James Cameron Gets A Special Rolex Deepsea Watch Made In Honor Of Him And His New Film

ARTICLE DATE 08/12/2014

James Cameron Gets A Special Rolex Deepsea Watch Made In Honor Of Him And His New Film

They say important people wear Rolex watches, but how important do you need to be in order to get a special Rolex watch made in your honor? That is something that doesn’t happen very often, and in modern times Rolex has been particularly conservative about their product development process. Rolex may have some of the biggest names in sports on their list of brand ambassadors, but none of those people have received special watches made for them.

This practice of highly conservative product releases is of course is in contrast to the status quo in much of the watch industry. At other brands, it is almost a given that new brand ambassadors will receive the “limited edition watch treatment,” whereby the brand will design a special limited production timepiece, often with the ambassador’s name attached to it. Rolex doesn’t play by such rules – but perhaps things are changing at “the Crown,” and James Cameron isn’t even an official brand ambassador such as others, like Tiger Woods.

Today on August 4th, 2014 Rolex did something very “un-Rolex” by releasing a new version of a watch not only in the middle of the year (usually all new Rolex watches are released exclusively at the Baselworld trade show in March), but they did so online. The newest Rolex watch as of today is the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial watch (much more information here). The Deepsea D-Blue Dial diver watch is based on the standard Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660 watch, but has a unique dial that starts blue at the top and using a gradient goes to black. “D-Blue” likely stands for “diving blue” and the color change on the dial is in reference to a very special event.

In 2012, film director James Cameron worked with Rolex and a few other companies to design a new submersible vessel known as the Deepsea Challenger that was to dive deep in the Pacific Ocean to a depth of about 11,000 meters. James Cameron piloted the submersible himself and the mission was a success. Not only did Cameron want to “see another world” but he wanted to record the experience for a new film – as well as to aid scientific exploration. The color of the submersible was a similar green that Rolex used for the “DEEPSEA” text on the new Deepsea D-Blue Dial watch.

In a few days, James Cameron will release the Deepsea Challenge 3D movie, and in advance of the release Rolex has announced a new version of their Deepsea timepiece for the occasion. During the 2012 mission, Cameron wore a Deepsea watch on his wrist, and on the outside of the submersible was attached a not-for-sale prototype watch known as the Rolex Deepsea Challenge. This experimental dive watch was like a super-sized version of the normal Deepsea designed to withstand the massive pressure of being down to a maximum of 12,000 meters under water.

For what might be the first time ever, Rolex got “poetic” with the design of a watch. The dial of the Deepsea D-Blue watch is meant to recall the dive itself. The blue color represents water closer to the surface, which slowly darkens as light is no longer able to penetrate the depth. As mentioned above, the green text for “DEEPSEA” is quite literally meant to refer to the DEEPSEA Challenger vessel. Never before to my knowledge has Rolex produced such a whimsically illustrative watch dial. The watch otherwise retains the design, movement, and other specifications of the Rolex Deepsea ref. 116660 watch.

As of August 2014, Mr. Jean-Frederic Dufour becomes the newest CEO of Rolex. Collectors have speculated whether or not the Deepsea D-Blue Dial watch was part of his influence having come from the watch brand Zenith that is more known for its limited edition watches. Though, I have to say that given normal product development and launch lead times, it is unlikely that Mr. Dufour had a huge impact on the release, since it is my belief he just officially started his tenure as CEO at Rolex this August.

Given that Rolex is one of the most conservative brands in the world, and the most reputable consumer product maker according at least one major study, each decision they make is going to be highly contemplated and discussed by the luxury and wrist watch community. What is so compelling about the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial watch is not just the design, but its relationship with James Cameron as well as his Deepsea Challenge 3D movie – something the likes of which no one has seen from Rolex in a very long time. It is not only an exciting day for Rolex watch collectors, but perhaps a hint of what will come from what is the most closely observed luxury watch brand. Rolex has not yet released specific pricing or availability details in regard to the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial watch, but my best guess is that it will retail for about $13,000.

Via Forbes.com