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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.
This particular example dates to circa 1996 and is amongst the last wave of Tritium dialed Submariners. It has an absolutely stunning case showing no signs of polishing, and an equally beautiful gloss black dial with creamy even patination throughout.
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). Automatic winding movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 16610. Circa 1996.
Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition overall showing factory finishing and normal wear consistent with age and use. Luminous black gloss dial is in excellent condition with evenly patinated indices and matching handset. Signed Triplock crown.
Includes solid link Oyster Bracelet 93150/501B 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