The Rolex Sea Dweller 1665 is one of the most sought after luxury watches in the world. With it’s exquisite craftsmanship and reliability, it sets a high bar for dive watches. So what then, can you get as a practical alternative to the Rolex Sea Dweller 1665 without having to empty your bank account?
Understanding the Rolex Sea Dweller 1665
The 1665. One of the most desirable wristwatches a man can have.
Originally built in the 1960s as a tool to sit stoically on a diver’s wrist, it was designed specifically to tell time under harsh, unlit deep sea conditions. And as the name implies, a wristwatch meant for deep sea exploration. The Rolex Sea Dweller’s faded patina, beautifully aged lume markers, and two unique lines of red wording on the dial encased under a venerable domed crystal, makes the watch stand out from its Submariner sibling. In modern times, the Rolex Double-Red Sea Dweller has become very much sought after. A contemporary piece then, ironically, as a result of it’s remarkable vintage allure.
Strap it on your wrist, and you’ll be guaranteed looks of yearning and gasps of wishful envy. In 2014, it was reported that a Mark IV production of the Sea Dweller was auctioned off for a cool twenty five thousand US dollars.
What then, does the quintessential man strap on his wrist instead if he doesn’t have that much cash to splash?
Enter The Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red
Introducing Steinhart Watches GmbH
Steinhart Watches GmbH is a German watchmaking company established in 2001 by Gunter Steinhart. Motivated by his desire to re-create homages of these iconic watches, Herr Steinhart’s goal was to capture the exemplary beauty of these vintage timepieces, but in a manner accessible for everyone. The ideas and designs originate from their headquarters in Augsburg, but all the components and the mechanical heart of each Steinhart watch hails from the Suisse Jura, lending credibility to a Steinhart watch as being Swiss made.
With a 42mm stainless steel case and 22mm Oyster style bracelet, the Steinhart Ocean One looks identical to the Rolex Double Red Sea Dweller, yet with dimensions to suit modern watch wearing proportions. The stainless steel bracelet and case feels well constructed and tough, adding confidence to the wearer. The bezel sits tight and aligned to the indices, and turning it gives satisfying clicks, a sign of a well made watch. The dial of the Ocean One is a faded matte black, and “old radium” Superluminova lume is applied generously to the index, minute, hour and second hands, giving the watch a creamy vintage look. Two lines of red fonts on the Ocean One’s dial pay homage to the iconic red wording.
Finally, a dome shaped sapphire crystal sits atop, resembling the Sea Dweller. Sure, critics may say it’s a blatant copy, but lest we forget its the vintage beauty of the Rolex that we desire, and the Steinhart gets the aesthetic factor right.
While not as water resistant as the Rolex Sea Dweller, the Steinhart Ocean One is water resistant to three hundred meters, a more than sufficient rating should you wish to take the watch into water. For a watch modeled after a diver, one would expect the Ocean One to operate in water as well and the watch doesn’t disappoint in this aspect. The Ocean One is powered by the Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, renowned for its simplicity and time keeping function.
No nonsense accuracy it is then. Definitely not going to let you down at important moments, such as when the cute girl at the bar turns and asks you what the time is.
Hey, when that happens, the vintage style design of the Ocean One will capture her attention. She’s going to think of you as different, a man of classic taste, especially when every other chap in the bar has a boring black Submariner, TAG or Panerai on their wrists. Start a conversation. Tell her about your vintage wristwatch preferences. Impress her and who knows, you could really be doing a little deep exploration of your own after happy hour.
There are many homage watches built by indie watchmakers to pay respect to the Blancpains, the IWCs, the Pateks, but none come as close to paying homage to this revered classic, the Rolex Sea Dweller 1665. There is a thin line between homage and replica, but Steinhart manages to pull it off brilliantly, with the Ocean One Vintage a fine specimen of a homage a man can wear proudly.
For its price point, not many watches can offer the same level of build quality, elegance and function. If you like the look of a vintage Rolex but coughing up a five figure sum for one isn’t realistic, look to the Steinhart for your fix.