Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN New York Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1979
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: D603’948
    Case No: 5’714’574, inside caseback stamped 1665
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller, “Great White” MK III
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 93150, endlinks stamped 580, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped VC
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed. Dial additionally signed by retailer.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1967, the Sea-Dweller joined the Milgauss, Daytona, Submariner, and GMT-Master as part of Rolex’s tool watch line up. The Sea-Dweller on the surface seemed redundant to the Submariner, which at the time could reach a respectable 660 feet depth, more than necessary for most divers. However, Rolex wanted to accompany those pioneers seeking to reach the deepest parts of the ocean – and stay there for an extended period of time. One problem with deep sea diving at the time was the fact the Submariners’ crystal could pop off due to the build-up of helium molecules during saturation dives. Rolex solved the problem by incorporating an ingenious helium escape valve (HEV) into the left side of the Sea-Dweller case, a revolutionary invention now in use by so many brands today. While the earliest iterations were engraved with “Patent Pending Rolex Oyster Gas Escape Valve” on their case backs, this later changed to “Rolex Patent Oyster” once the patent was granted, as seen on the present watch.

    In the late 1970s, Rolex ended its production of the Double Red Sea-Dweller featuring two lines of text in red on the dial 6 o’clock and replaced it with the “Great White” dial, which no longer used red lines of text. The present example is fitted with a MK III dial, distinguished by the closed “6” in “610” and the slope of the “f” in “ft”. Elevating the importance of this example is the prestigious and highly coveted “Tiffany & Co.” retailer signature featured on the dial.

    The present watch is well-preserved, with a lovely dial and stands out by its homogeneously aged luminous material on the hour markers and luminous pearl on the bezel. The Sea-Dweller is a sporty and versatile watch that is both highly collectible and suitable for daily wear.

  • 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 rare and fine stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with gas escape valve, date, MK III dial, and bracelet, retailed by Tiffany & Co.

Circa 1979
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed. Dial additionally signed by retailer.

$18,000 - 36,000 

Sold for $23,940

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

New York Auction 10 - 11 December 2022