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Why We Love It
As a successor to the iconic Reference 1680, the 16610 embodies the spirit of the original Submariner Date with function-first design, and legendary build quality. Early 16610 models utilized Tritium luminous material, while later references moved to Luminova, making it a truly significant transitional piece. The 16610 is also the last reference Submariner Date to use the classically proportioned tapered 39mm Oyster case, marking the end of an era, and making it a true Neo-Vintage classic!
This transitional example features the rare and often under appreciated 'Swiss Only' dial. Produced for about a year or two (depending on who you ask) these dials have been a bit over looked in favor of their tritium predecessors. However, as more and more collectors look a bit closer, they are beginning to remember that small, short lived dial variations are the name of the game when it comes to collectibility.
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.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex automatic winding movement. Reference 16610. Circa 1999.
Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing only slight wear with no prior signs of polishing. Luminous glossy black dial is excellent condition with applied white gold Luminova indices with matching handset. Signed crown. Factory caseback sticker remains intact.
Includes stainless steel solid link Oyster bracelet with signed Flip-Lock clasp (93150/501B). Also includes inner and outer boxes, booklets, 1999/2000 calendar card, punched papers and dealer warranty card from LA Swiss - Watch City Toronto.
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