Rolex Submariner Ref. 16800

Rolex Submariner Ref. 16800

Why We Love It

There is no question that the Rolex Submariner is one of the most recognized and adored wristwatches of all time.  And for good reason; Hans Wilsdorf’s Oyster case design was never more imperative than through its application in the purpose-built diver. 

But the Submariner’s ubiquity has turned up the noses of many a collector who eschew commonness, showing interest instead in the oldest and rarest executions of the model, or those that boast the most impressive condition or unique states of aging and patina.  Superb examples of rare Submariners can fetch big dollars.  A Ref. 6538 Submariner recently sold at Christie’s for over $1,000,000. 

That’s why we love this Ref. 16800 so much.  It offers the a very intriguing entry point to the coolness of a Submariner, while also getting something that’s a little different.

But instead of spending an arm and a leg (or more), you slide coolly in under $9K for a watch that has an incredibly sharp 39mm case and Tritium dial and hands.  Sure, the dial is glossy, but so were the very first Submariner dials that Rolex ever made.  Okay, so crystal is sapphire, you’ll be glad it is when you wear it every damn day.  Oh yeah, and it’s got quick-set date and a Ref. 93150 Oyster bracelet with flip-lock claps and diver’s extension, a little "you're welcome" from Rolex themselves.  

It’s a beautiful, useful Rolex Submariner that you can enjoy every day, just as Wilsdorf intended.  It's certainly got us thinking...

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: AS02692

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

Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition over all, with very light signs of wear and aging throughout. The steel case is thick with sharp, thick lugs showing no signs of polishing. Gloss Tritium dial is in very good condition, with some very light aging around the hour markers consistent with other examples from this era. The unidirectional ratcheting bezel is in very good condition with a nicely aged pearl. Tritium hands are in likewise excellent condition and match dial perfectly. Rolex screw back is in excellent condition. Rolex Triplock crown.

Includes one 20mm Ref. 93150/593 Oyster bracelet with flip lock clasp stamped I/11 (1984) and diver's extension.

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