The Rolex Submariner vs. the Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex GMT-Master

The Rolex Submariner and the Rolex Sea-Dweller are two of the truly exceptional sport models manufactured by Rolex. Meant for divers, these models have taken the brand Rolex to new heights or, should we say, depths. These two models are popular all over the world for their ability to perform accurately even deep underwater.

How are the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner Different?

The basic difference between the two lies in their depth ratings. While the current Submariner models have a maximum depth rating of 300 meters (1000 feet), the current versions of Sea-Dweller can comfortably go underwater up to a depth of 4000 feet (all earlier models had a depth rating of 2000 feet). As a result, the Submariner is the choice of amateur and recreational divers whereas professional divers and treasure-hunters alike may option for the Sea-Dweller.

Another major difference between the two models is the presence of a one-way gas escape valve opposite the winding crown in the Sea-Dweller. This special feature was added to protect the watch from internal pressure, which builds-up when the divers go through decompression on the way up and in the decompression chambers. Previously, during decompression, helium particles were unable to escape the watch, thus blowing the crystal out of the watch. The gas escape valve was the solution to this problem, proving extremely effective. Current Sea-Dweller models feature a larger and improved gas escape valve.

The Sea-Dweller is also bigger than the Submariner. This is primarily because of the thicker sapphire crystal that makes the former about 4mm thicker than the latter. The thicker crystal also leads to another notable difference between the two; although the
Sea-Dweller displays the date, it does not feature the Cyclops lens (for magnification of
the date).

Black Dial Rolex

To What Extent are the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner Similar?

There are certain features found in both of these models. The major similarity between the Sea-Dweller and the Submariner is their ability to survive underwater without any flaws in their functionality. In addition, there are many other aspects in which the two are similar. For instance, you can find the following features in both models:

  • A scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire crystal
  • A uni-directional bezel, capable of turning only counterclockwise--helping to prevent the accidental movement of the bezel while diving
  • The new Triplock system now featuring a triple gasket system that screws down tightly onto the case tube and against the Oyster case, offering another layer of protection under water
  • A self-winding mechanism with a perpetual motor
  • Either a solid block of 904L stainless steel case (a stainless steel alloy which is completely corrosion resistant) or gold case

The Rolex Submariner and the Rolex Sea-Dweller are alike in many ways, but the Sea-Dweller is the bigger, heavier, tougher brother of the Submariner. For recreational diving the Submariner works brilliantly, however, for true professional and commercial divers, the Sea-Dweller is the watch of choice.