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Why We Love It
In the early 1980s, Rolex improved upon the original Submariner Date model, releasing the Reference 16800. Improvements over the original 1680 model included a sub a uni-directional ratcheting “click” bezel, a sapphire crystal with a lower profile and a quick-set date function. It was also given an increased depth rated to 300m, up from the 200m depth rating of the 1680. A high beat movement was also added, offering additional accuracy. Early 16800 models featured a matte dial, while later variants became some of the first Submariner’s to feature the now ubiquitous glossy dials with applied luminous indices framed with white gold surrounds
This beauty is the former, with its utilitarian matte dial and deep, creamy tritium lume throughout. If the stunning dial isn't enticing enough, the case is thick sharp, retaining its factory beveling. It's a spectacular example of a down right classic, with all of the mechanical benefits of more modern references, yet retaining that down and dirty tool watch aesthetic.
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 Movement. Reference 16800. Circa 1983 .
Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use and factory bevels present. Matte, tritium dial is in excellent condition with stunning cream patina on indices and matching Mercedes handset. Signed crown.
Includes stainless steel Oyster bracelet with signed Flip-lock clasp (93150/593 HD), and dive extension engraved 'Jun Alfiler' and clasp engraved 8506.
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