Share on:

The importance of such ‘overengineered’ watches as the Rolex Deepsea

In praise of timepieces that come with features so advanced, they go beyond pedestrian functionality.

Recreational divers generally do not go deeper than 40m into the sea. If you’re a professional deep-sea diver, you could descend to a maximum of about 60m. The Oyster Perpetual Rolex Deepsea, however, is waterproof to 3,900m, thanks to its patented three-part case structure. It is a prime example of overengineering in horology – and that’s exactly how we like it.

One of the world’s most extreme watches, the Deepsea was recently updated for 2018. The 44mm timepiece now houses Rolex’s latest energy-efficient Calibre 3235, and has slimmer lugs, as well as a wider bracelet. It might not garner as much press as the much more wearable – and, well, probably much more useful – 40mm, multi-time zone, Pepsi-bezel GMT-Master II, but the Deepsea demonstrates how far traditional watchmaking can be pushed, while remaining (relatively) wearable.

Considering that even certain “practical” complications in mechanical watches – such as the ever-popular chronograph – are seldom used, and are probably more relevant as examples of engineering ingenuity rather than functional necessity, extreme watches like this serve one important purpose – to help us dream just that much bigger.

(RELATED: The 60-second watch brand guide: Rolex)