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August 21, 2011 / kevinhoa

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600

Weight and Wrist Feel + Presence
Let’s get this out of the way first. I had been wearing only a 1680 Red Sub, mostly on NATO straps, so the 16600 was perhaps a 2x increase in weight if I want to exaggerate a little bit. When I first got it sized and on my wrist, I was like, “oh wow, feels like I just strapped a 1 lb weight to my wrist, get it off now!”

I was patient and gave it some time to break in on my wrist. It is indeed a heavier watch than what I’ve been wearing recently, but it turns out to be quite comfortable. It does have a beefy, thick case that is certainly taller than the Sub Dates I’d owned in the past. Yet it has a slightly smaller dimension that makes it float on the wrist and the caseback height pushes the crown up just far enough that it really can’t dig into my wrist like other Subs have done in the past.

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600

After wearing it for two days, I’ve forgotten all about the extra weight. It actually feels quite comfortable and pleasing to have the increased heft in a very manageable size. The big difference for me between this and the PO is that the SD has a smooth caseback that does not dig into my wrist at al. I look down upon this watch and I see a 14060M with a more muscular presence. It’s very cool!

After owning a number of Rolex watches with lug holes and collecting a nice set of straps, I’m a little bummed about the extra effort to evacuate the bracelet without lug holes. Not the end of the world.

Bezel & Dial
This is interesting as the 16600 has a slightly smaller diameter and it is very subtle. It looks like a 14060M, but there’s a date! I think the bezel may actually be a tiny bit wider than the 14060M, but not much different. The surround with teeth is much more substantial and taller than the no-date Sub. Quite handsome. The classic black insert is timeless and sharp with fat fonts intact like it is paying homage to its vintage ancesters.

The dial is that glossy black, like a pool of shiny oil. Very nice looking and picks up reflections from the smooth sweeping seconds hand. The markers are not maxi, but really all that is needed on this watch. I have owned vintage and modern Subs with larger plots…I think the matte style non-surround maxi plots are the best, but when you look at this watch vs. a 16610LV or 116610LN, this has a more stealth appearance without those ginormous WG plots. I like it.

The date wheel minus cyclops is intriguing. It has such a reduced size without the cyclops. The little date is almost comically tiny!!! It takes awhile to get used to this. I really wonder why Rolex switched to white date wheels and did away with the open 6 and 9 numerals. Bummer.

I’ve grown to strongly dislike engraved rehaut on any Rolex and I’m glad this one does not have it. Nice and clean!

Nice thick sapphire crystal that stands noticeably proud of the bezel. Not nearly as tall as a 1680 top hat, but a marked difference from the 16610 Sub Date. Very cool with no cyclops as I have had a polarizing relationship with the cyclops. My eyes love the way a 1680 silver date wheel is magnified with a cyclops, but seeing the clean thick crystal completely unobstructed is indeed a thing of beauty.

Bracelet and Clasp
Standard issue pre-ceramic flip lock here with the SELs. I like it very much for its lightness and beauty, but really wish they had put one more removable link on the 6:00 side. My wrist is small and 5 links on this side is almost too much. I know many people have removed a perm link, but this is invasive and I’m not quite ready to do it. The clasp is really not centered at all and the head leans towards the 12:00 side, but in all honesty, it is not much different than what I’ve experienced with the 93150 bracelets. I can live with it. In a perfect world, I’d have a Sub-C glidelock clasp on this watch and all would be well with the world.

Wish List
Lug holes
One more removable link on the 6:00 side
Glidelock clasp
Silver date wheel
Open numeral 6 and 9 on the date wheel

That pretty much sums it up for the 16600 SD based on 48 hours of observation. The movement seems pretty stable at about +2-3 sec per day, but I have not been micro-managing this aspect of the watch.

As a previous Sub-C owner, I must say that the SD is a little bit more stealth on the wrist given its classic lugs and slightly smaller diameter. I’ve often wanted the 14060 to be my one and only Sub, but I am so dependent on the date that I can’t really do the 14060 every day (good weekend watch).

I hope this is helpful. Here’s a quick photo I snapped in the driveway today while waiting for my family to join me for a trip to the pool.


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