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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1978
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D595’179
    Case No: 5’766’999, inside caseback stamped 1665
    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 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “AD1”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex guarantee stamped Joyeria Remis dated 17th December 1980, product literature and green passport holder.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1967, Rolex officially introduced the first ever Sea-Dweller model via ref. 1665 featuring a two red lines of texts “SEA-DWELLER” and “SUBMARINER 2000” earning its nickname the Double Red Sea-Dweller. However, Rolex replaced the double red dials with the pure “Great White” dial removing the two lines of red texts. While the majority of the attention were for earlier examples of the reference, it is with no doubt that early examples of the “Great White” are rare. In production for only a mere two years, the Rail Dial is certainly an elusive timepiece. Manufactured by the Stern company (now owned by Patek Philippe), these rail dials differ from traditional dials manufactured by Singer.

    Most notably, the last “E” of “superlative” and the “Y” of “officially” are perfectly aligned, as are the “C” of “chronometer” and “certified”. This creates a very pleasing and unusual vertical “corridor” (or rail) of space between the last two lines of the designation, and it is what gives the dial its nickname. Another detail unique to the Rail Dial is the Swiss designation reading “T Swiss T < 25”: no other Sea-Dweller dial, including the Comex 1665 (whose dial was made by Stern as well) presents this designation.

    The present Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 from circa 1978 with a correct 5.7 million serial is certainly a delight for collectors to witness. Boasting a clean and attractive dial with large creamy white lume plots matching the material on the hands, the case remains nice and thick with an attractive dark navy blue bezel insert that has faded over the years heightening its vintage appeal. The present example is offered with its original guarantee dated 17th December 1980.

  • 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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969

Ref. 1665
A fine and rare stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with "rail dial", center seconds, date, gas escape valve, bracelet and guarantee

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

Estimate
HK$78,000 - 155,000 
€8,200-16,300
$10,000-19,900

Sold for HK$302,400

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