Rolex Submariner 1680 'Red MK VI'

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The ref. 1680 was introduced at the end of the 1960s and was the first Submariner to feature a date function. Early executions, like this one with red ‘Submariner’ text, are among the most desirable vintage sports watches.

Now, you might ask, “why the hell would you need a date window on a dive watch?”. Well, you don’t. But there were two factors that played a part in Rolex’ decision to introduce a separate Date Submariner. For one, recreational diving as well as beach vacationing gained popularity in the 1960s. As a result, the market for watches that could be worn daily and could just as easily be taken in the pool or ocean rapidly increased.

The 1680s produced in the period 1969-1973 feature dials with red printed ‘Submariner’ text on the lower half of the dial. These uncommon and colourful details make these ‘Red Subs’ beloved among collectors.

This 1680 was produced in 1974 and sports a MK VI dial that is in absolutely stunning condition. The grainy matte black dial features painted tritium hour markers that have aged to a lovely eggshell colour, perfectly matching the colour of the tritium handset. Meanwhile, the original aluminium MK3 bezel inlay, which is known as ‘hooked 5’ or ‘kissing 4’ has faded from its initial black colour to a bluish-grey tint.

The watch is in great condition with a thick 40 mm stainless steel case, indicating sparse polishing in the past, as well as a period-correct stainless steel Oyster bracelet with a rare and sought-after, misprinted ‘PATETED’ clasp.


Rolex SubmarinerIn 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 featuring 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 luminous hour markers and Mercedes hands set against a contrasting black dial.The Submariner is the most iconic and desirable luxury watch of all time and has been adopted by luminaries such as Jacques Cousteau, Che Guevara, and none other than James Bond. Our favorite Bond, Sean Connery, wore a big crown Sub in the 1962 classic ‘Dr. No’. The watch was also featured in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’.Ref. 1680The Submariner ref. 1680 was produced from 1967-1979 and was the first execution to feature a date function. During its first 7 years of production, the “Submariner” text on the dial of the 1680 was printed with red instead of white ink, earning these executions the moniker ‘red Submariner.’ Early executions of the 1680 featured the rare ‘meters first dial,’ because the depth rating in meters was printed before the rating in feet (“200m = 660ft”). Around 1969, Rolex switched to printing the feet before the meters to satisfy the growing American customer base.


  • SKU 7350
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