Rolex - Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History Hong Kong Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1971
    Reference No: 1680
    Movement No: D485447
    Case No: 2’816’224
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet, 200 mm. maximum length
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k gold Rolex twinlock folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 40 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For another example of a yellow gold reference 1680 however fitted with Khanjar’ dial, see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 188.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched around 1967, reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be fitted with a date function. The model was most typically cased in stainless steel. Early examples displayed a ‘meters first’ depth rating, with the ‘Submariner’ script printed in red, hence the name ‘Red Submariner.’

    Yet, an even more unusual Submariner is one cased in yellow gold. Reference 1680 was the first Submariner model to be cased in the precious metal, which provided a fresh, glamorous and luxurious update to the watch most traditionally associated with stainless steel.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    This watch is a very cool variant of the yellow gold Submariner, as the dial has ‘turned’ from a blue color, like the bezel, to a wonderful hazy purple color. While one would expect a black colored dial to have a ‘tropical’ effect, it is very surprising when a blue dial also ages over time.

    The ‘tropical’ effect can only be achieved when the dial interacts with the sun, causing the pigment to react and ‘turn’. The center of the dial is a lighter purple tone, emanating and growing darker towards the edges, giving the watch a dégradé finish.

    The case is furthermore preserved in excellent condition with sharp finishes to the top of the lugs, bevels, and crisp hallmarks to the back of the lugs. The watch is also fitted with the popular 'nipple' dial, with tritium raised markers, which have aged with ivory patina and match the hands. The plexi crystal is furthermore original.

  • 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. 1680
A very rare, attractive and unusual yellow gold wristwatch with sweep center seconds, date, purple ‘tropical’ ‘nipple’ dial and bracelet

Circa 1971
40 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

HK$240,000 - 480,000 

Sold for HK$562,500

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Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016