Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 2018
    Reference No: 116659SABR
    Movement No: L5'5J9'205
    Case No: 2C'00Z'305
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: 18K white gold and sapphires
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3135, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K white gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 41mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee dated June 27th, 2021, wallet, product literature, presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Submariner model exemplifies the historic link between Rolex and the world of diving. Since its introduction in 1953, it has evolved technically and aesthetically as it has been endowed with features to improve its overall functionality. More than seventy years have passed and what was a professional timepiece has transcended its original vocation to eventually become one of the most recognized and appreciated timepieces made by the brand.

    The present gem-set version reference 116659SABR perfectly illustrates Rolex’s idiosyncrasy and forward thinking to reinvent the aesthetic code of a tool watch. Lavishly pavé with 36 baguette-cut blue sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel as well as on the top of the lugs, the present watch is dazzling. Its unidirectional 60-minute graduated bezel, allowing divers to monitor their time underwater, has been carefully inlaid with lighter blue shade sapphires between 12 and 3 o’clock to differentiate the 15-minute decompression stops. Incredibly eye-catching and alluring, this timepiece shows Rolex's expertise in the time-consuming task of selecting, along with setting, well-matched hard stones and gemstones. Interestingly, the letters in the reference number are short for the French words “SAphirs, “BRillants” to denote the sapphires and diamonds on the bezel.

    Preserved in excellent and unpolished condition, the present watch is accompanied by its Rolex guarantee, additional links, product literature, presentation box and outer packaging.

    The final layer of appeal for the collector is given by the impossible rarity of this model: it appears that Rolex highly restricted the output of gem-set pieces in recent years, making the few specimens leaving the workshop some of the most fiercely sought-after watches currently in production. This bejeweled Submariner will undoubtedly cater to the collector who enjoys the unconventional, mesmerizing take on the iconic tool watch.

  • 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. 116659SABR
A highly rare, bedazzling and sporty white gold and sapphire-set wristwatch with center seconds, date, bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

41mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for CHF104,140

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023