Explore The ‘Star’ Vintage Rolex: The Double Red Sea-Dweller

Rolex, as you know, has always been a brand of outstanding achievements and innovations. This is one of the many reasons you can always sell Rolex watches at a good value in the resale market. By the end of the 1960s, the luxury watch brand had already established a reputation for manufacturing some of the best and most robust timepieces that could withstand the severity of the deep, dark oceans.

sell vintage rolex sea dweller

With new experiments undergoing and divers trying their hands on saturation diving (a process in which helium replaces nitrogen in the air mixture to enable the commercial divers to work at greater ocean depths for longer), they needed a new kind of watch.

The Rolex Sea-Dweller Was Born

After an extended period of numerous experiments, a Rolex that could easily survive the extremities of the ocean- the ‘Sea-Dweller’ was born in the 1960s. Rolex collaborated with a French sea diving company named COMEX to create this unique model with Reference 1665. The design of the model very much resembled the pre-existing Submariner model. This was evident by how the watch used the latter’s thin case design.

But how did Rolex come up with such an innovative model?

Rolex kept the watches in pressurised chambers for hours, forcing the helium molecules to slip into the cases of the diver’s watches. Under decompression, the confined helium would expand and generate enough force to cause the crystals to pop off the watches.

To fix this problem, Rolex came up with the Sea-Dweller design. The watches came with a gas release valve located in the side of the case, which further allowed the trapped helium gas to release safely from the watch upon decompression.

After several early prototypes, the first Rolex Sea-Dweller made its way to the scene in 1967 with the Ref. 1665.

Launch of the Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller

The production of the Rolex Sea-Dweller went well into the early dates of the 1980s. During this span, the model underwent a few minor changes. The most significant one is the ‘Double Red’ Rolex version.

The New Double-Red Sea-Dweller models came with a larger case, a new dial with two red writing lines, a new domed crystal, HEV, and a depth of over 2000ft.

For the first ten years of its production (1967-1977), with the serial number ranging from 1.7 to 5.1 million, the Double Red 1655 versions had both the Sea-Dweller and Submariner names written in red ink on the dial. Hence, the name!

Soon after, Rolex’s Service Center replaced the Double-Red Sea-Dweller variants with all-white texts and had only the ‘Sea-Dweller’ name written on the dial.

This practice led to the complete unavailability of the previous Double text models, increasing popularity among watch collectors. If you currently own one, you can expect to sell Rolex watch at an unbelievable price in the secondary market.

Also Read: What Makes the Rolex Sea-Dweller So Special Today?

4 Variations of the Double Red Sea-Dweller (DSRD) Model

1. Mark I Dial (1967)

The first and the rarest, the Mark I dial version, came in the serial range (1.7-2.2 million). It came on a patent-pending watch case back. The dial featured white writing applied gracefully to the black Rolex dial with a striking red paint on top. You can vividly see both lines of red text spelling ‘Sea-Dweller’ & ‘Submariner’.

2. Mark II Dial (1967-1970)

The second version, the Mark II dial, sports a different look, with some having an oxidised texture in chocolate or brownish colour. You can see the dial featuring red writing on the black dial that looks vibrant.

Thanks to their stunning vintage colour, the watches not just look alluring; they have a high demand as well.

3. Mark III Dial (1970-1973)

You can again see the vivid red writing directly on the black dial, but they appear less vibrant than the previous ones. Also, the second text that reads ‘Submariner 2000’ is slightly smaller in size.

4. Mark IV Dial (1974-1977)

The final and most common DSRD, the Mark IV Dial, has the double red texts written directly on the black dial. The colour appears brighter than the Dial III but less intense than the II.

Once again, you can see that the second text reading ‘Submariner 2000’ is smaller than the ‘Sea-Dweller’ written above.

FYI: The Mark III & IV dial version came later in the production graph, with Mark IV being the most common, followed by III, II & I.

Where can you find the DSRD Now?

The stunning Double Red Sea-Dweller models will continue to win hearts, but the question is, can you still own one? Although it’s not impossible, finding one DSRD in its original condition has become increasingly challenging.

The Ref.1655 DSRD has successfully survived all these years without any significant damage to its dial or moisture intrusion. Moreover, if you get hold of one such rare piece, you can see the nice patina. This feature only contributes to the watch’s vintage aesthetic.

The Double Red Sea-Dweller’s rich history, classic design, and unmatched aesthetic make it a true asset. It is not just popular in Rolex’s dive watch history but in the entire line of professional sports watches.

Well, all we can say is that if you own one, consider yourself lucky. If ever out of curiosity, you take your DSRD timepiece to a reliable watch buyer in London to sell Rolex, you’ll be amazed at the kind of value it attracts!


The DSRD Overview

  • Year: 1967-1978
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Function: Date Display, Helium Escape Valve, Time with Running Seconds
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Bezel: Bi-directional, Black Aluminum Insert with 60-Minute Scale
  • Dial: Black with Luminous Hour Markers
  • Movement: Calibre 1575
  • Water Resistance: 2000 Feet
  • Bracelet/ Strap: Oyster Bracelet

It’s worth remembering that the Double Red Sea-Dweller watches come from when Rolex was discovering and taking risks to create something unique. The watches will always serve as a bookmark in Rolex’s long-standing rich history and show how far they’ve come.

However, if ever you feel the need to sell your Rolex, find reliable watch buyers in London to get the best price.

Also Read: Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 1665: Tritium Dial vs. Rail Dial


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