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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1991
    Reference No: 16600
    Movement No: 6’191’459
    Case No: N421’575, repeated inside caseback
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller “COMEX”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3135, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “93160”, endlinks stamped “592B”, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “R2”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Japan service guarantee, Rolex Japan service invoice, outer packaging and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    For dedicated collectors of vintage Rolex sports watches, most would agree that one of the most celebrated and important collaborations was between Rolex and COMEX. The partnership between the two organizations witnessed their first serially produced wristwatch, the Rolex Sea-Dweller. While its aesthetics remain very much similar to the Submariner, an important feature developed by COMEX would set the two apart, the helium gas escape valve. Attached to the left side of the caseband, the helium gas escape valve allows gas to escape in one outward direction while retaining its waterproof capabilities, enabling for a much deeper depth rating.

    While Rolex was the official timekeeping instrument for COMEX, a series of wristwatches featured the “COMEX” logo on the dial throughout its decades of relationship. The last reference to feature the “COMEX” logo on the dial was the Sea-Dweller ref. 16600. Released in 1988, the ref. 16600 enjoyed a long production run of 20 years and was discontinued in 2008. However, it was not until 1992 that the ref. 16600 was utilized by COMEX. Being the official professional dive watch for the French maritime company, the ref. 16600 was made with 200 examples featuring the “COMEX” logo on the dial between 1992 – 1997, with its batch number starting from 3200 and ending at 3400. During the period, the ref. 16600 was used in HYDRA - LUDION missions 1 and 2, which were historical undersea missions whose purpose was to study a new deep diving process using hydrogen instead of helium.

    The present example Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 16600 COMEX with an “N” serial from circa 1991 bearing batch number “3220” inscribed in the correct manner for the period on the caseback, the present example is fresh to the market and is the 20th example of the ref. 16600 commissioned by COMEX.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Property from a Japanese Collector

844

Ref. 16600
A very fine, attractive and rare stainless steel diver’s wristwatch center seconds, date, helium escape valve, bracelet and presentation box, made for COMEX

Circa 1991
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$480,000 - 700,000 
€50,400-73,600
$61,500-89,700

Sold for HK$1,008,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021