A rare and attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with date, bracelet, box and literature about the original owner's career, made for COMEX

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1984
    Reference No: 16800
    Movement No: 1'121'075
    Case No: 8'274'602, caseback stamped M. Ward, 6150, 30-03-1984
    Model Name: "COMEX" Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3035, 27 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Oyster bracelet, reference 93150, end links stamped 593, max length 250mm.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp with extension links stamped 93150
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by original Rolex fitted box and Rolex Service Guarantee dated February 23, 2011 and further by documents accounting for Mr. Ward’s professional career and dive logs.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Within the constantly evolving Rolex Submariner product line, the reference 16800 is noteworthy for being the first Submariner to be fitted with a sapphire crystal. Requiring a redesigned bezel, the enhancements significantly increased the Submariner’s water resistance, rising from a depth rating of 200 meters to 300. Considered a transitional model, the earliest versions of the 16800 were fitted with matte dials with luminous markers directly applied to the dial, whereas later versions, like the present lot, were fitted with glossy dials with luminous, white gold markers. As of the late 1960s, Rolex exclusively supplied different Submariner and Sea-Dweller models featuring the patented helium escape valve, to COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise) in Marseilles. They were issued to their specialist divers with each watch marked COMEX on the dial and numbered on the rear. A gas escape valve was fitted within the case to release built up pressure, preventing the watches from exploding when they surfaced from the depths of the oceans. Like many “issued” Rolex watches, the inside case backs of COMEX watches would bear the full serial number (or in some instances the last 3 digits) corresponding to the number found between the lugs at 6 o'clock. The present COMEX Submariner belonged to Maurice Ward, an emeritus diver who worked on the Phillips Maureen Platform, a unique device made for the search of oil in the North Sea, designed to float out to its location, and once oil production ceased, to re-float for use on another field. It is believed that the present watch was gifted to Mr. Ward on March 30, 1984. The present lot comes accompanied not only with its original fitted box and recent Rolex Service Guarantee, but also documents accounting for Mr. Ward’s professional career and dive logs. The case retains perfect proportions, the case back engraving is clear and legible, and the serial and inside caseback numbers perfectly match. A rare opportunity to obtain a special and uncommon variant of the fabled ‘COMEX Submariner’ to one's collection.

  • 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. 16800
A rare and attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with date, bracelet, box and literature about the original owner's career, made for COMEX

1984
41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed.

Estimate
CHF40,000 - 60,000 
€36,700-55,100
$41,200-61,800

sold for CHF75,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016