Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII Hong Kong Saturday, June 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1978
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D’122’859
    Case No: 5’951’797, repeated inside caseback
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller, “Rail Dial”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “93150”, endlinks stamped “585”, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped “VD”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by blank Rolex guarantee, green wallet, hang tags, product literature, 1978 calendar card, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Designed to endure the harsh environment of deep sea exploration, Rolex in close collaboration with COMEX, (Compagnie Maritime d’Experises, a French diving company) had a long relationship in creating historically important timing instrument under extreme depths. First introduced to the public in 1967, the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 features a helium escape valve to release pressure during expeditions of deeper depths.

    Following the coveted Double Red Sea-Dweller ref.1665, Rolex introduced the “Great White” variant. Notable for its all white “SEA-DWELLER” text and the absence of “SUBMARINER 2000” designation, hence the nickname “Great White”, this is the very first time the Sea-Dweller exist as a lineage of independence rather than an extension of the Submariner 5513.

    Further enhanced by its rarity, the present example is what collectors known as the MK II rail dial variant of the reference. With production for only two years between 1977 to 1979 with a serial number between 5.7 million to 6.2 million, the dials were made by the Stern Company instead of Singer. Elusive and highly collectible, the Rail dial can be distinguished by the subtle details. The “C” of chronometer lines up with the “C” of Certified creating an unusual yet pleasing vertical corridor or rail between the last two lines of the designation is what gives the dial its nickname. It’s worth noting that the MK II variant is also the only Sea-Dweller that bears a “T SWISS T <25” amongst all variants.

    The present specimen featuring a 5.9 million serial is most definitely a desirable and rare one. Well-preserved and in great proportions throughout, furthermore the luminous material has gained a warm yellow patina enhancing its vintage appeal.

  • 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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Property from a Japanese Collector


Ref. 1665
An attractive and rare stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with rail dial, center seconds, helium escape valve, date, bracelet, blank guarantee and presentation box

Circa 1978
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$95,000 - 160,000 

Sold for HK$277,200

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021