Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1981
    Reference No: 1665 inside caseback stamped 6'221'366
    Movement No: D906586
    Case No: 6'221'366
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller "Great White"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel extendable Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "585" and "93150" to the endlinks, max length (unextended) 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "VE" and "93150"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by a copy of "Forward" dated February 1981 detailing the Stena Seaspread accident.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Consigned by the son of the original owner, this Rolex 1665 Sea-Dweller was presented to COMEX diver Joe Puttnam for his part in the daring rescue of two trapped North Sea divers, a feat for which he was awarded the Queens commendation for brave conduct. As documented in the accompanying copy of "Forward" dated February 1981 detailing the Stena Seaspread accident, the rescue took place in January 1981, when the diving bell from the Stena Seaspread was stricken at a depth of 400ft, its umbilical line severed, and two divers relying on emergency life support.

    Puttnam was the diver to reach the stranded bell and the decision to make a “through water rescue” was taken, the worlds first to be conducted at depth, with the “wet transfer” successfully conducted under extreme conditions of icy cold, and strong currents. The present watch was engraved and presented to Mr Puttnam to commemorate the rescue and his Royal commendation, although Joe Puttnam Junior notes with amusement a common misspelling of the family name on the case back. Continuing to use his COMEX branded issue watch for work, the present watch has been well cared for in the intervening years, retaining its original MK III dial, with beautifully patinated Tritium lume, a thick, crisp case that shows no sign of heavy wear or polishing and its dedication remains deeply engraved for posterity.

  • 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 6'221'366
A fine and historically interesting diver's automatic wristwatch with center seconds, date, gas escape valve, revolving bezel, bracelet and engraved caseback

Circa 1981
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF52,920

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021