Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1978
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D776’361
    Case No: 5’586’508, 1665 repeated inside caseback, issue number: 2109
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller, “COMEX”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “93150”, endlinks stamped “580”, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “I4”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex dive watches have been the pinnacle and the most quintessential professional tool watches ever produced with an established and renowned heritage of being a major pioneer and contributor to deep sea explorations. First released in 1967, the Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 is the very first serially produced dive watch with an advanced helium gas escape valve designed in collaboration with COMEX, first appearing in the rare ref. 5514 specially made for COMEX. Featuring for the first time a date function, the ref. 1665 was an important milestone for the firm as its increased depth rating was achieved by their innovative valve.

    While the reference was released in many different dial variations with its earliest examples bearing two lines of red texts and its later examples featured a dial with its texts fully in white. Made by the Stern company, the present example features a rare “rail dial” configuration which was only produced from 1977 – 1979. Identifiable via the “C” of Chronometer lines up perfectly with the “C” of Certified below, with its depth rating in italic fonts. Furthermore, it is the only ref. 1665 with a “SWISS-T<25” dial.

    The present example is not just any regular ref. 1665, as noticeable at immediate glance on the dial featuring the coveted “COMEX” signature. Between 1976 – 1981 it is confirmed that 300 examples of the ref. 1665 were issued to COMEX with its issue number starting from 2000 to 2300 inscribed on the caseback. It is also believed that examples from this specific batch featured a serial number starting from 5.14 million to 6.76 million. Early examples from the batch featured a distinct “Pisani” dial configuration named after the great scholar of COMEX, Marcello Pisani. These dials were special as it featured a depth rating of 600 meters instead of the 610 meters featured in regular commercial examples. The casebacks were all deep milled with their corresponding issue numbers with some examples featuring the COMEX logo on the caseback with examples featuring a 5.5 million case or later with an arched Rolex logo flanked by two coronets. It is also believed that only some examples are inscribed with their serial number inside the caseback with some original examples from the specific batch without.

    Offered in attractive overall condition, the present example Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “COMEX” featuring a “Pisani rail dial” from circa 1978 with a 5.58 million serial and its issue number: 2109 is a stunning specimen of this coveted series. Featuring essentially all the elements that are correct to its specific model, the voluptuous case, ghost bezel and a clean dial with its rare 600-meter depth rating is one for the discerned vintage Rolex collector to add their collection of important dive watches.

  • 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 very fine and rare stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with small seconds, date, gas escape valve, “Pisani rail dial” and bracelet, made for COMEX

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

HK$700,000 - 1,300,000 

Sold for HK$1,386,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022