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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1972
    Reference No: 1665 inside caseback repeated with serial number 3'576'949
    Movement No: D515173
    Case No: 3'576'949
    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" and "285" to the endlinks, 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. Thus, the Submariner was adapted to the stricter requirements of professional diving endeavors - such as the 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 off the watch during ascent after prolonged sojourn in the habitat.

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

    The present Sea-Dweller 1665 is notably a highly sought-after "Double Red" example, featuring two lines of red text. This detail is found only in early examples, as in 1977 it is abandoned in favor of full white graphics (the so-called “Great White” Sea-Dweller).

    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.

    When admiring its caseback, however, a whole new layer of historical importance comes to light, as the watch was not simply bought by a civilian, but rather it was used for 3 years (1974-1976) by Mr. Gino Salotti, a deep water diver operating on oil rigs in the North Sea, as the engraving to the back commemorates. The danger such employment presents are remarkable even today, but in the seventies they must have been momentous. The selection of a Rolex timepiece for this job underlines the supremacy in the compartment of tool watches the company enjoyed during the past century.

    The watch was publicly for the first time in 2018 in this very saleroom and offered by the original owner, which makes this watch a "two owner since new" piece, 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.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 1665 inside caseback repeated with serial number 3'576'949
A fascinating, historical, personalized and deployed "on the field" stainless steel diver's wristwatch with center seconds, gas escape valve, date, "Double Red" dial, engraved back and bracelet

40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF30,000 - 60,000 

Sold for CHF47,880

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