At Baselworld 2017, enthusiast take their attention back to the various vintage Rolex dive watches that have red text on their dials since the reference 126600 Rolex Sea-Dweller was launched, actually all of which are now highly popular for collectors. It is the Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller that is the rarest and most valuable significantly among these timepieces. While, with all of the talk about the different “red text” Rolex dive watches, the rare extent of the Single Red Sea-Dweller (and the details behind what makes this watch so special) can sometimes be ignored or buried within the rest of the seemingly negligible, but ever-so-important vintage Rolex details.
For those who are totally unfamiliar with this holy grail of vintage replica Rolex watches collecting, here is a brief introduction of what exactly makes the Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller so special, and why collectors are willing to pay crazy prices for them whenever they will try their best to surface at auction.
As far as we know, there are only about a dozen Single Red Sea-Dweller watches existed at present. Though both the Red Submariner and Double Red Sea-Dweller were simply the very first iterations of their respective references and were produced for a number of years respectively, the Single Red Sea-Dweller was really more of a prototype, and was never announced formally in public or sold through authorized retailers.
The fact is, all twelve known examples were given to hand-selected divers for either official testing purposes or as awards. Among those twelve timepieces, at least one has replaced its dial due to damage, so there are only eleven known examples of Single Red Sea-Dwellers still in existence currently.
One of the things that makes difference between the “Double Red” along with “Single Red” Sea-Dwellers and other Sea-Dweller references, is that they both have the “Submariner” and the “Sea-Dweller” names printed on them. Although the “Sea-Dweller” name only appears in red text on the dial of the Single Red Sea-Dweller, therefore, earns its nickname, the dial differences are more than just a matter of the color of the text.
The Single Red Sea-Dweller marks “Submariner 500 M-1650 FT” on the second line of text (printed in white letters) rather than marking “Submariner 2000″ such as on the Double Red Sea-Dweller, because its production beyond the final design of the reference 1665 Sea-Dweller, which would benefit from an increased depth rating. Except the difference in depth rating values and the additional line of text, the order of the units for the depth rating itself changed too, making few of Single Red Sea-Dwellers the only “meters first” Sea-Dweller watches that never been produced by Rolex before.
Today, the helium gas escape valve is perhaps the first thing that defines Rolex’s Sea-Dweller collection. Nevertheless, the reference 5513 Submariners was first Rolex version to be fitted with this highly-specialized technology, were used as prototypes while Rolex worked with COMEX to develop the final design for their gas escape valve. A date complication added to the Single Red Sea-Dweller, making new features introduced to Rolex’s dive watches, so that divers living and working below the surface of the ocean could keep track of days except elapsed time while they remained underwater.
It’s interesting that seven of the twelve Single Red Sea-Dweller best replica watches do not equip with helium gas escape valves. The issue with trapped helium molecules forcing crystals to “pop off” during decompression only occurs at greater depths, when divers are living in helium-saturated environments for a long time. Certainly none of these similar issues exist in more shallow waters. For instance, the watch for divers who were part of Tektite 1 used didn’t fit with helium gas escape valves absolutely, because the gas mixture they used consisted of only nitrogen and oxygen during the comparatively shallow depth of the project (50-feet / 15 meters).
Due to their extremely limited production quantity and well-documented history of rigorous professional use, Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller watches are exceedingly precious, and rarely appear at auction, far less you are likely to see it on the wrist of someone in daily life. Even if it’s common to know that there are only twelve known examples still in existence, Rolex never confirms details like production numbers. Thus, there is always a bit little hope that the thirteenth Single Red Sea-Dweller may be waiting for found, for some lucky enthusiast it’s a great news.