To tell the truth, Rolex did not make a regular 40 mm Sea-Dweller in the past few years. On the contrary, the 44 mm Sea-Dweller Deep Sea was offered, which offered users a completely insane, 12,800-foot depth rating. Even though the Sea-Dweller Deep Sea offered users unparalleled water resistance, its enlarged case made for a significant presence on the wrist, and many purists yearned for a contemporary Sea-Dweller that more closely followed the design of the original model.
For those that felt somewhat alienated by the Sea-Dweller Deep Sea, the amazing fake watch came as a relief, as it sported the exact same case diameter as the very first Sea-Dweller from 1967. Although the reference 116600 stood for the contemporary equivalent of the classic 40 mm Sea-Dweller, it also received all of Rolex’s latest and greatest technologies such as their Glidelock clasp and Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel insert.
However, Rolex released their new Sea-Dweller reference 126600 this year. At 43 mm in diameter and with a Cyclops magnification lens, the new reference 126600 is an important departure from the classic 40 mm Sea-Dweller that preceded it. What’s more, the new caliber 3235 that powers the reference 126600 is of the new generation of Rolex movements, only further separating it from the various Sea-Dweller references that it replaces.
Even though the reference 116600 holds a relatively important place within Sea-Dweller history, much of its importance is a direct result of Rolex’s determination to stop its production. Retail sales at authorized dealers were somewhat lackluster, and the incredibly short production span of just three years led to significantly fewer examples on the pre-owned market than most of the replica Rolex’s other sport model references.
The introduction of the reference 126600 marks the end of the classic 40 mm Sea-Dweller, which ultimately makes the previous reference 116600 somewhat unique among the various Sea-Dweller references. Apart from being the last Sea-Dweller with a 40 mm case diameter, it is also the only 40 mm Sea-Dweller reference to have ever been fitted with a Cerachrom bezel insert.
However, the reference 116600 is very much the final iteration of the classic, tried and true Sea-Dweller design in all respects. Powered by the replica Rolex venerable caliber 3135 movement, the reference 116600 adheres to a highly versatile 40 mm in case diameter, while an extra thick, Cyclops-less crystal protects the ultra-legible, monochromatic dial underneath.
For those that love the look and feel of the classic 40 mm Sea-Dweller, the reference 116600 is the best contemporary equivalent that incorporates all of the fake Rolex’s newest technologies and proprietary materials in a proven and familiar feeling package.