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It’s an interesting juxtaposition when something that saw life as a tool becomes a luxury item.
That’s the story with Rolex. From the 1950s to 1970s the manufacture produced redoubtable tool watches meant to withstand enormous pressure, whether at altitude or in the deepest depths of the ocean, and rigorous use in some of the most punishing environments imaginable. They were meant to dive, and dive deep; to be worn, and worn hard; and for many they were a budget-conscious choice.
But in the 1980s the Crown underwent a subtle transformation from a producer of tool watches to those in the luxury realm.
It’s best in the Submariner that you can see that metamorphosis take place.
The Submariner has changed in many ways over the years. But those changes have been evolutionary, never revolutionary. It is small things like matte tritium dial 5513’s morphing into glossy dials with white gold markers. With all of these changes, Rolex shifts from being a manufacturer of pure tool watches to the crown jewel of luxury.
Released in 1979, the Rolex Submariner Reference 16800 was truly a refined version of the 1680, the first Submariner with a date function, and was a large step forward technologically for Rolex. The 16800 was the first time that Rolex used a sapphire crystal on a Submariner, as well as moving to the updated 3035 caliber with higher beats per hour, while also adding the quick-set date feature. It was the addition of these that really gave the date model of the submariner its everyday wearability.
Now, the Submariner could transition seamlessly from casual wear to the board room with only a change of clothes. These changes dressed up the Submariner and made wearing a Submariner with business attire more acceptable, giving the model a versatility that it had never before had.
With its matte black dial is indicative of its early 1980s birth, and its ever so gently patinated hands and plots, the dial on this 16800 is hard to tear your eyes from once you put the watch on your the wrist. Not having to worry about scratching the crystal or winding a thousand times to change the date, the 16800 is the perfect marriage of vintage charm and modern tech. That marriage makes it the perfect watch to wear daily and be proud of when everyone else is wearing its modern brother.
Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown). Rolex Submariner Reference 16800.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in very good condition with thick lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Rotating bezel is likewise in very good condition with some signs of wear between the 10 and 15 minute markers. Dial is in very good condition with puffy luminescent plots and a very light cream patina. Rolex crown. Rolex case back has some signs of use and wear.
Includes one 20mm Rolex 93150 Bracelet with 593 end links. Bracelet is in very good condition with minimal signs of use and wear.