An early and very rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, gas escape valve, “Double Red” Mk I dial, “Patent Pending” caseback and bracelet

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1967
    Reference No: 1665, repeated on the caseback with IV.67
    Movement No: D288’822
    Case No: 1’718’492
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller, "Double Red"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster prototype bracelet stamped 7206, max length 195 mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped 4.68 and engraved with case number 1’718’492
    Dimensions: 40 mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed; outer caseback inscribed "Patent Pending"
    Literature: For another example of a "Double Red" Sea-Dweller with "Patent Pending" caseback, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, p. 190

  • Catalogue Essay

    The “Double-Red” Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 is one of the most sought-after and respected Rolex wristwatches, likely because of its genesis as one of the ultimate vintage professional-grade timepieces.

    Highly sought after by aficionados, the earliest Mk1 examples, such as the present lot, were engraved with “Patent Pending Rolex Oyster Gas Escape Valve” on their casebacks. These early models were essentially prototypes, and the inner caseback is stamped IV.67 indicating production in the fourth quarter of 1967. The helium valve had been developed and the patent had been applied, but Rolex had not received final approval. Therefore, the engraving on the caseback of these early sea dwellers stated in parenthesis “Patent Pending”.

    The Mark 1 dial is a second defining feature of these prototype models. The initial “Sea-Dweller” designation is in red, possibly printed over white pain. Through the years, the red wordings for some examples would have metamorphosed into a fascinating hue of rosy pink, including the present watch. The coronet is clearly delineated and flat, but the "O" under the spikes can be clearly visualized. Intriguingly, the depth markings of “2000ft=610m” is in sans sheriff font. The bezel has also “ghosted” into a nice shade of grey.

    Additionally, the bracelet of the present watch is a prototype model created by Rolex. The extension of the bracelet state “Pat. Pend.”, and the deployant clasp is engraved with the serial number of the watch, further underscoring the rarity of the present watch.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

    View More Works

876

Rolex

Ref. 1665, repeated on the caseback with IV.67
An early and very rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, gas escape valve, “Double Red” Mk I dial, “Patent Pending” caseback and bracelet

勞力士,「Sea-Dweller」型號1665 ,早期及非常罕有,精鋼自動上弦鏈帶腕錶,配罕有雙紅「Double Red」Mk I錶盤、日期顯示﹑排氦裝置及「Patent Pending」底蓋,1967年製

1967
40 mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed; outer caseback inscribed "Patent Pending"

Estimate
HK$620,000 - 1,300,000 
$80,000-160,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
thomasperazzi@phillips.com
+852 2318 2030

Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2019