Rolex Submariner 1680 'MK I Red'

The ref.

Museum Piece
Rolex SubmarinerIn 1953, Rolex introduced one of the world’s first wrist watches geared specifically towards divers: the Submariner.

Introduction

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. However, the increasing popularity of recreational diving as well as beach vacationing meant that the market for watches that could be worn daily and could just as easily be taken in the pool or ocean rapidly increased. This, undoubtedly, played a part in Rolex’ decision to introduce a separate Date Submariner.This watch was produced in 1970, making it one of the earliest Submariners with a date function ever produced by Rolex. Ref. 1680 Submariners produced between 1969 and 1973 feature dials with red printed ‘Submariner’ text on the lower half of the dial. This uncommon and colorful detail makes these ‘Red Subs’ beloved among collectors.This example sports a first generation, so called MK I, dial in excellent condition. The four-line matte black dial features painted tritium hour markers that have aged to a gorgeous custardy color. The same warm hue can be found on the tritium-filled hands. The black aluminium bezel, meanwhile, has lightly faded to a pleasing greyish hue.The 40 mm stainless steel case is in excellent condition with thick lugs and sharp edges. The case back shows some light signs from an earlier engraving, which was taken out by the first owner as it used to tell his address. The only thing still slightly readable is the city (Den Helder) where he used to live and where he bought this Rolex, as is stated on the Rolex purchase papers. Pretty cool, right?This 1680 comes on a period-correct stainless steel riveted Oyster bracelet, in excellent condition, with an original Gay Frères manufactured folding clasp. If all that weren't enough, the original box and papers are present as well!

Description

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.