Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660 MK I

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The devil is in the details and this early ‘Triple Six’ Sea-Dweller has plenty to get excited about.Rest assured, this Sea-Dweller’s ‘Triple Six’ moniker has little to do with Satanism but rather refers to its reference number ‘16660’. Introduced in 1978, the 16660 is an important transitional reference in Rolex’ line-up of dive watches and the ‘prototype’ for every modern Rolex toolwatch. The ‘Triple Six’ combines the vintage details of its predecessor, the ref. 1665, with some notable technical improvements. It was one of the earliest Rolex models, and the very first Rolex toolwatch, to receive a sturdy sapphire crystal. Together with a thicker case and improved helium escape valve, this gave the 16660 a significantly increased depth rating at 4,000 feet / 1,200 meters, double that of its predecessor.Early specimens of the 16660, like this one from 1982, still sport the vintage style matte dial with painted tritium hour markers. These dials came in two executions. This watch features the desirable Mk 1 dial variation that has turned a lovely anthracite color together with warm custardy lume plots.The watch is in amazing shape for a toolwatch of its age. The case is very thick and sharp and comes with a barely faded bezel insert. You should know that the insert has two chips at the 12 and 4 o’clock positions. The watch comes on its original (!) Oyster bracelet with the date code 1982. The bracelet is in amazing condition as well, with little to no stretch.

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 metres (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, the early Sea-Dweller could be taken as deep as 610 metres (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.