Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1981
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D807597
    Case No: 6'675'673
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller "Great White"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet with diver's extension, max length 205mm (without extension)
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped F
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1967, the Sea-Dweller is the ultimate tool watch. Originally conceived for dive expeditions, the model was officially introduced for civilian use in 1967. While the earliest prototype examples featured single line bearing "Sea-Dweller" in red, Rolex later printed both the depth rating and Sea-Dweller signature in red. The Sea-Dweller's biggest technical innovation was the helium escape valve. During the 1960s, most watches did not have the capacity to submerge into great depths without breaking. The Helium Escape Valve allowed helium gas, which built up underwater, to be released during decompression.
    In 1977 around the 5.2 million serial number, production of Rolex's Double Red Sea Dweller ceased. Around the same time, a new generation of reference 1665 was launched, no longer featuring the red lettering on the dial and fitted with differently inscribed casebacks. Thanks to its purity on the dial, lacking any bright colors, collectors refer to this model as the “Great White”.

    During the next four years, different "Great White" dial variants were produced by Rolex and scholarship today divides them into five typologies ranging from Mark 0 to Mark 4, of which the present watch is a Mk 3 example. The present watch is distinguished by its exceptional state of preservation. offered in possibly unpolished condition, the case is incredibly crisp with sharp bevels. It even retains the original black varnsih within the engravings on the outside caseback. Even the inside caseback does not display any service marks. Furthermore, the dial has aged with warm patina, is unblemished in appearance and matches the hands.

    The present watch ticks all the boxes in both desirability and condition, rendering it an exceptionally collectible timepiece.

  • 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. 1665
A rare, attractive and extremely well-preserved stainless steel wristwatch with center seconds, helium escape valve and bracelet

Circa 1981
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF25,400

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