A highly rare and extremely attractive stainless steel wristwatch with date, center seconds and helium escape valve

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1665 inside case back stamped 3'567'004
    Movement No: D'551'479
    Case No: 3'567'004
    Model Name: "Double Red" Sea-Dweller
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Metal buckle
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, outside caseback further signed Asprey, inside caseback with repeated serial number

  • Catalogue Essay

    This extremely remarkable dive watch may seem like a normal, well-preserved Sea-Dweller at first glance. Yet, the reverse of the watch separates this timepiece from the ordinary. The bottom of the outside caseback bears the signature of the storied retailer "Asprey", as well as a drilled hole on the outer edge of the case back as Rolex had to hold the caseback in place in order to make the engraving. Further inspection reveals something even more extraordinary - the inside case back bears the engraving of the serial number, which is a specification of a special order timepiece.

    Bearing a serial number of 3'567'004, this Sea-Dweller belongs to a batch of watches, all within a tight serial range, made for the storied retailer Asprey. Most examples within this batch display either a Khanjar or Qaboos symbol on the dial, and were delivered to His Majesty Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the Sultan of Oman. These watches were offered to British SAS officers as thanks for helping defeat the Dhofar Rebellion.

    Displaying a standard Mk III Sea-Dweller dial, this timepiece is an extremely rare specimen and destined for the British market. In fact, to the best of our knowledge, it is the only Asprey-delivered Sea-Dweller with the present dial configuration to have appeared at auction in the past half a decade.

    Its state of preservation is furthermore very noteworthy. Displaying striking pumpkin-colored luminous dots, the dial has aged gracefully over time. Furthermore, the hands have aged perfectly with the rest of the dial, giving the timepiece a bold and harmonious appearance. The case retains full proportions with bevels that are still visible. It is our belief that this watch was never fitted with a steel bracelet as there are barely any signs of wear between the lugs .

    Most interestingly, Phillips has had the privilege of selling a similar example bearing serial number 3'566'977 (27 numbers away from the present watch) bearing the Qaboos symbol at 6 o'clock with the same case specifications.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    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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Rolex

Ref. 1665 inside case back stamped 3'567'004
A highly rare and extremely attractive stainless steel wristwatch with date, center seconds and helium escape valve

Circa 1972
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, outside caseback further signed Asprey, inside caseback with repeated serial number

Estimate
CHF25,000 - 50,000 
€23,000-46,000
$25,200-50,300

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Virginie Liatard-Roessli
Specialist, Head of Sale
+41 76 338 91 03
vliatard@phillips.com

Double Signed: A Celebration of the Finest Partnerships Between Manufacturers and Retailers

Geneva Auction 9 November 2019