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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 - with numerous examples of early 'Big Crown' models commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That’s why we love this Reference. 16800 so much. Dating from the early 1980s, it offers a very intriguing and accessible entry point to the cool factor of a vintage Submariner, while also signifying a transition from Rolex's 'tool watch' roots to the luxury product they are associated with today.
Early examples of the Reference 16800, introduced as a replacement for the classic 1680 models you've seen here before, coupled matte black dials and Tritium luminous material so desired by vintage enthusiasts with the added convenience of a hi-beat movement, quickset date function, and sapphire crystal. Later versions of the 16800 switched to the glossy dial/raised white gold markers still used today.
This is a beautiful, useful Rolex Submariner with all the right hallmarks of vintage design that you can enjoy every day without concern, just as Wilsdorf intended.
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 Reference 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 Reference 16800, successor to the 1680, is viewed as a transitional model because early versions used a matte dial and later examples transitioned to glossy dials. It was also the first Submariner reference to feature a sapphire crystal. Furthermore, they were fitted with a uni-directional ratcheting bezel, a hi-beat Rolex Cal. 3035 movement, and a quick-set date function.
Today, transitional References such as the 16800 are a great juxtaposition between vintage style and modern features - and an argument could easily be made that they are the best of both worlds.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 16800. Rolex Caliber 3035 automatic movement. Circa 1981.
Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition overall, showing normal signs of wear and previous polishing from age and use. Matte black dial is in very good condition, showing light even patination to the Tritium luminous elements. Luminous Tritium handset show matching patination. Rolex signed Triplock crown.
Includes one 20mm Ref. 93150/501B Heavy Duty Oyster bracelet 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