A very rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, center seconds and bracelet, made for the Libyan Army

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1979
    Reference No: 1680, caseback stamped with repeated case number 5'714'293
    Movement No: D563297
    Case No: 5'714'293
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 580, 205 mm. maximum length
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39 mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: Another example of a reference 1680 however with 'red' text is illustrated in "100 Superlative Rolex Watches" by John Goldberger, page 189.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex has earned a reputation for creating the most robust and reliable mechanical wristwatches that one can own. Over the decades, many of the world’s nations have commissioned through Rolex watches for their high-ranking military officials to use for mission critical purposes.
    The present watch, reference 1680 Submariner, is a very compelling and unusual example to behold. Our research suggests that this watch was made for the Libyan Army. The caseback is inscribed “Alhanout Alaskari” in Arabic script, which roughly translates to "Military Forces, Officer's Barraks". The inside case back is further engraved with the serial number, along with the reference number, confirming the present watch was made on special order for Rolex. According to our research, only one other example made for the Libyan army, has surfaced on the market, which was manufactured in 1977. The present watch is thus incredibly rare, even for its sheer historical value. This fresh-to-the-auction market watch has survived over 35 years in excellent overall condition, making it hard to believe this military issued watch was ever exposed to the battlefield. The matte black dial with its crisp ‘white’ Submariner logo is furthermore preserved in excellent condition, and the numerals have aged to a light orange attractive tone. Its extraordinary provenance and rarity, combined with its superb condition, makes this military issued Rolex Submariner an exciting find for the connoisseur.

  • Maker Bio

    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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Rolex

Ref. 1680, caseback stamped with repeated case number 5'714'293
A very rare stainless steel wristwatch with date, center seconds and bracelet, made for the Libyan Army

1979
39 mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 40,000 
€18,400-36,700
$20,600-41,200

sold for CHF35,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016