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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1980
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D596'417
    Case No: 6'675'826, repeated inside the case back
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller, made for COMEX
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 1570
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster, reference 93150, end links stamped 585
    Clasp/Buckle: Twin lock folding clasp, stamped 93150
    Dimensions: 39.5mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, dial further signed for COMEX, case back stamped with COMEX issue number 2255 and signed Rolex Patent Oyster Gas Escape Valve
    Literature: A similar example of a reference 1665 made for COMEX is illustrated in 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, by John Goldberger, pages 222 to 223

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the late 1960s, Rolex worked in collaboration with the deep sea diving company Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise, or COMEX, to develop the helium escape valve – and the basis for the Sea-Dweller. While working inside pressure-controlled diving chambers, the tiny helium atoms of the air mixture that COMEX divers breathed would penetrate the case and get trapped inside, causing their watches to burst upon resurfacing. The helium escape valve was a brilliantly simple solution that allowed the helium to easily escape. Rolex produced a batch of approximately 300 reference 1665 Sea-Dwellers for COMEX between 1977 to 1981. Their dials featured the COMEX logo printed in black inside a white box. Their casebacks were engraved with a prominent issue number and inside, the full serial number was engraved. The present example includes its original COMEX dial noted by the 600 m depth rating. The dial’s luminous hour markers have gracefully aged to a pleasing ivory-colored tone, identically matching the color of the original luminous hands.

  • Artist Biography

    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.

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173

Ref. 1665
A fine and rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, centre seconds, bracelet and gas escape valve, made for COMEX

1980
Stainless steel
39.5mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, dial further signed for COMEX, case back stamped with COMEX issue number 2255 and signed Rolex Patent Oyster Gas Escape Valve

Estimate
CHF60,000 - 90,000 

Sold for CHF75,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Watch Auction: One

Geneva Auction 10 May 2015 6:30pm