Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D'406'591
    Case No: 3'309'765
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Lizard
    Clasp/Buckle: Gold plated Rolex buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched around 1967, reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be fitted with a date function. The model was most typically cased in stainless steel. Early examples displayed a ‘meters first’ depth rating, with the ‘Submariner’ script printed in red, hence the name ‘Red Submariner.’

    Yet, an even more unusual Submariner is one cased in yellow gold. Reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be cased in the precious metal, which provided a fresh, glamorous and luxurious update to a watch most traditionally associated with stainless steel.

    The present watch is preserved in excellent condition, with crisp hallmarks beneath the lugs. What is most striking is the special matte blue dial, which to the best of our knowledge, has never appeared on a yellow gold Submariner before. It is a hybrid between the commonly found black matte dial and blue soleil dial - one can only conclude that it was a test dial used in the 1970s to broaden Rolex's catalog, during a time when the manufacture was (and continues to) pushing boundaries. The blue dial is preserved in excellent condition, and the luminous material has aged evenly with the hands. As an even nicer touch, it's accompanied by a matching blue Attila Aszodi lizard strap.

  • 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
An ulta-rare and attractive yellow gold wristwatch with date, center seconds and special matte blue dial

Circa 1972
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF35,000 - 70,000 

Sold for CHF88,200

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020