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Why We Love It
The Rolex Submariner is without question the brand's most iconic model, and is a perennial favorite among collectors, enthusiasts, fashionistas, and yes - actual divers. And while you aren't likely to see a Submariner clad in a yellow gold case gracing the outside of a dry suit, it's hard to argue that models such as this 1680/8 aren't every bit as awesome as their steel siblings - or perhaps even more so.
Casing a Submariner in 18K gold is almost a tacit acknowledgement that very few of Rolexes sporting models ever get used as originally intended - and that in its own right is a pleasing sentiment. It says that Rolex knows who they are, who their customers are, know they are above any possible reproach - and damn the torpedoes, we're making this beastie in solid gold!
The Reference 1680/8 we have here dates to approximately 1978, and is the first Submariner model to be offered in solid gold. It features a desirable matte "nipple" dial with tritium luminous material, an acrylic crystal, and a matching gold date wheel.
This contradictory blend of technical design and functionality with a precious metal case is a polarizing one, and depending on how its worn (and indeed, by whom), can send very different signals - and we'll just leave it at that. Of course, if you want to avoid any possible negative stereotyping, going with a vintage model will certainly alleviate the concern!
This particular example is one the finest we have ever come across, featuring a professionally refinished case with thick lugs and an absolutely stunning black dial with matching handset. Aside from some rich patination, this watch looks very much the way it did when it left the factory - which is, to say, absolutely brilliant.
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 Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 1680/8. Calibre 3035 Automatic Movement. Circa 1978.
Overall Condition: Professionally refinished case is in fantastic condition showing only light signs of wear from normal use. Case hallmarks are clear and deep. Luminous matte black "nipple" dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and rich even patination to the luminescent indices and matching handset. Replacement bezel pip. Rolex signed crown.
Includes 20mm Montserrat Green Analogshift leather strap with gold plated pin buckle.
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