Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XI Geneva Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1970
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D701094
    Case No: 2'355'441
    Model Name: Submariner "Red Sub"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "380" and "9315" to the endlinks, max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex extendable deployant clasp stamped "B"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex punched Guarantee, product literature, green document holder, numbered sale tag, red Rolex "faux seal" tag, plastic anchor, presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Submariner has become such an icon that not only can it be considered the benchmark for all future diving watches, but it has also spawned its own scholarly following devoted to every nuance and variation from its first appearance in the Rolex catalogue in 1954 until the present day.

    Launched around 1967, reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be fitted with a date function. Early examples, such as the present one, display a ‘meters first’ depth rating, with the ‘Submariner’ script printed in red, hence the name "Red Sub”, while later examples feature white graphics. Red Subs are today extremely sought-after timepieces in virtue of their aesthetic quirkiness and of their historical importance as the first Submariner examples with date. Even within the Red Submariner family of dials, one can notice an evolution of the graphics with 6 variations (Marks). The present early specimen features a Mark III dial, recognizable from the meter first arrangement of the depth rating, a feature shared by Mark I to Mark III dials. Mark III dials are furthermore defined by the thicker font - compared to MK II - used for the depth rating as well as an "open" 6. The “Submariner” designation in Mark III dials is printed directly on the black background, while MKII dials feature a white plot which is visible underneath the red ink. Mark III dials can be found on examples from about 2.15M serial to 2.45M - alongside MKII dials as both were made at the same time. The rarity of this variation is apparent when considering that the total amount of MK II and III dials combined represents about 6% of the total number of 1680 appeared on the market.

    The present "Red Sub" is made even more collectible and attractive by its dark chocolate dial, the topical hue absolutely even throughout the entirety of the dial. A further appeal is given by the "complete" nature of this watch which is accompanied by its original punched guarantee, booklets, green document holder and the box featuring to the inside the ultimate 1970s token: a card happily informing the owner that the box can double as cigarette container.

  • Artist Biography


    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.

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Ref. 1680
A rare and very attractive stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, date, chocolate "tropical" dial, Guarantee and box

Circa 1970
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF50,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020