A fine and rare stainless steel automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date, "Double Red" Mark III dial and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1972
    Reference No: 1665
    Case No: 3'576'949, caseback further stamped "3'576'949", "1665" and "I72" to the inside
    Model Name: "Double Red" Sea-Dweller
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster extendable bracelet stamped "9315", endlinks stamped "285", max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "4 71"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    When the Rolex Submariner was launched in 1953, it represented Rolex’s answer to the demands of the fast-growing community of recreational scuba divers, at the time a novel sport. Soon, however, the company realized that it could also provide diver’s watches to professional institutions - such as COMEX - and began a joined Research & Development process with these companies to adapt the Submariner to the stricter requirements of professional diving endeavors such as testing them in new underwater habitats which were being developed at the time. The results of this process is a series of “upgraded” Submariner watches featuring improved water resistance and, at times, the Helium Escape Valve, developed to avoid the glass popping out of the watch during decompression.

    In 1971, a civilian version of these timepieces was launched with the Sea-Dweller line, the name inspired by the underwater habitats into which the scientists, and their watches, would dwell for extended periods of time.

    The present piece belongs to this line of highly advanced divers’ wristwatches, and it is a specimen from the so-called “Double Red” series, featuring two lines of red text. This detail would be abandoned in favor of full white graphics: the so-called “Great White” Sea-Dweller in 1977. Interestingly, the first examples of reference 1665 bear either the last three digits or - such as the present watch - the full serial number inside the caseback, a highly unusual detail for a standard production Rolex wristwatch. Normally, such a practice was adopted by the company for special order timepieces.

    The dial of the Double Red Sea-Dweller presents an evolution over time, each iteration identified as a Mark. This specimen features a Mark 3 dial, characterized by a number of traits: the “SUBMARINER 2000” designation features smaller font than the “SEA-DWELLER” one, the red writing is applied directly onto the black background without the underlying white plot seen on earlier versions, and the Rolex crown is very well defined.

    Highly increasing its appeal and collectability, the present specimen is offered by its original owner: Mr Gino Salotti. As the engraving to the back commemorates, Mr. Salotti was not a civilian who wanted a more technologically advanced Submariner simply for the sake of having one. Rather, he was a deep-water diver active on oil rigs in the North Sea between 1974 and 1976. His choice was motivated by the need for a truly reliable and outstandingly water resistant timepiece to aid him in his highly dangerous job, precisely the kind made by Rolex.

    This is a rare occasion for the collector of professional timepieces to own a wristwatch which truly lived through the hardships of deep-water diving implies, a witness of the dangers of one of the most risky and technically challenging jobs in the world. It is unsurprising that its owner decided to eternally commemorate the three years he and his faithful diving companion spent together on the job with an engraving.

  • 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. 1665
A fine and rare stainless steel automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date, "Double Red" Mark III dial and bracelet

1972
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

Estimate
CHF30,000 - 50,000 
€26,400-44,000
$30,700-51,200

sold for CHF41,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018