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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1970
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D692384
    Case No: 2'497'827
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Rolex deployant clasp stamped "1 70"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 1680 was released in 1966 and was the first Rolex dive watch to feature a date wheel in stainless steel. Following the success of the steel model, Rolex introduced a yellow gold version in 1969, the first Submariner to be produced in the precious metal.

    It was introduced with an option of either a blue dial with blue bezel insert or black dial with black bezel insert. The idea of adopting a noble metal case for sport's timepieces - also enacted on the Daytona at around the same period - seems now normal, but at the time was quite unusual. The fact that Rolex had the audacity to do so speaks volume about the vision of the company. It can be speculated that the Rolex management had possibly realized the incumbent arrival of cheap quartz watches and were beginning already back then to re-orient the company toward a more luxury market segment.

    The dial witnessed on the reference differs from its stainless steel examples as it features numerals now playfully known as "nipple indexes", conical gold markers with a small lume-filled opening at the top. Furthermore, very early examples featured Mark I "meters first" depth rating with later examples with "feet first" depth rating. With the switch from meters first to feet first taking place in the early 2.4 million, the present 2'497'827 example is one of the very earliest representative of MKII dial.

    Offered with its solid gold bracelet, a stunningly well-preserved dial, this is an unmissable opportunity to own an highly appealing and early example of the first luxury diver's watch made by Rolex.

  • 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
A highly rare and attractive yellow gold automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date, "nipple" dial and bracelet

Circa 1970
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF50,400

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