To make his newest movie, Deepsea Challenge 3D, director James Cameron dug deep. So deep, in fact, that the filmmaker dove 35,787 feet below sea level to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean—the deepest place on earth.
Because timing is everything in storytelling and in diving, Cameron had a custom-made, Titanic-sized 51mm Rolex Deepsea Challenge Sea Dweller strapped to the robotic arm of his submersible. Here, on dry land in New York last week, Cameron is seen wearing Rolex’s brand new version of that expedition watch called the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller with D-Blue Dial. It’s kind of a big deal because Rolex rarely launches watches mid-year and almost never does the limited edition celebrity deal.
The reason that Rolex has partnered with Cameron has more to do with the manufacturer’s long history with underwater exploration. In 1960, the bathyscaphe Trieste was the first to explore the Mariana Trench with an experimental Oyster model, the Deep Sea Special, attached to the hull.
The further down you dive, the darker the water gets, so we couldn’t help but note that the ombré dial of the D-Blue alludes to that phenomenon by shifting in color from blue to black. But this professional dive watch is more than just poetic styling: It’s waterproof to 12,800 feet and features a 44 mm stainless steel case with a dial big enough to read in those dark depths. The hands and markers are also lit up with a bright blue Chromalight lume. And the watch features Rolex’s patented helium escape valve and Triplock winding crown add to keep the watch working under extreme undersea pressure.