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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1967
    Reference No: 1665 inside caseback stamped IV.67, three last digits of serial number also stamped
    Case No: 2'247'948
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller "Patent Pending"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Oyster Rolex bracelet, reference 9315, end links stamped 285, max. length 240mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex flip lock with extendable deployant clasp, stamped 1.70.
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex fitted box, punched guarantee and numerous Rolex service papers documenting service history of the watch as well as letter signed by original owner describing the story of the watch.

  • Catalogue Essay

    A tool watch par excellence, the Sea-Dweller was launched in 1967 and catered to underwater divers needing a watch that could withstand deep dives. As such, the Sea-Dweller reference 1665 pushed the already very respectable depth rate of the Submariner reference 1680 from 660ft (220m) to a whopping 2000ft (610m).

    The Sea-Dweller saw the ingenious addition of a helium escape valve. When working in helium-rich atmospheres, tiny helium molecules would seep through the crystal and rubber gaskets into the watch and create pressure once the diver had surfaced. This would usually result in the crystal popping off. The development of the valve was meant to prevent this issue by letting the gas escape the watch case and easing the pressure. Today, Rolex worked with a number of divers and organizations around the world to aide in the Sea-Dweller's development, the name Sea-Dweller itself is a direct nod to the fact that the model had been developed to meet the demands of scientists living - or “dwelling” - under the sea. Following the positive results obtained with these companies, Rolex went on to publicly commercialize the model.

    The earliest iterations engraved with “Patent Pending Rolex Oyster Gas Escape Valve” on their case backs are highly sought after. These earliest models were in effect prototypes and their case back interiors feature the last three digits of the watch’s serial number - stamped 948 on the present example, as well as IV.67.

    There is furthermore a small hole near the teeth of the outer caseback; this is correct as Rolex drilled a hole to hold the caseback in place while they engraved the text on the outer rim. As another added bonus, the bracelet is stamped "Pat. Pend." which is accurate for the period.

    The dial details are characteristic of the Mark II variant of “Double red Sea-Dweller” dials, with a small oval at the base of the coronet and the “D” in “Dweller” aligned with the “I” in “Submariner”.

    The watch in overall very pleasing condition comes with a letter from the original owner explaining the history of the watch as well as a series of Rolex service papers as of 1977 fully documenting the service history of the watch.

  • 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. 1665 inside caseback stamped IV.67, three last digits of serial number also stamped
An early and very rare stainless steel automatic wristwatch with date, bracelet, gas escape valve, “double red” Mk2 dial, patent pending case, punched guarantee and box

Circa 1967
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF93,750

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