Rolex Submariner Date

Rolex Submariner Date

There is an old adage among Rolex Submariner purists: If you need a date function on your dive watch, you’ve got bigger problems than what’s on your wrist.

To a certain extent, they’re right. From it’s original, the Rolex Submariner was a stripped down tool watch, designed with one mission in mind. The clean, matte black dial and symmetrical hour plots was the hallmark of sub-aquatic form-meets-function design. Rolex released the Reference 1680 Submariner in 1966, marking the first time a dive watch from the revered manufacture was equipped with a date function.

For the first few production years of the 1680, the word Submariner was printed in red, a feature that makes them all the more sought after today. But outside of this collectability footnote, the Reference 1680 was the first true departure from the beloved Submariner design. After all, Jacques Cousteau and James Bond never needed to know the date, right?

But pushing back from the purist’s table, one asks oneself what is required of a good tool watch: It should be sturdily built from stainless steel. It should have a robust movement capable of withstanding shock, dust and, in the case of divers, meters of crushing water pressure. Further, a good tool watch should be versatile, capable of accompanying the wearer through any walk of his or her life, not simply the narrow tasks accomplished therein. This is where the 1680 shines.

Thus, the inclusion of a date function was an invitation to Rolex buyers to wear their watches longer and in a variety of environments. Effectively, the date function turned a simple dive watch into a timepiece capable of everyday wear.

In the early 1980s, Rolex improved upon the original Submariner date models, releasing the 16800. This sub was fitted with a uni-directional ratcheting bezel, a sapphire crystal with a lower profile and a quick-set date function. It was also rated to 300m, versus the 200m depth rating of the 1680.

This particular 16800 hails from roughly 1983/1984 and has one the last dial executions before the addition of white gold surrounds to the hour plots.   On the original solid link bracelet and patina in all the right places, this 16800 is stunner, and the perfect everyday-wear Submariner.  Purists be damned... 


Stainless Steel Oyster Case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16800. C. 1984.

Includes solid-link 93150 bracelet with diver's extension and two extra links. Also includes original inner and outer boxes, hangtag, booklets and original bezel insert.

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