Positioned as a 50th-anniversary tribute to the original Sea-Dweller, the 126600 felt more or less like a larger Submariner with an automatic helium release-valve and a conspicuous piece of red text on the dial. What Rolex did do right with the 43mm-wide Sea-Dweller was create a new proportional bracelet for it — which was the mar of the previous generation Deepsea that used a too-narrow bracelet. Then, in 2018 (just a year later), Rolex released the new ref. 126660 Deepsea, which solved the bracelet problem and thoroughly upgraded the Deepsea. If anything, the next Rolex dive watch to refresh is the Submariner, at this point.
What I didn’t like about the all-steel Rolex 126600 Sea-Dweller was that it sort of bored me and didn’t offer enough product differentiation as a model that sat between the Submariner and the Deepsea. With the ref. 126603 Sea-Dweller, Rolex has breathed new purpose into a model that felt merely like a vehicle to keep the popular Sea-Dweller name alive. If I am going all steel (well, with some titanium), and I want the most serious tool watch Rolex makes, I am going to go for the Deepsea.
If I want a showy Rolex sport watch (and who doesn’t, to be honest?) the Rolesor Sea-Dweller suddenly makes tons of sense. So, while I was not into the all-steel version of the 43mm-wide Sea-Dweller, the Rolesor version suddenly has huge appeal to me. This is precisely why Rolex intentionally considers small variations on existing products as a means of filling market needs slowly each year.
The real competition within replica Rolex for the Sea-Dweller 126603 is the similar black-dialed Submariner Date ref. 116613LN that also has a two-tone steel and 18k yellow-gold case construction. This watch is around a decade old at this point and represents an aging platform and movement that Rolex has been carefully replacing across its entire model range. From a volume perspective, the Submariner represents much more sales than the Sea-Dweller, and it makes sense that Rolex will wait to update the Submariner after its more expensive cousin models.