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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1973
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D639923
    Case No: 3'816'198
    Model Name: Submariner "Red Sub"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "580" and "93150", max length (extended) 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel extendable Rolex clasp stamped "K11" and "93150"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex undated punched Guarantee stamped by Sao Paulo retailer "Matisse Joalheiros", Rolex sticker, hang tag, calendar card for the years 1973/74, product literature, green document holder, fitted 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. The Rolex Submariner reference 1680 was launched in 1967 and was the first Submariner model fitted with a date function (generating a fiery debate about date windows that continues to burn brightly in the watch community).

    Of the different iterations of “Red Sub” dials established by the collecting community, this 3.8M serial example features a Mark VI dial. Red Sub dials can be divided in six generations (or “Mark”) and two groups. Earlier models are distinguished by the “meters first” depth rating (Mk I to Mk III) and later models (Mk IV to VI) by the “feet first” depth rating. MKVI dials are the last “Red Sub” dials to have been made - before Rolex moved on to fully white graphics - and can be found on serial numbers before 3M but not later than 4M, making this 3.8M examples one of the last one produced. MKVI dials are easily recognised by the fact that among the “feet first” dials, they are the only ones featuring closed 6s in the depth rating.

    The condition of the dial is superb, with the black matte finishing perfectly intact, and the luminous hour markers also perfectly preserved, displaying the characteristic waffle texture and a charming ivory hue.

    The "Red Sub”, offered complete of all its original accessories, is the ideal contender for a one watch collection – subtle enough not to draw attention, but with a flash of flair thanks to the red "Submariner" print to add interest.

  • 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 fine and rare stainless steel automatic wristwatch with center seconds, date, "Red Sub" dial, bracelet, Guarantee and box

Circa 1973
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF37,800

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