Rolex Submariner Date

Rolex Submariner Date

Why We Love It

The Rolex Submariner is the iconic tool watch. 

Some might argue, however, that Rolex doesn't make tool watches anymore. They make luxury watches. Some of which just happen to carry that sporting DNA.

Setting aside the fact that getting a new Sub from an AD is nigh impossible for the average client- the truth of the matter is that the current maxi-case Subs of today bear a shrinking resemblance to their more diminutive, function forward, and rough and tumble forefathers. But there was a brief moment in Rolex's history where their watches retained touches of their tool watch roots while their models began to move upmarket. This is most apparent in the mid 1980s 'transitional' gloss dial examples in which both white gold indices and Tritium luminescent material were used. For the modern collector, this means elevated finishing with a glossy dial and white gold elements, but the lume will continue to develop character, which subsequent models cannot. 

This particular example, a beautiful Tritium dial 16800 is that snapshot in Rolex history.

Its case is sharp and unpolished, its bezel crisp and clean- punctuated by a richly aged pip. The dial is clean and elegant, and is just beginning to show the warmth and character that comes with age. 

While matte and gilt dial Subs continue to sell for record numbers, these transitional examples offer an amazing opportunity for vintage enthusiasts to own a pivotal moment in Rolex's history for an impressively low price point...

... for now. 

The Story

The Reference 1680, released in 1966, deviated from previous iterations of the Submariner--like the beloved ref. 5513--by including a date window. This change was remarkably divisive because, according the diehards, if you need a date on your dive watch, you're kind of screwed.

Despite the divided opinions on the Ref. 1680, from a non-purist's standpoint, it ticks all the boxes for a tool watch. A sturdy stainless steel case? Check. Robust movement that is dust-proof, shock-proof, and waterproof? Check, check, and check.

The ref. 16800, successor to the Ref. 1680, is viewed as a transitional model because it's the first Submariner reference to have a sapphire crystal. Another slightly polarizing change is the inclusion of white gold surrounds to the hour plots. It was also fitted with a uni-directional ratcheting bezel, a glossy (rather than matte) dial, a high-beat Rolex Cal. 3035 movement, and a quick-set date function.


SKU: AS03291

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Reference 16800. Rolex Caliber 3035 automatic movement. Circa 1984.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing no signs of polish and light wear consistent with age and use. Luminous gloss black dialshows signs of aging with light cream colored patination and crisp printing. Handset shows matching patination. Signed crown.

Includes stainless steel Oyster bracelet (93150/593 )with signed Flip-Lock clasp.

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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.


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