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Rolex Sea-Dweller Ref. 16660 - 'Triple 6' Gloss Black Dial

Sale price$10,850.00 USD

The first Sea-Dweller, the Reference 1665, debuted in circa 1967 and was designed with saturation divers in mind.

The key differentiator between a Sea-Dweller and its little sibling, the Submariner, is that the SD always has a helium escape valve (or 'HEV') on the left case profile and a higher domed crystal with no cyclops magnifier. The earliest prototypes were actually Submariners with the added HEV on the left case profile, but it was the 1665 that first bore the Sea-Dweller name on the dial.

Like virtually all Rolex sport models, the Sea-Dweller has seen a number of evolutions of the years, but not nearly as many as some of the other sports models in the family. That said, the Reference 16660 that we have here — also known as a 'Triple 6' — enjoyed just about a decade-long production run, but saw one major change within that time about half way through. The early pieces feature matte black dials with applied Tritium plots, just as its predecessor did, whereas the second half of production introduced glossy black dials with the first applied Tritium-filled white gold indices.

This particular example dates to circa 1984 and features the latter of the two dials — and an early one! It comes to us in honest overall condition with a gorgeous dial and matching handset. The case has been lightly polished in the past and retains a thick, symmetrical lugs and shows normal, honest wear throughout with no significant blemishes or damage, and some 'matting' on the left case profile. The correct solid-link Oyster bracelet with the fliplock dive clasp also shows a previous polishing and light wear throughout. Inside, the glossy black dial inside retains its deep black color, with very faint 'stippling' scattered throughout — hardly visible to the naked eye and typical of gloss black dials from this era — and has beautiful, deeply patinated applied Tritium-filled white gold indices. The handset and pip within the black aluminum bezel insert match the dial perfectly both to the naked eye and under UV inspection.

Sea-Dwellers are amongst first 'enhanced' dive watches made for saturation diving with a number of technical firsts, were produced in far smaller numbers than its Submariner and Submariner Date siblings, and feature a very similar wearing experience, yet, we think, remain bargains.

This well-rounded honest example surely has multiple lifetimes left of wrist time, and is ready for its next owner. 

Stainless Steel 1984 Automatic 40mm

"As collectors themselves, Oliver and Clarke are on a mission to make buying vintage watches as painless as possible."

"The company focuses on good prices for its pieces, elite customer service and full transparency."

"The appointment-only space is inviting, with comfortable seating areas and exposed brick walls."

From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke

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