Patek Philippe, a renowned Swiss watchmaker, boasts a history that stretches back to 1839. It has forged itself as a symbol of luxury within watchmaking.
Rolex is the most popular luxury watch brand in the world, and its constant innovation has more than earned it that status. Since its founding in 1905, Rolex has contributed many important technologies and innovations to the watch world. One of the most significant contributions that brand has made is creating the world’s first waterproof wristwatch with the Oyster case, which has been used in virtually every Rolex model since its inception. But how waterproof are Rolex watches and what is the water resistance of each model? In today’s BQ FAQs blog, we’ll be going over the history of Rolex’s water-resistant timepieces and the various models that you can purchase with water-resistant capabilities.
First, it’s an important distinction to make, but “waterproof” is more of a marketing term. There is no watch that is truly waterproof to an infinite degree, but for most people’s purposes, you might as well consider Rolex watches waterproof.
That’s because most Rolex watches can prevent water from leaking in for depths of up to 100 metres or more. Even the older Rolex watches boast water resistance for depths of up to 50 metres. However, you have to imagine that if you throw a Rolex to the bottom of the ocean, eventually the elements will win out. This means that Rolex watches aren’t technically 100% waterproof, but you can still pretty much trust your watch to take on nearly any water activity you throw at it.
Rolex developed the innovative Oyster case in 1926. Ever since then, the Oyster case has been used in the construction of just about every Rolex model, except for the slimmer Rolex Cellini dress watch line. Of course, if you’re donning a dress watch for a formal occasion, you hopefully won’t be braving the depths of any body of water.
The Oyster case was meant to make wristwatches more durable by keeping debris out that could affect the complicated innards of the luxury watch. However, Rolex went above and beyond with the Oyster case, as the barrier not only keeps out dust and debris, but water as well – up to a certain depth. With the Oyster case, wrist watch wearers could wash their hands, shower, swim, and generally worry less about the previously delicate timekeeping accessory on their wrist.
So, the Oyster case changed a lot for the luxury watch industry, but it’s worth mentioning that the watch still isn’t technically waterproof. Water resistant is a much more accurate term. Rolex’s Oyster case is probably about as close as you can get to making a watch completely waterproof, but it isn’t invincible.
If it’s a Rolex that isn’t a diving watch, the water would affect the performance of the watch past a certain depth. With that being said, if you don’t plan on taking your watch diving, you can pretty safely bet that your Rolex will be able to resist water in most normal situations.
If you’re thinking of buying a Rolex and you want to know how water-resistant it is, we’ve got a quick breakdown of the top Rolex models and their depth resistance for you.
As you might expect, Rolex’s most impressive water resistance capabilities can be found in its diving watches. Still, most other Rolex models still boast an impressive level of water-resistance, despite not being designed for those purposes. Without further ado, let’s dive into some of these models.
The Rolex Submariner is undoubtedly one of Rolex’s most popular watch models. The stylish watch boasts an irresistible sporty aesthetic while also being highly functional. As a tool watch, the Submariner is specifically made for divers.
While most Rolex models can withstand depths of up to 100 metres, the Submariner boasts an impressive 300 metres of water resistance. It also features useful features for divers, such as a unidirectional rotating bezel for tracking dive times, luminous dials, and more.
Of course, Rolex is never one to rest on its laurels, so it improved the water resistance capabilities of the Submariner with the Sea-Dweller and Deepsea models. These watches incorporate a helium escape valve, which makes them the perfect diving companion for saturation divers.
The Rolex Sea-Dweller features an incredible 1,220 metres of water resistance while the Deepsea takes things to an entirely different level with its 3,900 metres of water resistance.
Rolex was a sponsor of various attempts to summit the mighty Mt Everest, including the expedition where Hillary and Norgay finally achieved the intimidating feat. The two donned Oyster Perpetual Rolex watches when they accomplished it, which led to Rolex creating the Explorer to honour the occasion.
As befitting its impressive origin story, the Rolex Explorer is more than capable of withstanding the harsh elements. This includes the depths of the sea, with water resistance capabilities of up to 100 metres. While it doesn’t reach the deep depths of the Submariner line, you can trust that the sporty Explorer is ready for just about any kind of adventure you can throw at it.
The Rolex Datejust is one of Rolex’s most popular watches and is perfect for just about any occasion. Rolex has released numerous iterations of this watch, which means there is a size and style for just about every wrist.
As the perfect daily driver timepiece, Rolex made sure that it didn’t skimp out on making this watch plenty durable. As is standard with most Rolex watches with an Oyster case, the Rolex Datejust can easily take on depths of up to 100 metres. The Rolex Datejust is a timeless, classic timepiece that you also don’t necessarily have to be precious with. It’s a great everyday watch for whatever you have planned.
The Day-Date, also sometimes known as the President Rolex, is a dress watch befitting its moniker. The watch adds a full day display to the Datejust, giving it an extra level of technical complexity working within the timepiece. Of course, you want to make sure that these complications are protected from the elements, and the Oyster case ensures the Day-Date is just as capable as Rolex’s other Classic watches.
The Day-Date can withstand depths of up to 100 metres. It’s also the perfect dress watch that is versatile enough to be worn casually, along with being worn at your most important formal occasions. The Day-Date is a timeless classic that will never go out of style, and there are plenty of different variations to choose from.
Inspired by the world of racing, the Rolex Daytona is one of Rolex’s most coveted sports watches. Daytona watches are often equipped with a chronograph and a tachymeter, so racers wearing them can measure elapsed time, average speed, and more.
Of course, if you’re racing you hopefully won’t be dealing with any water (other than sweat), but the Daytona can handle it anyway. The Rolex Daytona’s Oyster case allows for up to 100 metres of water resistance. Racers, racing fans, or anyone who appreciates a well-designed sports watch will love the durability and style of a Daytona Rolex.
Finally, we come to the GMT-Master and its successor, the GMT-Master II. Originally released as a collaboration with Pan American Airlines, the GMT-Master is the quintessential watch for travellers. With the dual-timezone feature of the GMT-Master and the three timezone display of the GMT-Master II, the wearer can see the time at home and the time in their destination.
Of course, globetrotters will likely head to the beach or the lake every now and then, which the GMT-Master can easily handle. Whether you’re swimming in the Mediterranean Sea or taking a dip in the brisk waters of Lake Como, the GMT-Master has you covered for depths of up to 100 metres.
If you’re looking for a Rolex timepiece that can brave the waters, BQ Watches has you covered. We carry all of Rolex’s popular models in our inventory, along with numerous options from other top luxury brands. Whether you need a watch for diving or just one that you don’t have to take off in the shower, we have a timepiece for you. Browse our inventory of water-resistant Rolex watches today.
BQ Watches has a vast inventory of pre-owned luxury watches, and we’re ready to help you find your ideal timepiece. If you don’t see the watch you want in our current inventory, be sure to let our team know. We have comprehensive sourcing services to help you find your dream watch. Get in touch with the team at BQ Watches today to talk watches!