed Cerachrom, is a true diving bezel that rotates unidirectionally counterclockwise, making it perfect for reading dive and decompression times. A 60-minute graduation on the number disc allows the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red to be taken on dives up to one hour. The numerals on the number disc have been plated with platinum in the manufacturing process. Thanks to the cleanly engaging clicks and the fluted sides, the bezel is particularly easy to operate. Especially under water, this is crucial.
The watch glass, including the cyclops magnifier, protrudes over the edge of the bezel with a slight curvature. As befits its status, it is made of scratch-resistant sapphire, whose pressure and shock resistance protect the dial from external influences. The clear legibility of the time deserves special praise. This also applies to the cyclops magnifier, which now enlarges the date window of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red. Previously, this was more a hallmark of the Submariner.
I press the winding crown to wind Rolex’s manufacture movement, the caliber 3235 for the first time. As I do so, I notice the three dots under the crown logo. They stand for the so-called Triplock triple crown seal. The winding crown itself can be operated without complications. The crown protection, which consists of two protrusions on the case, is useful.
Caliber 3235 – a movement of superlatives
The caliber 3235 has been installed in Rolex’s wristwatches since 2015, replacing the 3135 on which it was based. At market launch, the Sea-Dweller was the first sports model to feature the new generation of the self-winding manufacture caliber. The manufacturer registered no less than 14 patents during the development of the movement. This pioneering work is paying off. In terms of precision, the 3235 is unrivaled. With a rate accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is certified as a chronometer by the independent Swiss testing body COSC.
In addition to accuracy, high shock resistance and insensitivity to magnetic fields ensure a long life. Rolex states a five-year warranty. With a maximum power reserve of about 70 hours, the 3235 proves to be a real workhorse, hanging out most of the competition.
The functions of the caliber are quickly explained. In addition to hour, minute, and second displays, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red features an automatic date change including quick correction. The second hand can be stopped for setting the time to the second.
The dial of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red
Does the perfect dial exist? Rolex can answer that question with ‘yes’. Because those attributes pretty much describe what you see when you glance at your wrist to tell the time. Since the introduction of the first Sea-Dweller in 1967, Rolex hasn’t changed much about the iconic black dial – and rightly so. Many people probably think of this look when they think of the typical diver’s watch. With its circular indices, pared-down and functional design language, and optimal readability reserved for Professional models at Rolex, the manufacturer has defined the typical diver’s watch look for decades.
The Chromalight display makes the dial of the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red glow in the dark. According to Rolex, the Chromalight indices shine evenly bright for up to eight hours at a time. That’s significantly longer than most other watches. For most fans of the brand, however, the reintroduced red lettering is likely to be one of the highlights.
Functional and elegant: the Oyster strap
Finally, let’s take a look at the bracelet. Rolex equips its Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red with the classic Oyster bracelet that characterizes its sports models. The three-link stainless steel bracelet can be opened and adjusted on the Oysterlock safety folding clasp with bail. The precise adjustment of the length is done by the Glidelock system, which can extend the bracelet in 10 steps. Also characteristic is the Fliplock element, another extension that allows the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red to fit comfortably over any wetsuit.
Rolex manages to install the extension functions intelligently and space-saving in the bracelet, so that it loses nothing in elegance.
My conclusion about the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red
The mission “in search of my dream watch” goes into the next round. And one thing is for sure: the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is a real contender for the title. Rolex’ deep sea diver is one of the most luxurious and beautiful diving watches I have ever worn on my wrist. If you compare the individual components such as case, movement and dial with the competition, you have to acknowledge without envy that the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is even better finished in all corners, has higher quality materials and thus sets the standards. Exemplary for this is the caliber 3235, which can convince all around with its qualities as an all-rounder in the test.
Compared to its predecessor, Rolex has made a number of changes to make the Sea-Dweller more attractive. The increased diameter follows the trend of increasingly larger diving watches. The cyclops magnifying glass, which has always been the distinguishing feature of a Rolex watch, is finally used here as well. Last but not least, the red lettering is reminiscent of the first Sea-Dweller from 1967.
Thus, in my opinion, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 Single Red is a real alternative to the omnipresent Submariner. The watch for the deep sea is more masculine, much less often seen on the wrist and has better diving qualities than the reference of diving watches.
Currently Horando calls a price of 13.990,- euros. The watch comes with the original box and all important papers. Finally, my thanks once again to Horando, who made this test possible for me!