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Special Story of the Rolex Single ‘RED’ Sea-Dweller

June 27th, 2022

Rolex, the mighty luxury watch brand, celebrates each milestone with a bang! This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Special Sea-Dweller, and it’s going to be BIG. At Baselworld, when the New Sea-Dweller made its debut in 2017 with a single red text on the dial and the Cyclops magnifier over the date, people couldn’t stop talking about it.

rolex single red sea-dweller

Wondering why? It flashed memories of the vintage Rolex timepieces with red texts on the dials.

These models are highly sought-after, and collectors are willing to offer lucrative value to own one. If you’re the proud owner of one such iconic timepiece, rest assured to get an impressive value if you sell Rolex in the secondary market.

Each Rolex watch comes with a mystery or a special story, making it even more desirable. The Sea-Dweller is one of them. Today, we’ll discover everything about the rare ‘Single Red’ Sea-Dweller. They are rarely available and call for heavy auction figures. Given that there are only 12 examples found of this alluring timepiece, it is only obvious if the watch enjoys the limelight.

A watch so exclusive and elusive definitely deserves a detailed discussion. So, let’s ‘dive’ into it!

Brief History of the Rolex Sea-Dweller

The Rolex Sea-Dweller collection was born in 1967 as a superior to the iconic Submariner. Don’t get us wrong. The watch offered better water resistance than the latter, which was a major turning point. The Sub offered a water resistance of 200 meters which was undoubtedly commendable. However, the Dweller offered a water resistance of up to 500 meters.

Rolex then enhanced the water depth rating for the ‘Double Red’ Sea-Dweller to 610 meters, eventually becoming 1220 meters. However, the Rolex Sea-Dweller with Single Red is the rarest, Ref. 1665.

The name ‘Sea-Dweller’ derives its inspiration from ‘dwelling’ at the bottom of the sea, which can be for weeks, months, and days. Rolex created the watch for a specific reason, i.e., for extreme underwater use. The hardcore dive watch was amongst the earliest timepieces to incorporate a helium escape valve.

Divers wore watches with helium gas which would enter the watch under severe pressurised conditions. It then popped the crystal off as the molecules expanded due to decompression. Rolex curated a unique design to expel the gas, and the Sea-Dweller solved the problem with its helium gas escape valve.

Rolex ‘SINGLE RED’ Sea-Dweller

The earliest samples of the Sea-Dweller had a single red ‘Sea-Dweller’ text written on the dial. Over time, the watches have become increasingly popular for their rarity, eventually leading to high auction prices.

However, is it all about that one red text? Perhaps, not, and there’s more to it.

It Is More than the ‘Red’ Text

Do you know what primarily distinguishes the ‘Double Red’ and ‘Single Red’ Sea-Dwellers? It is that they both have the ‘Sea-Dweller’ and ‘Submariner’ names written on them. However, only ‘Sea-Dweller’ appears in the Single Red model and the dial sports various other differentiating features.

The second line on the Single Red Sea-Dweller model reads, ‘Submariner 500M -1650 FT’ in white letters. This is because the watch was in existence before the final design of the reference 1665 Sea-Dweller, which had an increased depth rating.

Apart from the difference in water depth rating and the additional white text line, there is a change for the depth rating units too! This factor ensured that the Single Red Sea-Dweller watches were the only few with the ‘meters first’ to be manufactured by Rolex.

The Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 was one of Rolex’s boldest, biggest and most capable dive watches.

Did You Know That Only ‘12’ Single Red Sea-Dweller Watches Are In Existence?

Only 12 pieces of the Sea-Dweller watches with ‘Single Red’ exist today. Rolex produced the other Double Red Sea-Dweller and Red Submariner for years. The Single Red variant was more or less a prototype. In fact, Rolex never released it formally or sold it through the authorised retail stores.

Moreover, at least one of the watches from that lot had the dial changed due to water damage.

With that consideration, only 11 of the Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller watches exist today. The watches are highly coveted, and collectors will turn every stone to grab one of them. If you’re inquisitive about their resale value and know someone who wants to sell Rolex, you can get in touch with a reliable watch buyer in London. The amount they’ll fetch is eye-popping!

Do All The Single Red Models Have The Special Helium Gas Escape Valve?

The helium escape valve is an essential component that makes the Sea-Dweller collection notable and easily distinguishable from the other Rolex variants. However, initially, Rolex fitted this high-end technology to Submariner Ref.5513. It was initially a prototype. Meanwhile, Rolex was working with COMEX to build the final design for the gas escape valve.

However, the new feature with the Single Red Sea-Dweller timepieces was an elevated water depth rating and a date window. The date complication allowed the divers living and working under deep waters to track the time and days during their underwater stay easily.

Surprisingly, 7 of the 12 rare Single Red Sea-Dweller watches do not have the helium gas escape valve. The main problem with the watches with no helium gas escape valve is that helium molecules caused the crystals to pop off at greater depths due to decompression. This happened mainly when the divers lived in helium-saturated environments for a long time.

Things were normal when the divers were in more shallow water.


The Rolex Single Red Sea-Dweller Ref. 1665 timepieces have a rich history and limited production, making them incredibly rare and coveted. In many ways, the Sea-Dweller is the best reflection of Rolex as a luxury watch brand with purpose. The watch has garnered attention from the beginning with its performance and extensive engineering.

The watches are rare, and you’ll hardly see anyone wearing them regularly.

Therefore, it only makes sense if the watches claim a high value if someone ever plans to sell Rolex in London. We offers INSTANT cash if you sell your Rolex in London. The experts bring in their 40 years of combined experience to evaluate your timepiece and will offer the best possible value for your watch.

Start by filling in their online form or call 07828 750705 for further details.

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