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Why We Love It
The Rolex 16803 has a special place in the hearts of Rolex fans.
Known as a 'transitional' model, the 16803 is the first factory produced Submariner offered in a two-tone configuration, known internally as 'Rolesor'. The model features traditional Submariner case dimensions with stainless steel and 18k elements, a sunburst blue dial with 'maxi' hour indices, rich Tritium patination, alongside more contemporary features such as a magnified sapphire crystal and Quickset Date function.
Nicknamed the "Bluesy" by collectors and enthusiasts, blue dialed Rolesor Submariners have always been produced in limited quantities by Rolex, and deliver a delightfully anachronistic appearance and a slightly irreverent wearing experience. We love 'em!
This particular example dates to circa 1984 - the very first year the model was produced - and remains in outstanding, near mint condition throughout with creamy aged lume, a sharp case, flawless dial, and even an intact Factory case back sticker!
This is the perfect storm of rare configuration, history, and condition. Don't miss it!
The Submariner Story
Rolex first debuted the Submariner at the 1954 Basel Spring Fair. It shared the stage with already-established offerings: the Explorer, the Turn-O-Graph, and a ladies' Oyster Perpetual with a chronometer certification. Compared to these other watches, the Submariner - with its oversized crown and chunky dive-timing bezel looked slightly out-of-place, and yet would become one of Rolex's most enduring models.
Rolex's quest to produce a waterproof wristwatch has its roots in the First World War, when a need arose for soldiers to have a watch that could withstand the wet, dusty conditions on the battlefield. Rolex's Oyster case of 1926 represented the culmination of a decade of development. It gained notoriety in 1927, when Mercedes Gleitze became the first British woman to swim across the English Channel. She took with her an early Rolex Oyster, in what may have been the very first example of sports marketing by a luxury brand. A series of advertisements followed this feat, featuring smiling flappers dunking their Rolex Oysters in fish tanks.
The Submariner hit the market at a time when oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau exposed the world to the wonders of undersea exploration. With the advent of SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) in the late 1950s, skin-diving as a sport became accessible to amateurs. Since a mechanical timepiece was an essential piece of equipmeny for divers in a pre-digital world, the race was on amongst Swiss manufactures to produce a professional grade timepiece. Rolex was fortunate in that René Jeanneret, one of the company's directors, was a skin-diving enthusiast, giving Rolex a unique insight into the development of their diving watch.
The resulting watch was an overnight success, and has been in continuous production ever since. The Oyster Perpetual Submariner, in all of its forms, is an icon amongst icons, a pinnacle of horological design, and a statement piece aspired to and worn by people the world over.
18k Yellow gold and stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Automatic-winding Quickset movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 16803. Circa 1984.
Overall Condition: The case is in outstanding condition overall showing only light wear consistent with age and use. Luminous blue sunburst dial is in excellent condition showing rich, even patination with matching handset. Factory case back sticker remains intact. Signed crown.
Includes two-tone solid link gold and steel Oyster bracelet (93153/493) with signed Fliplock clasp.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options