Rolex, James Cameron, and the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE

One of the most popular models offered on is the Rolex Deepsea 116660.  It is often referred to as “the James Cameron watch,” because it is modeled after the timepiece worn by the Academy Award winning director during his Deepsea Challenge expedition in 2012. Cameron became the first person to make a solo descent in a custom-designed submersible vessel into the Mariana Trench.

The Mariana Trench is located in the Pacific Ocean and is the deepest known part of the world’s oceans. The deepest point in the trench is known as Challenger Deep and lies nearly 7 miles (11,000m) below the surface. Just as a comparison, if Mount Everest were set in the trench, it would still be submerged about 1.3 miles (2,000m) underwater.

Cameron helped co-design the submersible known as the Deepsea Challenger, which wore the specially-designed experimental Rolex Deepsea Challenge, on its robotic arm during the descent.  Cameron, a passionate deep sea diver, was the first person to complete this descent since the 1960 Trieste mission, and the only person to complete the dive on a solo mission.  The first dive into the Mariana Trench also used an experimental Rolex Oyster model, known as the Deep Sea Special, which survived the record depth of 35,814ft (10,916m) and returned to the surface in perfect working order. This achievement remained unrivalled for more than half a century until Cameron’s descent.

The Deepsea Challenger was built in partnership with both Rolex and the National Geographic Society, and Cameron produced a documentary about his expedition called the Deepsea Challenge 3D in 2014.  You can view the trailer below.

Deepsea Challenge 3D (2014 Trailer)

This newer model boasts 12,800ft (3900m) of water resistance. The Rolex Deepsea is equipped with the Rolex Caliber 3135 self-winding mechanical movement and is affixed to the classic Rolex oyster-style bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp.  The model features a helium escape valve, which protects the sapphire crystal from cracking when a pressure differential is detected. This feature allows the inside of the watch to reach equilibrium by allowing the helium gas to safely escape as the user reemerges from the dive.

You can shop the new model of the Rolex Deepsea 116660 here.