Rolex Submariner Date
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Rolex Submariner Date

Why We Love It

The Reference 1680, originally released in 1966, deviated from previous iterations of the Submariner with the inclusion of a date function.

To some, this change was remarkably divisive because, according to the diehards, if you need to know the date during a dive, you're kind of screwed. Regardless of how much of a dive watch “purist” you might be, there’s no debating the usefulness of a date function in normal everyday life. And furthermore, the 1680 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.

This particular example dates to circa 1979 and features a professionally refinished case with an absolutely jaw-dropping patinated matte dial and matching handset. This is one of the best examples we have seen of the the first generation Submariner Date.

As a watch for all occasions, and for all wrists, this example wont last long!

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.

 

Details

SKU: AS03700

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Automatic-winding movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 1680. Circa 1979.

Overall Condition: The professionally refinished case is in pristine condition overall showing only faint wear from handling. Luminous matte black dial is in fantastic condition with rich even patina and matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes Analog:Shift Denham Beige leather strap with steel pin buckle.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

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