Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1970
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D588249
    Case No: 2'421'653
    Model Name: Submariner "Red Sub"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster "folded links" extendable bracelet stamped "280" and "9315" to the endlinks, max length (unextended) 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "4 70"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex service Guarantee card dated December 12, 2020 and service invoice dated January 12, 2021

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Rolex Submariner has become such an icon that not only can it be considered the benchmark for all future diving watches, but it has also spawned its own scholarly following devoted to every nuance and variation from its first appearance in the Rolex catalogue in 1954 until the present day.

    Launched around 1967, reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be fitted with a date function. In production until the end of the 1970s, the model presents a notable evolution, with earlier examples featuring red lettering for the Submariner designation, and later examples white lettering instead. Red Subs are today extremely sought-after timepieces in virtue of their aesthetic quirkiness and of their historical importance as the first Submariner examples with date. Even within the Red Submariner family of dials, one can notice an evolution of the graphics with 6 variations (Marks). The present specimen features a Mark IV dial, recognisable by its feet first configuration (it is in fact the first “feet first” dial - a modification speculated to find its origins in the increasing prominence of the American market for Rolex at the time) coupled with the “open” 6s of the depth rating. It is also the only feet first dial to have the red print applied to an underline white plot. Mark IV dials can be found on examples from about 2.45M serial to about 3M - a production frame which mostly overlaps with MK V dials.

    The present Red Sub is made even more collectible and attractive by its superbly even “tropical” deep dark chocolate dial; while the Red Sub dials are known to at times present this aesthetic peculiarity, it hardly ever comes in such a deep and even hue.

    Furthermore, the watch was service by Rolex in 2020 which means it not only is in perfect working order, but even under Rolex Guarantee until December 2021.

  • 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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This lot is offered without Reserve


Lot offered with No Reserve

Ref. 1680
An enchanting and uncommon stainless steel automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date, MK IV tropical "Red Sub" dial, bracelet and service guarantee

40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF15,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF69,300

Contact Specialist

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

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021