Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 'Rail Dial'

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The Double Red Sead-Dweller is one of the most desirable Rolex sports models, even though some of its successors without the sought-after red text are much rarer.The ‘Double-Red’ ref. 1665 Sea-Dweller was in production for almost ten years, from 1967-1977. Its successor, the ref. 1665 with all white text, affectionately referred to by collectors as the ‘Great White’, was only made for five years though. Among the ‘Great Whites’ a particular dial variation is even more special.The dials for the first batch of ‘Great White’ Sea-Dwellers, those made from 1977 until 1979, were manufactured by Sterns Frères (yes, the same Sterns that own Patek Philippe!). These particular dials feature two lines of text (“superlative chronometer” and “officially certified”) that are spaced in such a harmonious way that the letters “C” in “chronometer” and “certified” perfectly align. As a result, a clean and uninterrupted space forms between the two words on each line, reminiscent of a railway. These rail dials are also found on a handful of other sports models from the same period (namely, the ref. 1675 GMT-Master and the ref. 1655 Explorer II). Their rarity and charm makes these ‘Rail Dials’ a collectors dream.Aside from its rarity, this particular watch is in spectacular condition. The 40 mm stainless steel case features thick lugs and sharp edges and the Rolex engravings on the case back are deep and crisp, indications of sparse polishing in the past. The matte-black dial is in impeccable condition and features tritium indices that have turned into a pleasing cream colour that match well with the tritium handset. The black aluminium bezel, meanwhile, has faded to a lovely deep anthracite hue. The watch comes on a tight full-link Oyster bracelet with a flip-lock safety clasp.This beauty dates back to 1979 and comes as a full set with the original box and papers.

Introduction

Rolex Sea-DwellerIn 1926, Rolex’ visionary founder Hans Wildorf patented the world’s first waterproof and dustproof watch case: the famous ‘Oyster.’ Three decades later, in 1953, Rolex introduced one of the world’s first wrist watches geared specifically towards divers: the Submariner. Rolex had to confront a number of challenges when designing its first dive watch. The watch obviously had to withstand significant amounts of pressure and had to accurately measure time spent underwater, which the first Submariner achieved by introducing a 330ft/100m depth rating and a rotating diving bezel. It also had to be easily legible in conditions of reduced visibility yet aesthetically pleasing. Hence, the Sub’s iconic large white tritium hour markers and Mercedes hands set against a contrasting black dial.During the 1960s, the needs of professional divers working at great depths led to the development of the first ‘ultra water resistant’ tool watches designed for conducting safe diving operations at depths of 300 meters (1,000 ft.). However, these were still not sufficient for deep-sea divers who experienced failure as their watch crystals broke during compression due to the build up of helium. To aid these divers, Rolex released in 1967 the Sea-Dweller Submariner (ref. 1665) in cooperation with the French engineering and deep-sea diving company COMEX. The Sea-Dweller range has been standard issue for COMEX divers and since 1977 Rolex has even produced them with customized COMEX dials.By increasing the thickness of the crystal and incorporating a helium escape valve for saturation diving, these early Sea-Dweller could be taken as deep as 610 meters (2,000 ft). A characteristic aspect of the Sea-Dweller is the absence of the date magnifier (‘cyclops’) that is present on other Rolex Oyster models with a date complication.

Shipping

Packages are generally dispatched within 2 days after receipt of payment and are shipped within the Netherlands by Registered Mail through the Dutch carrier PostNL and for other countries by Fedex. Consult us if you prefer another method of shipping. For most destinations tracking is available.